What does general mean?

Definitions for general
ˈdʒɛn ər əlgen·er·al

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word general.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. general, full generalnoun

    a general officer of the highest rank

  2. general, superior generalnoun

    the head of a religious order or congregation

  3. generaladjective

    a fact about the whole (as opposed to particular)

    "he discussed the general but neglected the particular"

  4. generaladjective

    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"

  5. generaladjective

    not specialized or limited to one class of things

    "general studies"; "general knowledge"

  6. generaladjective

    prevailing among and common to the general public

    "the general discontent"

  7. generaladjective

    affecting the entire body

    "a general anesthetic"; "general symptoms"

  8. generaladjective

    somewhat indefinite

    "bearing a general resemblance to the original"; "a general description of the merchandise"

  9. cosmopolitan, ecumenical, oecumenical, general, universal, worldwide, world-wideverb

    of worldwide scope or applicability

    "an issue of cosmopolitan import"; "the shrewdest political and ecumenical comment of our time"- Christopher Morley; "universal experience"

  10. generalverb

    command as a general

    "We are generaled by an incompetent!"


  1. generalnoun

    Commander of an army.

    Hannibal was one of the greatest generals of the ancient world.

  2. generalnoun

    A rank in the army and air force that is higher than colonel or brigadier, and is usually the highest rank group next to commander in chief, except in countries that use the rank of field marshal.

  3. generalnoun

    a commissioned rank in the British Army and Royal Marines, above lieutenant general and below field marshal.

  4. generalnoun

    a commissioned general officer in the United States Army, Marine Corps, or Air Force superior to a lieutenant general. A general is equal in rank or grade to a four star admiral. In the US Army, a general is junior to a general of the army. In the US Marine Corps, a general is the highest rank of commissioned officer. In the US Air Force, a general is junior to a general of the air force.

  5. generalnoun

    Short for general anaesthetic or general anaesthetia.

  6. generaladjective

    Including or involving every part or member of a given or implied entity, whole etc.; as opposed to specific or particular.

  7. generaladjective

    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.

  8. generaladjective

    Prevalent or widespread among a given class or area; common, usual.

  9. generaladjective

    Not limited in use or application; applicable to the whole or every member of a class or category.

  10. generaladjective

    Giving or consisting of only the most important aspects of something, ignoring minor details; indefinite.

  11. generaladjective

    Not limited to a specific class; miscellaneous, concerned with all branches of a given subject or area.

  12. Etymology: From general, generall, general, and their source, generalis, from genus + -alis.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. GENERALadjective

    Etymology: general, French; generalis, Latin.

    To conclude from particulars to generals is a false way of arguing. Notes to Pope’s Odyssey.

    Where the author speaks more strictly and particularly on any theme, it will explain the more loose and general expressions. Isaac Watts, Improvement of the Mind.

    A general idea is an idea in the mind, considered there as separated from time and place, and so capable to represent any particular being that is conformable to it. John Locke.

    They, because some have been admitted without trial, make that fault general which is particular. John Whitgift.

    Nor would we deign him burial of his men,
    ’Till he disburs’d, at Saint Colmeskill isle,
    Ten thousand dollars to our gen’ral use. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Nor sail’d they to express how much they prais’d,
    That for the general safety he despis’d
    His own. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. ii.

    If the same thing be peculiarly evil, that general aversion will be turned into a particular hatred against it. Thomas Sprat.

    I’ve been bold,
    For that I knew it the most general way. William Shakespeare, Timon.

  2. Generalnoun

    That which makes an action fit to be commanded or forbidden, can be nothing else, in general, but its tendency to promote or hinder the attainment of some end. John Norris.

    In particulars our knowledge begins, and so spreads itself by degrees to generals. John Locke.

    I have considered John Milton’s Paradise Lost in the fable, the characters, the sentiments, and the language; and have shewn that he excels, in general, under each of these heads. Addison.

    Neither my place, nor aught I heard of business,
    Hath raised me from my bed; nor doth the general
    Take hold on me; for my particular grief
    Ingluts and swallows other sorrows. William Shakespeare, Othello.

    The play, I remember, pleased not the million; ’twas caviare to the general: but it was, as I received it, and others, whose judgment in such matters cried in the top of mine, an excellent play. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

    A general is one that hath power to command an army. John Locke.

