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

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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 People who present opinions as fact or make broad generalizations may need to be reminded of the truth. oregonlive, "Horoscope for April 18, 2020: Cancer, walk before you run; Scorpio, here comes the sun," 18 Apr. 2020 Generation Y followed, though it was usurped, at least in the U.S., by Millennials; nothing has overthrown Generation Z. Placeholder names, in a way, make generational generalizations easier. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "Oh No, They’ve Come Up With Another Generation Label," 21 Feb. 2020 The women candidates this cycle also span the Democratic ideological spectrum, so fewer generalizations can be made about their policy positions and strategies. Li Zhou, Vox, "Climate got more time in the Democrats’ first 2020 debate than in all 2016 debates combined," 27 June 2019 This result and its generalization were obtained by Joerg Fricke (see here and here) and Michael. Quanta Magazine, "Solution: ‘Hanging Far Out Over the Edge’," 2 Dec. 2016 Lumping people into generations turns quickly to gross generalization. Rachel Riederer, The New Republic, "Climate Change Is the Ultimate “OK, Boomer” Issue," 9 Dec. 2019 Yet, if the herd is dull, individuals are always complicated and conflicted, and therefore irreducible to broad generalizations. Philip Martin, Arkansas Online, "CRITICAL MASS: Thanksgiving is a complicated celebration. Even so, we’re lucky to be here," 24 Nov. 2019 Hesitant to make generalizations, Webster said that while all train personnel are vulnerable to being attacked, women are more likely to be targeted by male riders. Katie Herchenroeder, Quartz, "Women in America’s largest transit system are underground—and under attack," 3 Jan. 2020 The lecture had ended with a tense exchange between Crucet and a white student, who accused the writer of making unfair generalizations about white people. Moriah Balingit, Washington Post, "‘A tale of two schools’: At Georgia Southern, a book-burning ignites questions anew about race," 31 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for generalization

Time Traveler

The first known use of generalization was in 1761

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Statistics for generalization

Last Updated

12 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Generalization.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for generalization


How to pronounce generalization (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of generalization

often disapproving
: 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 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 generalisation (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

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