gen·​er·​al·​ist ˈjen-rə-list How to pronounce generalist (audio)
: one whose skills, interests, or habits are varied or unspecialized

Examples of generalist in a Sentence

The staff includes both generalists and specialists.
Recent Examples on the Web That’s why his team is always on the lookout for generalists. IEEE Spectrum, 21 Nov. 2023 The fund had previously operated more independently and invested as a generalist, focusing on financial returns. Rachyl Jones, Fortune, 17 Jan. 2024 Additionally, snakes specialize on food sources, while lizards are more likely to be generalists, according to the study. Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 Conducive to this are HR practices that allow people to be specialists, not generalists, for example annual appraisals that aren’t overly rigid on precise competencies and allow for overall contribution to be personalized. Nancy Doyle, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 The apex predators are considered opportunistic generalists, meaning that what wolves eat varies depending on the food sources available to them. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 31 Jan. 2024 At the very least, the revelations have raised questions about Ms. Willis’s motivation for hiring Mr. Wade, a legal generalist who appears to act as a sort of player-manager for the prosecution’s multi-lawyer team. Richard Fausset, New York Times, 20 Jan. 2024 Even medical residents who chose the specialty are leaving primary care; some 45% of residents who planned to be generalists changed their mind during their residencies. Brittany Trang, STAT, 22 Dec. 2023 Sorensen pointed to research the company conducted with 18 radiologists, some of whom were specialists in breast mammography and some of whom were generalists who spent less than 75% of their time reading mammograms. Tribune News Service, Hartford Courant, 16 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'generalist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1606, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of generalist was in 1606

Dictionary Entries Near generalist

Cite this Entry

“Generalist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


gen·​er·​al·​ist ˈjen-(ə-)rə-ləst How to pronounce generalist (audio)
: a person whose skills or interests extend to several different fields

Medical Definition


gen·​er·​al·​ist ˈjen-(ə-)rə-ləst How to pronounce generalist (audio)
: an individual whose skills or interests extend to several different medical fields
especially : general practitioner

More from Merriam-Webster on generalist

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