(adjective) prevailing among and common to the general public; “the general discontent”

cosmopolitan, ecumenical, oecumenical, general, universal, worldwide, world-wide

(adjective) of worldwide scope or applicability; “an issue of cosmopolitan import”; “the shrewdest political and ecumenical comment of our time”- Christopher Morley; “universal experience”


(adjective) not specialized or limited to one class of things; “general studies”; “general knowledge”


(adjective) applying to all or most members of a category or group; “the general public”; “general assistance”; “a general rule”; “in general terms”; “comprehensible to the general reader”


(adjective) affecting the entire body; “a general anesthetic”; “general symptoms”


(adjective) somewhat indefinite; “bearing a general resemblance to the original”; “a general description of the merchandise”


(noun) a fact about the whole (as opposed to particular); “he discussed the general but neglected the particular”

general, full general

(noun) a general officer of the highest rank

general, superior general

(noun) the head of a religious order or congregation


(verb) command as a general; “We are generaled by an incompetent!”

Source: WordNet® 3.1



general (comparative more general, superlative most general)

Including or involving every part or member of a given or implied entity, whole etc.; as opposed to specific or particular. [from 13th c.]

(sometimes postpositive) Applied to a person (as a postmodifier or a normal preceding adjective) to indicate supreme rank, in civil or military titles, and later in other terms; pre-eminent. [from 14th c.]

Prevalent or widespread among a given class or area; common, usual. [from 14th c.]

Not limited in use or application; applicable to the whole or every member of a class or category. [from 14th c.]

Giving or consisting of only the most important aspects of something, ignoring minor details; indefinite. [from 16th c.]

Not limited to a specific class; miscellaneous, concerned with all branches of a given subject or area. [from 16th c.]


• (involving every part or member): broad, generic; see also generic

• (prevalent or widespread): typical; see also common


• (involving every part or member): particular, specific; see also specific

• (prevalent or widespread): abnormal, uncommon


general (countable and uncountable, plural generals)

(now, rare) A general fact or proposition; a generality. [from 16th c.]

(military ranks) The holder of a senior military title, originally designating the commander of an army and now a specific rank falling under field marshal (in the British army) and below general of the army or general of the air force in the US army and air forces. [from 16th c.]

A great strategist or tactician. [from 16th c.]

(Christianity) The head of certain religious orders, especially Dominicans or Jesuits. [from 16th c.]

(nautical) A commander of naval forces; an admiral. [16th-18th c.]

(colloquial, now, historical) A general servant; a maid with no specific duties. [from 19th c.]

(countable) A general anesthetic.

(uncountable) General anesthesia.

(uncountable, insurance) The general insurance industry.

Usage notes

When used as a title, it is always capitalized.

Example: General John Doe.

The rank corresponds to pay grade O-10. Abbreviations: GEN.

Coordinate terms

• (insurance industry): health, life, pensions


general (third-person singular simple present generals, present participle generaling or generalling, simple past and past participle generaled or generalled)

To lead (soldiers) as a general.


general (not comparable)

(obsolete) In a general or collective manner or sense; in most cases; upon the whole.


• enlarge, gleaner, reangle

Etymology 1

Capitalization of general.


General (uncountable)

(military) The military officer title

Etymology 2

Proper noun

General (plural er-noun)

(informal, medicine) Short for General Hospital. or "X General Hospital" (where X is a stand-in for another part of the name), a common hospital name.


• enlarge, gleaner, reangle

Source: Wiktionary

Gen"er*al, a. Etym: [F. général, fr. L. generalis. See Genus.]

1. Relating to a genus or kind; pertaining to a whole class or order; as, a general law of animal or vegetable economy.

2. Comprehending many species or individuals; not special or particular; including all particulars; as, a general inference or conclusion.

3. Not restrained or limited to a precise import; not specific; vague; indefinite; lax in signification; as, a loose and general expression.

4. Common to many, or the greatest number; widely spread; prevalent; extensive, though not universal; as, a general opinion; a general custom. This general applause and cheerful sShak.

5. Having a relation to all; common to the whole; as, Adam, our general sire. Milton.

6. As a whole; in gross; for the most part. His general behavior vain, ridiculous. Shak.

7. Usual; common, on most occasions; as, his general habit or method.

Note: The word general, annexed to a name of office, usually denotes chief or superior; as, attorney-general; adjutant general; commissary general; quartermaster general; vicar-general, etc. General agent (Law), an agent whom a principal employs to transact all his business of a particular kind, or to act in his affairs generally.

– General assembly. See the Note under Assembly.

– General average, General Court. See under Average, Court.

– General court-martial (Mil.), the highest military and naval judicial tribunal.

– General dealer (Com.), a shopkeeper who deals in all articles in common use.

– General demurrer (Law), a demurrer which objects to a pleading in general terms, as insufficient, without specifying the defects. Abbott.

– General epistle, a canonical epistle.

– General guides (Mil.), two sergeants (called the right, and the left, general guide) posted opposite the right and left flanks of an infantry battalion, to preserve accuracy in marching. Farrow.

– General hospitals (Mil.), hospitals established to receive sick and wounded sent from the field hospitals. Farrow. General issue (Law), an issue made by a general plea, which traverses the whole declaration or indictment at once, without offering any special matter to evade it. Bouvier. Burrill.

– General lien (Law), a right to detain a chattel, etc., until payment is made of any balance due on a general account.

– General officer (Mil.), any officer having a rank above that of colonel.

– General orders (Mil.), orders from headquarters published to the whole command.

– General practitioner, in the United States, one who practices medicine in all its branches without confining himself to any specialty; in England, one who practices both as physician and as surgeon.

– General ship, a ship not chartered or let to particular parties.

– General term (Logic), a term which is the sign of a general conception or notion.

– General verdict (Law), the ordinary comprehensive verdict in civil actions, "for the plaintiff" or "for the defendant". Burrill.

– General warrant (Law), a warrant, now illegal, to apprehend suspected persons, without naming individuals.

Syn. General, Common, Universal. Common denotes primarily that in which many share; and hence, that which is often met with. General is stronger, denoting that which pertains to a majority of the individuals which compose a genus, or whole. Universal, that which pertains to all without exception. To be able to read and write is so common an attainment in the United States, that we may pronounce it general, though by no means universal.

Syn: Gen"er*al, n. Etym: [F. général. See General., a.]

1. The whole; the total; that which comprehends or relates to all, or the chief part; -- opposed to particular. In particulars our knowledge begins, and so spreads itself by degrees to generals. Locke.

2. (Mil.)

Definition: One of the chief military officers of a government or country; the commander of an army, of a body of men not less than a brigade. In European armies, the highest military rank next below field marshal.

Note: In the United States the office of General of the Army has been created by temporary laws, and has been held only by Generals U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, and P. H. Sheridan. Popularly, the title General is given to various general officers, as General, Lieutenant general, Major general, Brigadier general, Commissary general, etc. See Brigadier general, Lieutenant general, Major general, in the Vocabulary.

3. (Mil.)

Definition: The roll of the drum which calls the troops together; as, to beat the general.

4. (Eccl.)

Definition: The chief of an order of monks, or of all the houses or congregations under the same rule.

5. The public; the people; the vulgar. [Obs.] Shak. In general, in the main; for the most part.

Source: Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary 1913 Edition


Word of the Day

27 July 2021


(noun) an operation moving an organ from one organism (the donor) to another (the recipient); “he had a kidney transplant”; “the long-term results of cardiac transplantation are now excellent”; “a child had a multiple organ transplant two months ago”

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