gen·​er·​al·​ist | \ ˈjen-rə-list How to pronounce generalist (audio) , 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

Rare are those generalists that exhibit a multitude of peak abilities. Car and Driver, "2019 10Best Cars," 28 Nov. 2018 Carpentry Carpenters range from being the most specific construction tradespeople (framers, deck builders, and finish carpenters) to being generalists that can frame a house, install vinyl siding, and build forms for concrete. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "How to Become a Skilled Tradesperson," 13 Mar. 2019 There is a much closer to even split of generalists to specialists in universal health-care countries than in America. WSJ, "Health Care: A Good Return for 18% of GDP?," 9 Aug. 2018 The groom, 33, is a generalist consultant intern at McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm based in Manhattan. New York Times, "Emily Salander, Felipe Maciá," 8 July 2018 That could mean that the Salmonella strain infecting those people was a generalist strain that prefers to circulate between multiple host species. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Machine learning could help figure out what pooped on your produce," 12 Dec. 2018 The bacteria that succeed as pathogens tend to be generalists, capable of surviving either in a host or in the hospitable environment outside a host’s body. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Mammals inherit most of their gut bacteria, new study suggests," 26 Oct. 2018 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

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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Statistics for generalist

Last Updated

25 May 2019

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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 How to pronounce generalist (audio) \

Medical Definition of generalist

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

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