gen·​er·​al·​ist | \ˈjen-rə-list, ˈje-nə-\

Definition of generalist 

: 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

Newell turned sales teams that specialized in single businesses, such as fishing equipment or camping gear, into teams of generalists shared by divisions, according to people familiar with the changes. Sharon Terlep, WSJ, "A Megadeal Joined Sharpie Markers and Crock-Pots. What Could Go Wrong? A Lot," 2 May 2018 Mental health generalists are trying to apply familiar therapies for anxiety or alcoholism to patients with an uncontrollable craving for, say, World of Warcraft. New York Times, "Video Game Addiction Tries to Move From Basement to Doctor’s Office," 17 June 2018 Think of it as a skin care generalist, an assist for achieving the most beloved of skin goals: glow. Crystal Martin, New York Times, "Exfoliation Tips for the Best Skin Ever," 25 June 2018 Whatever this book lacks in focus, it more than makes up for with brisk wit, imagination, and its shotgun generalist approach to both history and gastronomy. Monitor Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, "10 best books of July: the Monitor's picks," 12 July 2018 But in the farmland of France's Deux-Sèvres region, these generalists are also in freefall, with some species down by 85 percent since 2009. Tim Graham, National Geographic, "Around the World, Farmland Birds Are in Steep Decline," 1 June 2018 But simply being a generalist also increases the chances your job could be automated. Jeffrey J. Selingo, Washington Post, "The story must be told.," 25 May 2018 The firm’s partners are generalists, rather than specialists, and any of them may pursue blockchain deals. Yuliya Chernova, WSJ, "Matt Huang Leaving Sequoia Capital to Start Crypto Fund With Fred Ehrsam," 1 June 2018 Her extensive background in HR generalist affairs, strong analytical thought processes and high focuses on metrics and strategic planning led to her current role of vice president of human resources and diversity. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Camp Bar founder, New York Mets HR person elected to KM Laser Trailblazer Hall of Fame," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'generalist.' 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 generalist

1606, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for generalist

The first known use of generalist was in 1606

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More Definitions for generalist



English Language Learners Definition of generalist

: a person who knows something about a lot of subjects


gen·​er·​al·​ist | \ˈjen-(ə-)rə-ləst \

Medical Definition of generalist 

: an individual whose skills or interests extend to several different medical fields especially : general practitioner

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