gen·​er·​al·​i·​za·​tion | \ˌjen-rə-lə-ˈzā-shən, 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

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Examples of generalization in a Sentence

He made several sweeping generalizations about women. She was prone to generalization.

Recent Examples on the Web

Okay, full disclosure: The above is a blatant generalization based on a handful of signs Aussies and Kiwis have shown off over the last couple of weeks during the royal tour. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Australians and New Zealanders Are Using Signs With 'Suits' Puns to Get Meghan Markle's Attention," 28 Oct. 2018 Musk has also blamed bottlenecks on over-automation, as well as over-generalization of the manufacturing process. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Panasonic completing 3 new cell production lines at Tesla’s Gigafactory," 26 Sep. 2018 Her story highlights some of the fatuousness of making broad generational generalizations, not least because most female boomers have had less agency than their daughters. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "‘Boomer1’ Review: Retire or We’ll Retire You," 13 Sep. 2018 This will be enabled by crypto-economic networks, a generalization of the ideas first introduced in Bitcoin and further developed in Ethereum. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Coinbase thrived when cryptocurrencies crashed. Can it take the blockchain back to the mainstream?," 27 Sep. 2018 His determined generalizations about British decadence . . Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, "‘A Chill in the Air’ Review: A Tuscan Idyll Before the War," 30 Aug. 2018 The memo, in which Damore also made generalizations about gender and the kind of work better suited to men and women, led to his firing from the company. Tracey Lien,, "As diversity progress in Silicon Valley stalls, advocates call for a new approach," 4 June 2018 This obviously is a generalization, but perhaps there are enough players leaving non-European homes, and at an earlier age, to impact chemistry or tactical cohesion back with their senior national sides, which gather and play only intermittently. Brian Straus,, "The Factors and Figures Behind Europe's World Cup Dominance Trend," 8 July 2018 The twenty-inch isohyet offered a valuable generalization — conventional agriculture simply could not work without twenty or more inches a year, unless supplemented by irrigation. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of generalization

1761, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for generalization

generalize + -ation

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Statistics for generalization

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for generalization

The first known use of generalization was in 1761

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More Definitions for generalization



English Language Learners Definition of generalization

: a general statement : a statement about a group of people or things that is based on only a few people or things in that group

: the act or process of forming opinions that are based on a small amount of information


gen·​er·​al·​iza·​tion | \ˌje-nə-rə-lə-ˈzā-shən \

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 \

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

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