general

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Anglo-Norman general, generall, Middle French general, and their source, Latin generālis, from genus (class, kind) + -ālis (-al).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈdʒɛnɹəl/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈdʒɛnəɹəl/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: gen‧er‧al

Adjective[edit]

general (comparative more general, superlative most general)

  1. Including or involving every part or member of a given or implied entity, whole etc.; as opposed to specific or particular. [from 13th c.]
    • c. 1495, John Skelton, "Vppon a deedman's hed":
      It is generall / To be mortall: / I haue well espyde / No man may hym hyde / From Deth holow eyed [...].
    • 1842, Douglas Jerrold, "Mr Peppersorn ‘At Home’", Cakes and Ale:
      "Among us!" was the general shout, and Peppersorn sat frozen to his chair.
    • 1946, Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, I.27:
      Undoubtedly the age of the Antonines was much better than any later age until the Renaissance, from the point of view of the general happiness.
    • 2006, Ruth Sutherland, "Invite public to the private equity party", The Observer, 15 Oct 06:
      One advantage of having profitable companies in Britain is that they pay large sums in corporate tax into the Exchequer, which in theory at least is used for the general good.
  2. 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.]
    • 1865, Edward Cust, Lives of the Warriors of the Thirty Years War, p. 527:
      For these successes he obtained the rank of Field-Marshal General.
    • 2002, James Turner, Libertines and Radicals in Early Modern London, p. 122:
      He becomes the chief chartered libertine, the whoremaster-general flourishing his "standard" over a female army [...].
  3. Prevalent or widespread among a given class or area; common, usual. [from 14th c.]
    • 1817, Walter Scott, Rob Roy, IX:
      ‘I can't quite afford you the sympathy you expect upon this score,’ I replied; ‘the misfortune is so general, that it belongs to one half of the species [...].’
    • 2008, John Patterson, "Home movies", The Guardian, 20 Dec 08:
      The general opinion on Baz Luhrmann's overstuffed epic Australia seems to be that it throws in everything but the kitchen sink, and then tosses that in too, just to be sure.
  4. Not limited in use or application; applicable to the whole or every member of a class or category. [from 14th c.]
    • 1924, Time, 17 Mar 1924:
      M. Venizelos went to Athens from Paris early last January in response to a general invitation from the Greek populace.
    • 2009, Douglas P Zipes, Saturday Evening Post, vol. 281:1, p. 20:
      Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a general term indicating a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) coming from the top chambers of the heart - in essence, above (supra) the lower chamber (ventricular).
  5. Giving or consisting of only the most important aspects of something, ignoring minor details; indefinite. [from 16th c.]
    • 1817, Walter Scott, Rob Roy, X:
      As she thus spoke, the entrance of the servants with dinner cut off all conversation but that of a general nature.
    • 2006, Kevin Nance, "Ghosts of the White City", Chicago Sun-Times, 16 Jul 06:
      The quick answer is that the 1893 Exposition was simply so important -- "the greatest event in the history of the country since the Civil War," as Harper's put it that October -- but that feels too general.
    • 2008, Robert P Maloney, "The Quiet Carpenter", America, vol. 199:19, p. 18:
      Given the scarcity of relevant historical detail in the New Testament, we are left with only a general outline about Joseph.
  6. Not limited to a specific class; miscellaneous, concerned with all branches of a given subject or area. [from 16th c.]
    • 1941, W Somerset Maugham, Up at the Villa, Vintage 2004, p. 24:
      There was a moment's pause. The Princess broke in with some casual remark and once more the conversation became general.
    • 1947, "Russian Catechism", Time, 20 Oct 1947:
      Already in the primary school work is conducted for the purpose of equipping the pupils with those elements of general knowledge which are closely related to the military preparation of future warriors.
    • 2007, Alan Cheuse, "A Little Death", Southern Review, vol. 43:3, p. 692:
      His measured, springless walk was the walk of the skilled countryman as distinct from the desultory shamble of the general labourer [...].

Antonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Noun[edit]

general (plural generals)

  1. (now rare) A general fact or proposition; a generality. [from 16th c.]
    We have dealt with the generals; now let us turn to the particulars.
  2. (military) 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.]
  3. A great strategist or tactician. [from 16th c.]
    Hannibal was one of the greatest generals of the ancient world.
  4. (Christianity) The head of certain religious orders, especially Dominicans or Jesuits. [from 16th c.]
  5. (nautical) A commander of naval forces; an admiral. [16th-18th c.]
  6. (colloquial, now historical) A general servant; a maid with no specific duties. [from 19th c.]
    • 1918, Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier, Virago 2014, p. 16:
      She flung at us as we sat down, ‘My general is sister to your second housemaid.’
  7. A general anaesthetic; general anaesthesia.
Usage notes[edit]

When used as a title, it is always capitalized.

Example: General John Doe.

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

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]

Verb[edit]

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

  1. To lead (soldiers) as a general

Statistics[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin generālis.

Adjective[edit]

general m, f (masculine and feminine plural generals)

  1. general

Noun[edit]

general m (plural generals, feminine generala)

  1. general

Derived terms[edit]


Danish[edit]

Noun[edit]

general c (singular definite generalen, plural indefinite generaler)

  1. general

Inflection[edit]


Ladin[edit]

Adjective[edit]

general m (plural generai, feminine generala, feminine plural generales)

  1. general

Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Noun[edit]

general m (definite singular generalen, indefinite plural generaler, definite plural generalene)

  1. (military) a general

Norwegian Nynorsk[edit]

Noun[edit]

general m (definite singular generalen, indefinite plural generalar, definite plural generalane)

  1. (military) a general

Old French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Latin generālis.

Noun[edit]

general m (oblique plural generaus or generax or generals, nominative singular generaus or generax or generals, nominative plural general)

  1. (military) general

Adjective[edit]

general m (feminine generale)

  1. general (not limited in use or application; applicable to the whole or every member of a class or category)

Declension[edit]

Descendants[edit]


Portuguese[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Latin generālis. See also geral, from the same source.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

general m (plural generais)

  1. general

Descendants[edit]


Romanian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from French général, from Latin generālis.

Noun[edit]

general m (plural generali)

  1. general

Declension[edit]

Adjective[edit]

general

  1. general

Related terms[edit]


Serbo-Croatian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From German General, from Latin generalis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ɡeněraːl/
  • Hyphenation: ge‧ne‧ral

Noun[edit]

genèrāl m (Cyrillic spelling генѐра̄л)

  1. general (military rank)

Declension[edit]


Slovene[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From German General, from Latin generalis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

generál m anim (genitive generála, nominative plural generáli, feminine generálica or generálinja)

  1. general (military rank)

Declension[edit]


Spanish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin generālis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

general m, f (plural generales)

  1. general

Derived terms[edit]

Noun[edit]

general m (plural generales, feminine generala)

  1. (military) general

Swedish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

general c

  1. a general[1]
  2. an Air Chief Marshal[1]

Declension[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Utrikes namnbok (7th ed., 2007) ISBN 978-913832379-3