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

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to form generalizations
also : to make vague or indefinite statements
She's always generalizing about men.
: to spread or extend throughout the body
generalizability noun
generalizable adjective
generalizer noun

Examples of generalize in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Her nastiness and bitterness in negatively characterizing and generalizing such a large percentage of our population only makes some of them want to strike back. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 18 Jan. 2024 The researchers found that even when trained on only 27 hours of walking data, the AI can help a robot generalize to a real world environment. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 12 Mar. 2024 The authors also generalized that same technique to improve the multiplication process for rectangular (n-by-m) matrices — a procedure that has applications in graph theory, machine learning and other areas. Quanta Magazine, 7 Mar. 2024 Hasty generalization – someone jumps to a conclusion or generalizes without thinking through or doing the research. Christine Comaford, Forbes, 2 Mar. 2024 The researchers could generalize this beyond their study sites in Alaska, showing that boreal trees growing elsewhere around the Arctic—birch, pine, larch, and other kinds of spruce—are moving northward where nearby sea ice is declining. Matt Simon, WIRED, 4 Mar. 2024 Lenz’s impulse to generalize is so strong that at times her work whiffs of self-help. Lily Meyer, The Atlantic, 28 Feb. 2024 Future research will focus on testing how well these AI systems can generalize to analyzing data from other locations, Chen says. IEEE Spectrum, 23 Nov. 2023 But Arora and Goyal wanted to go beyond theory and test their claim that LLMs get better at combining more skills, and thus at generalizing, as their size and training data increase. Quanta Magazine, 22 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'generalize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


general entry 1 + -ize

First Known Use

1710, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of generalize was in 1710

Dictionary Entries Near generalize

Cite this Entry

“Generalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


gen·​er·​al·​ize ˈjen-(ə-)rə-ˌlīz How to pronounce generalize (audio)
generalized; generalizing
: to put in the form of a general rule : draw or state a general conclusion from a number of items or instances

Medical Definition


intransitive verb
variants or British generalise
generalized or British generalised; generalizing or British generalising
: to spread or extend through all of a body part or region or through most of the entire body

More from Merriam-Webster on generalize

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