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 As your mind oscillates between an expert and generalist approach today, trust that either method can work for you. Tarot Astrologers,, "Daily horoscope for December 5, 2020," 5 Dec. 2020 Honey bees are extreme generalist foragers and monopolize floral resources, thus leading to exploitative competition—that is, where one species uses up a resource, not leaving enough to go around. Alison Mcafee, Scientific American, "The Problem with Honey Bees," 4 Nov. 2020 Pride Pickup welcome week event, a stark difference to the usual 150 tables that are usually spread out at the event said Stacie Reardon, student affairs generalist and assistant and member of the welcome back committee. Hannah Reed,, "PNW has socially distanced welcome week event after beginning classes amid pandemic," 27 Aug. 2020 Or to compliment him on story leads that managed to present science with the clean precision that could make science accessible even to this shaky generalist. John King,, "Chronicle Science Editor David Perlman — scientists and peers revered ‘his smarts and his charm’," 23 June 2020 Energy began 2020 on thin ice with investors, embarking on a campaign to win back generalists. Michael Bellusci,, "Oil Price War Erases $196 Billion From Energy Stocks in a Week," 7 May 2020 The big generalists hope to lock the oldies in early. The Economist, "The elderly are the next big growth market for Chinese tech firms," 10 Aug. 2019 As a means of enticing the generalist back, this barely counts as a window display. Washington Post, "The Next Shale Fracker Revolution Has Begun," 22 Feb. 2019 So for example, a honeybee is a generalist that visits a wide variety of flowers for food, while a sunflower bee is more of a specialist. Matt Simon, Wired, "The Coronavirus Lockdown Is a Threat for Many Animals, Not a Blessing," 2 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler

The first known use of generalist was in 1606

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Cite this Entry

“Generalist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

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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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