gen·​er·​al·​i·​za·​tion | \ ˌjen-rə-lə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce generalization (audio) , ˌje-nə- \

Definition of generalization

1 : the act or process of generalizing
2 : a general statement, law, principle, or proposition made broad generalizations about women
3 : the act or process whereby a learned response is made to a stimulus similar to but not identical with the conditioned stimulus

Examples of generalization in a Sentence

He made several sweeping generalizations about women. She was prone to generalization.
Recent Examples on the Web My guess is that what is going on here is that the officers are making a statistical generalization that Muslims are more likely to engage in terroristic activity than others. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Apr. 2022 That word intersecting — these women defy easy generalization or stereotype. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 Mar. 2022 This empirical generalization of course has exceptions, but it is widely accepted that us modern humans conform to Bergmann's rule! Melissa Cristina Márquez, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2022 Unusual business owners such as Emery and Kreutz show the limits of this generalization, as do many other socially conscious companies. Nick Romeo, The New Yorker, 10 Jan. 2022 Albert Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity inspired one of his teachers, Hermann Minkowski, to propose another generalization of Euclidean geometry. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, 4 Feb. 2022 Like any generalization, generational clumping can tell us only so much—Gen Z, like the generations that came before them, contains multitudes. Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Fortune, 13 Dec. 2021 That kind of statement has the effect of being a conversation stopper, a kind of thought-terminating cliché that’s intended to end the discussion with a broad generalization. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 17 Dec. 2021 One of the most disappointing aspects of the above insights is the degree of generalization and lazy assumptions involved. Gus Alexiou, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'generalization.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of generalization

1761, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for generalization

generalize + -ation

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Time Traveler for generalization

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The first known use of generalization was in 1761

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Last Updated

29 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Generalization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for generalization


gen·​er·​al·​iza·​tion | \ ˌje-nə-rə-lə-ˈzā-shən How to pronounce generalization (audio) \

Kids Definition of generalization

1 : the act of forming conclusions from a small amount of information
2 : a general statement : a conclusion based on only a small number of items or instances


variants: or British generalisation \ ˌjen-​(ə-​)rə-​lə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce generalization (audio) \

Medical Definition of generalization

1 : the action or process of becoming widespread or diffuse secondary generalization of a partial seizure
2 : the act or process whereby a learned response is made to a stimulus similar to but not identical with the conditioned stimulus

More from Merriam-Webster on generalization

Nglish: Translation of generalization for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about generalization


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