general

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

Essential Meaning of general

1 : of, relating to, or affecting all the people or things in a group They have issued a general warning/order. a general alarm : involving or including many or most people The general mood here is optimistic. [=most people here are optimistic] The general consensus is that we should go ahead. It's a story with general interest. = It's a general-interest story. [=it is a story that will interest many or most people]
2 : relating to the main or major parts of something rather than the details : not specific 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. See More ExamplesThe 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/idea. My general impression was that things were going well.Hide
3 used to indicate that a description relates to an entire person or thing rather than a particular part The building was in good general shape.Her general [=overall] health is good.

Full 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.

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 Since then, the divide has only grown between what movies are deemed worthy of awards, and what movies the general public has actually seen. Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2022 Faced with a surge in coronavirus cases driven by the fast-spreading omicron variant, U.S. health officials urged wider use of medical-grade face masks in the general public. Fortune, 15 Jan. 2022 The stations typically would accept household garbage, yard debris and hazardous waste from the general public. oregonlive, 15 Jan. 2022 The federal government is also buying 1 billion tests to send to the general public for free. Sean Mcdonnell, cleveland, 15 Jan. 2022 The recommendation reduced isolation time for Covid-positive health care workers from the standard 10 days set for the general public to seven — with the caveat that the timeline might shrink further in the event of additional staffing shortages. Orly Nadell Farber, STAT, 14 Jan. 2022 While this disparity is widely known to the general public, the update marks the first time the C.D.C. has explicitly addressed the differences. New York Times, 14 Jan. 2022 Dropbox has yet to say when native support for Apple Silicon will be available to the general public. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 13 Jan. 2022 Immersive exhibitions, while not a high-brow experience according to some art critics, have proven to be immensely popular to the general public. Dobrina Zhekova, Travel + Leisure, 13 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Even so, red flags went off for British naval officers who noted on a trip to Japan that Rutland was treated as a VIP by the Imperial Japanese Navy, even given the seat of honor next to its highest-ranking general at a military parade. Seth Abramovitch, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Jan. 2022 The next day, Ukraine’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova, announced in a Facebook post that her office was investigating around 200 cases that involved the businesses of an unnamed oligarch. Washington Post, 22 Dec. 2021 The Egyptian general who took charge of the country when longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down amid the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. Bernard Mcghee, ajc, 10 Dec. 2021 The Egyptian general who took charge of the country when longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down amid the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. Bernard Mcghee, Chron, 2 Dec. 2021 Mason, who is the current governor-general of Barbados, will be sworn in on Nov. 30 on the 55th anniversary of Barbados' independence from Britain. Stephanie Petit And Simon Perry, PEOPLE.com, 29 Nov. 2021 Charles Bimbenet, its director general, posted a statement rejecting the minister’s charge of militancy. Léontine Gallois, BostonGlobe.com, 28 Nov. 2021 Then, as the cutoff to be in compliance drew near, the Marines’ top general, Commandant David H. Berger, and his senior enlisted adviser, Sgt. Alex Horton, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Nov. 2021 The auditor general, who works for the legislative branch of state government, will often do follow-up audits to see whether identified problems persist in the executive branch agency. Adrienne Roberts, Detroit Free Press, 18 Nov. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near general

generable

general

general ability

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Statistics for general

Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“General.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/general. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for general

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on general

Nglish: Translation of general for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of general for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about general

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