gen·er·a·tion | \ ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shən \

Definition of generation 

1a : a body of living beings constituting a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor

b : a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously the younger generation

c : a group of individuals having contemporaneously a status (such as that of students in a school) which each one holds only for a limited period

d : a type or class of objects usually developed from an earlier type first of the … new generation of powerful supersonic fighters —Kenneth Koyen

2a : the action or process of producing offspring : procreation

b : the process of coming or bringing into being generation of income

c : origination by a generating process : production especially : formation of a geometric figure by motion of another

3 : the average span of time between the birth of parents and that of their offspring

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Other words from generation

generational \ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl \ adjective
generationally \ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shnə-lē, shə-nᵊl-ē \ adverb

Examples of generation in a Sentence

She was worshipped by a generation of moviegoers. He was a hero to generations of students. We need to preserve these resources for future generations. His books are popular among members of the younger generation. That family has lived in the same house for four generations. The house has been passed down in the family from generation to generation. He has held that position for a generation. No one dreamed that such things would be possible a generation ago. The company claims to be developing the next generation of portable computers.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Which brings readers back to that all-encompassing ivory bracelet, a mere object that surpasses borders, generations, relationships, social mores – proving to be an unexpected equalizer of sorts. Terry Hong, The Christian Science Monitor, "'What We Were Promised' depicts post-Mao China in a deft debut novel set in Shanghai," 13 July 2018 The figure of the fox collapses generations, a figure apt for our uncertain times. Sarah Nechamkin, The Cut, "Watch Kenzo’s Dreamy Reimagining of an Ancient Japanese Folktale," 13 July 2018 No generation supports a president as strongly as millennials do Obama, according to the poll. Josh Magness, miamiherald, "Trump is as popular as Obama was in the middle of his first presidential term, survey says," 12 July 2018 Harry Kane says England restored pride during their run to the World Cup semi-finals and can use the tournament as a springboard for sustained success for a talented young generation. Chicago Tribune,, "Kane: 'there's a great future' for England after World Cup run," 12 July 2018 The late Steve Jobs’ iconic uniform of black turtleneck and blue jeans — sans tie, of course — inspired many a think piece, and a generation of techies followed suit (good luck spotting a tie on the Facebook campus). Laura Newberry,, "Citing health study, Lancaster mayor wants to ban workplace necktie requirements for city employees," 12 July 2018 But a younger generation of Sheldons had grander ambitions. Carey Jones, Vogue, "On a Remote Glacier in the Middle of Alaska, I Learned the Magic of Disconnecting," 12 July 2018 Her death represents the danger Gilead holds for all women, but especially the younger generation of women, who, under Gilead’s strict confines, will never have a chance to develop an independent sense of self., "The Handmaid's Tale Recap Season 2, Episode 13: The Martha Express," 11 July 2018 Related In particular, Judge Kavanaugh is among a younger generation of judges who base their rulings on the text of the Constitution and Congressional statute. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Kavanaugh for the Court," 9 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for generation

Middle English generacioun "procreation, development, offspring, lineage," borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French generacion, borrowed from Late Latin generātiōn-, generātiō, going back to Latin, "procreation," from generāre "to bring into being, generate" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns

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Phrases Related to generation

generation gap

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Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for generation

The first known use of generation was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for generation



English Language Learners Definition of generation

: a group of people born and living during the same time

: the people in a family born and living during the same time

: the average length of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their children


gen·er·a·tion | \ ˌje-nə-ˈrā-shən \

Kids Definition of generation

1 : those being a single step in a line originating from one ancestor This family has lived in town for four generations.

2 : a group of individuals born and living at about the same time the younger generation

3 : the act or process of producing or creating something the generation of heat


gen·er·a·tion | \ ˌjen-ə-ˈrā-shən \

Medical Definition of generation 

1a : a body of living beings constituting a single step in the line of descent from an ancestor

b : a group of individuals born and living contemporaneously

2 : the average span of time between the birth of parents and that of their offspring

3 : the action or process of producing offspring : procreation

Other words from generation

generational \-shnəl, -shən-ᵊl \ adjective

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