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

across-the-board, blanket, broad-brush, common, generic, global, overall, universal

Antonyms: Adjective

individual, particular

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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

There was also a general lack of female performers and artists of color. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Analysis: KAABOO takes final Del Mar bow: Was the festival rushing too fast to its new home at Petco Park?," 17 Sep. 2019 Ticket information will be coming soon on Swift’s website, TaylorSwift.com, with Verified Fan Presale set to begin on Oct. 14 at 4 p.m. local time, and Oct. 17. at 4 p.m. for general public sale. Jordan Runtagh, PEOPLE.com, "Taylor Swift Prepares to Take Lover on the Road as She Announces 2020 Festival and Stadium Dates," 17 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, general Motors slumped 4.3 percent after more than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers went on strike. BostonGlobe.com, "US stocks slip as spike in crude oil rattles market - The Boston Globe," 17 Sep. 2019 Instead the National Hurricane Center in Miami is projecting that Tropical Depression Ten, far out in the ocean with a tentative forecast path aiming for the general vicinity of the Caribbean and the Bahamas, will become a hurricane by Friday. Brett Clarkson, sun-sentinel.com, "A new tropical depression has formed and the cone comes scarily close to the Bahamas.," 17 Sep. 2019 So everybody is in favor of providing for the common defense and the general welfare. Louis Michael Seidman, Harper's magazine, "Constitution in Crisis," 16 Sep. 2019 Funding worries Two weeks ago, António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, headquartered in New York City, visited the DRC to meet with Tshisekedi and visit Ebola treatment centers. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Congo arrests former health minister for alleged misuse of Ebola funds," 16 Sep. 2019 Cabo Pulmo–and the Baja Peninsula in general–is a magical place where the desert meets the ocean. National Geographic, "Baja and the Sea of Cortez Expedition: Marine Conservation," 15 Sep. 2019 Anderson has been ramping up moderate activity over the past five weeks, including light squatting, biking and general hip strengthening. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ Tyler Anderson remaining confident during rehabilitation: “I believe I can come back and be as good as I have been before.”," 14 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Its undersecretary general of counterterrorism, Vladimir Voronkov, announced the conference at U.N. headquarters in New York. Jta Staff, sun-sentinel.com, "U.N. marks 25th anniversary of AMIA bombing, plans global conference," 25 June 2019 In Baltimore, a portion of Wyman Park Dell where a statue of Confederate generals used to stand was rededicated last year as Harriet Tubman Grove. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland Gov. Hogan to Trump administration: Put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill," 11 June 2019 The Seleucid Empire was founded in the fourth century bc by one of the Macedonian generals who carved up the territories that Alexander the Great had conquered. Christopher Tayler, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 Mar. 2019 That’s Allison’s shorthand for the theory of an ancient Greek general who identified sudden, significant shifts in the relative strength of major powers as a primary cause (if not the primary cause) of military conflict. Clay Chandler, Fortune, "Are the U.S. and China "Destined for War"?," 2 June 2018 Agent 007 links a fake Faberge egg to smugglers in league with a mad Soviet general. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019 This Shakespearean tale of the rise and fall of a legendary general is directed by Robert Lepage and stars Andre Sills. Myrna Petlicki, chicagotribune.com, "Oakton celebrates 50th anniversary with fine arts," 11 Sep. 2019 Forrest was a Confederate general, slave trader and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. CBS News, "Tennessee governor declares day honoring Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader," 12 July 2019 When a Roman general achieved a significant military victory, the city would organize a ceremony, known as a triumphus (triumph) in his honor. Andrea Frediani, National Geographic, "Money was not enough for Crassus, the richest man in Rome," 11 June 2019

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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Statistics for general

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for general

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

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More Definitions for general

general

adjective

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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