general

adjective
gen·​er·​al | \ ˈjen-rəl How to pronounce general (audio) , ˈje-nə- \

Definition of general

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : involving, applicable to, or affecting the whole
2 : involving, relating to, or applicable to every member of a class, kind, or group the general equation of a straight line
3 : not confined by specialization or careful limitation a general outline
4 : belonging to the common nature of a group of like individuals : generic the general characteristics of a species
5a : applicable to or characteristic of the majority of individuals involved : prevalent the general opinion
b : concerned or dealing with universal rather than particular aspects
6 : relating to, determined by, or concerned with main elements rather than limited details bearing a general resemblance to the original
7 : holding superior rank or taking precedence over others similarly titled the general manager

general

noun

Definition of general (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something (such as a concept, principle, or statement) that involves or is applicable to the whole
3 archaic : the general public : people
b : a commissioned officer in the army, air force, or marine corps who ranks above a lieutenant general and whose insignia is four stars — compare admiral
in general
: for the most part : generally In general, things are going as planned.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for general

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of general in a Sentence

Adjective They have issued a general warning. The general consensus is that we should go ahead. The witness was able to provide a very general description of the thief. She began her talk with some general observations about the state of the industry. The book provides a good general introduction to the subject. My concerns are all general—nothing specific. The details of the new plan are different, but it's based on the same general concept. My general impression was that things were going well. They were found in the same general area. I'm going in the general direction of the store.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In general, advise your kid to keep their face somewhere in the middle of the picture. Boone Ashworth, Wired, "How to Set Up Your Kid’s Virtual Work/Play Space," 18 May 2020 Under particular scrutiny is the WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. NBC News, "Coronavirus blame game threatens to mar World Health Assembly," 17 May 2020 In general, the lighter the material, the more expensive the tent, said Geiger. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "A beginner’s guide to camping: Where to go, what to bring on your first outdoor overnight adventure," 17 May 2020 In general, antibody tests find evidence that the immune system has encountered a particular pathogen. Annie Sneed, New York Times, "What Parents Should Know as States Reopen," 15 May 2020 Governments everywhere are debating the future of globalisation in general, and dependence on China in particular. The Economist, "Chaguan A small town in China makes half of Japan’s coffins," 14 May 2020 In general, senior officials make the requests when necessary to understand the underlying intelligence. Deb Riechmann, The Christian Science Monitor, "Joe Biden's unmasking of Michael Flynn. What is 'unmasking'?," 14 May 2020 Around the same time, because of Cold War panic about radiation in general, televisions and microwave ovens also became a possible human health catastrophe. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Something in the Air," 14 May 2020 In general, people have the ability to grow their resilience. Carolyn Jones, SFChronicle.com, "Resilience: 16 ways to weather life’s challenges," 14 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Last month, Tehran struck a base in Iraq staffed by the U.S. military in retaliation for Washington’s killing-by-drone of a senior Iranian general. Ranjeetha Pakiam, Bloomberg.com, "Global Investors Have Never Had This Much Gold Stashed in ETFs," 12 May 2020 The downing of the Ukrainian jetliner occurred during a time of high tension, on a night that Iran launched ballistic missiles at US military targets in Iraq in retaliation for the assassination of a top general. Farnaz Fassihi, BostonGlobe.com, "Iranian friendly fire kills 19 in 2nd missile accident of year," 11 May 2020 One of the principals, a retired general named Cliver Alcalá, was arrested in the United States back in March for drug smuggling and is imprisoned in New York. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, "Did we just witness one of the nuttiest foreign policy blunders in American history?," 7 May 2020 He was put to work cracking the Lorenz code, the encrypted messaging system used only by Hitler and his most senior generals. Robert Clark, National Geographic, "‘I suppose they figured if I could understand economic theory, I could crack code.’," 6 May 2020 Just one thing every day for seven days is specific and less overwhelming than a general ‘act as if’ advice. Olivia Muenter, Woman's Day, "How To Be More Confident In Any Situation," 14 Apr. 2020 Part of Grayson Street then was renamed after the general, at the urging of the Chamber of Commerce. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio Fort Sam’s Maj. Gen. Frederick Funston was perhaps the post’s most famous commander after Pershing," 4 Apr. 2020 The unit’s deployment comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East following the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general earlier this month. USA TODAY, "Giga roller coaster, ‘granny’ centennial, lion cubs born, Parker the cat passes away: News from around our 50 states," 24 Jan. 2020 Infections outside China have increased 13-fold in two weeks, WHO's director general said. USA Today, "Three months in: A timeline of how COVID-19 has unfolded in the US," 21 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'general.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of general

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for general

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin generalis, from gener-, genus kind, class — more at kin

Noun

derivative of general entry 1

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Time Traveler for general

Time Traveler

The first known use of general was in the 13th century

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Statistics for general

Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“General.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/general. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for general

general

adjective
How to pronounce general (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of general

: of, relating to, or affecting all the people or things in a group : involving or including many or most people
: relating to the main or major parts of something rather than the details : not specific
used to indicate that a description relates to an entire person or thing rather than a particular part

general

adjective
gen·​er·​al | \ ˈje-nə-rəl How to pronounce general (audio) , ˈjen-rəl \

Kids Definition of general

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having to do with the whole : applying to more than just a small area or group It's a matter of general interest.
2 : not specific or detailed The book is a good general introduction to football.
3 : involving or including many or most people Her plans won general acceptance.
4 : not specialized a general store

general

noun

Kids Definition of general (Entry 2 of 2)

: a military officer ranking above a colonel
in general
: for the most part In general, I like school.

general

adjective
gen·​er·​al | \ ˈjen-(ə-)rəl How to pronounce general (audio) \

Medical Definition of general

1 : not confined by specialization or careful limitation a general surgeon
2 : belonging to the common nature of a group of like individuals the general characteristics of a species
3 : involving or affecting practically the entire body or organism : not local general infirmity

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general

adjective
gen·​er·​al | \ ˈjen-rəl, ˈje-nə- How to pronounce general (audio) \

Legal Definition of general

1 : involving, applicable to, or affecting the whole
2 : involving, relating to, or applicable to every member of a class, kind, or group
3 : not confined by specialization or limitation
4 : relating to, determined by, or concerned with main elements rather than limiting details
5 : holding superior rank or taking precedence over others similarly titled the general manager

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Comments on general

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