generalize

verb
gen·​er·​al·​ize | \ ˈjen-rə-ˌlīz How to pronounce generalize (audio) , ˈje-nə-\
generalized; generalizing

Definition of generalize

transitive verb

1 : to give a general form to
2a : to derive or induce (a general conception or principle) from particulars
b : to draw a general conclusion from
3 : to give general applicability to generalize a law also : to make indefinite

intransitive verb

1 : to form generalizations also : to make vague or indefinite statements She's always generalizing about men.
2 : to spread or extend throughout the body

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Other Words from generalize

generalizability \ ˌjen-​rə-​ˌlī-​zə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce generalizability (audio) , ˌje-​nə-​ \ noun
generalizable \ ˌjen-​rə-​ˈlī-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce generalizable (audio) , ˌje-​nə-​ \ adjective
generalizer noun

Examples of generalize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

But the role of labor in this sort of analysis makes conclusions difficult to generalize. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Urban farms could be incredibly efficient—but aren’t yet," 27 Dec. 2018 These beliefs can be generalized to non-threatening and non-dangerous situations in problematic ways. Korin Miller, SELF, "Why Trump’s Family Separation Policy Could Be Detrimental to Parents’ and Children’s Mental Health," 20 June 2018 The hope is that the resulting network will generalize, producing the correct labels for examples previously not in its training set. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "How computers got shockingly good at recognizing images," 18 Dec. 2018 Model builders using large-scale data can do no more than generalize about smaller-scale processes such as the effect of water on glaciers’ stability. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "Climate’s Big Unknown: What’s Happening Beneath Antarctica’s Ice?," 29 Dec. 2018 AlphaZero generalizes this reinforced-learning approach to three different games: Go, chess, and shogi, a Japanese version of chess. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Move over AlphaGo: AlphaZero taught itself to play three different games," 6 Dec. 2018 The small and specific sample means that the results can’t be generalized, so the study is less a statement on what antibiotics do to people in general and more an exploration of what the possibilities look like. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Gut bacteria recover from antibiotics, but they may take six months," 28 Oct. 2018 And that’s another problem with generalizing GWAS results from one population to another. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Genetics has learned a ton — mostly about white people. That’s a problem.," 27 Oct. 2018 So, instead of generalizing an entire Spanish-speaking community by a using a masculine or feminine subtext, just opt for gender-neutrality. Araceli Cruz, Teen Vogue, "Merriam-Webster Dictionary Adds "Latinx" and More Than 840 Other Words," 5 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'generalize.' 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 generalize

1710, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for generalize

general entry 1 + -ize

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Statistics for generalize

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for generalize

The first known use of generalize was in 1710

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More Definitions for generalize

generalize

verb

English Language Learners Definition of generalize

: to make a general statement or form a general opinion especially : to state an opinion about a larger group that is based on a smaller number of people or things within that group
formal : to apply (something specific, such as a theory or rule) to larger group

generalize

verb
gen·​er·​al·​ize | \ ˈje-nə-rə-ˌlīz How to pronounce generalize (audio) , ˈjen-rə-\
generalized; generalizing

Kids Definition of generalize

: to draw or state a general conclusion from a number of different items or instances Don't generalize about science fiction after reading only one book.

generalize

intransitive verb
gen·​er·​al·​ize
variants: or British generalise \ ˈjen-​(ə-​)rə-​ˌlīz How to pronounce generalise (audio) \
generalized or British generalised; generalizing or British generalising

Medical Definition of generalize

: to spread or extend through all of a body part or region or through most of the entire body

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More from Merriam-Webster on generalize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with generalize

Spanish Central: Translation of generalize

Nglish: Translation of generalize for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of generalize for Arabic Speakers

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