    The generals on the enemy’s side are inferior to several that once commanded the French armies. Joseph Addison, on the War.

    The war’s whole art each private soldier knows,
    And with a gen’ral ’s love of conquest glows. Addison.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Generaladjective

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

  2. Generaladjective

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

  3. Generaladjective

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

  4. Generaladjective

    common to many, or the greatest number; widely spread; prevalent; extensive, though not universal; as, a general opinion; a general custom

  5. Generaladjective

    having a relation to all; common to the whole; as, Adam, our general sire

  6. Generaladjective

    as a whole; in gross; for the most part

  7. Generaladjective

    usual; common, on most occasions; as, his general habit or method

  8. Generaladjective

    the whole; the total; that which comprehends or relates to all, or the chief part; -- opposed to particular

  9. Generaladjective

    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

  10. Generaladjective

    the roll of the drum which calls the troops together; as, to beat the general

  11. Generaladjective

    the chief of an order of monks, or of all the houses or congregations under the same rule

  12. Generaladjective

    the public; the people; the vulgar

  13. Etymology: [F. gnral. See General., a.]


  1. General

    A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given. The term "general" is used in two ways: as the generic title for all grades of general officer; and as a specific rank. Since the late twentieth century, the rank of general is usually the highest active rank of a military not at war.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. General

    jen′ėr-al, adj. relating to a genus or whole class: including many species: not special: not restricted: common: prevalent: public: loose: vague.—n. a class embracing many species: an officer who is head over a whole department: a military officer who commands a body of men not less than a brigade (often general officer): the chief commander of an army in service: (R.C. Church) the head of a religious order, responsible only to the Pope: (Shak.) the public, the vulgar.—n. General′ē, esp. in pl. Generalia, general principles.—adj. Generalī′sable.—n. Generalisā′tion.—v.t. Generalīse′, to include under a general term: to infer (the nature of a class) from one or a few instances.—v.i. to reason inductively.—n. General′ity.—advs. Gen′erally, Gen′eral (obs.), in a general or collective manner or sense: in most cases: upon the whole.—n. Gen′eralship, the position of a military commander: military tactics.—General Assembly (see Assembly); General Epistle, one addressed to the whole Church (same as Catholic Epistle); General practitioner, a physician who devotes himself to general practice rather than to special diseases; General principle, a principle to which there are no exceptions within its range of application; General servant, a servant whose duties are not special, but embrace domestic work of every kind.—In general, mostly, as a general rule. [O. Fr.,—L. generalisgenus.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. general

    The commander of an army: the military rank corresponding to the naval one of admiral. The title includes all officers above colonels, ascending with qualifying prefixes, as brigadier-general, major-general, lieutenant-general, to general, above which is nothing save the exceptional rank of field-marshal and of captain-general or commander-in-chief of the land forces of the United Kingdom.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. general

    A term for the roll of the drum which calls the troops together. To “beat the general” is a phrase drawn from the French drum instructors, “Battre la Generale.”

  2. general

    The highest military title in the U. S. army, and the highest military title below that of field-marshal in European armies. A general ordinarily commands no body of men less than an army or corps d’armée.

Editors Contribution

  1. general

    Relating to a group of people as a whole.

    The general view was everyone loved carrots.

    Submitted by MaryC on December 21, 2019  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'general' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #280

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'general' in Written Corpus Frequency: #537

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'general' in Nouns Frequency: #973

  4. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'general' in Adjectives Frequency: #25

Anagrams for general »

  1. enlarge

  2. gleaner

  3. al green

How to pronounce general?

How to say general in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of general in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of general in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of general in a Sentence

  1. Lanny Davis:

    However, as a general matter from my own past experience, it is impossible to deny or try to spin your way out of what documents say. For example, Michael Cohen in Lanny Davis public testimony did not ask anyone to rely on what he was saying alone. He provided documents that speak for themselves to corroborate what he was saying.

  2. De George:

    We don’t do anything twice as a general rule, less than 5 percent of items we will ever design will be used in two different spots.

  3. Lindsey Graham:

    It’s not going to be WWIII. This is all a bluff. Putin knows that no one wins a nuclear exchange, if he ordered a preemptive strike on the United States, some general would shoot him in the head.

  4. President Donald Trump:

    In general older Americans should avoid all essential travel in crowded areas, my administration is coordinated directly with communities with largest outbreaks and we have issued guidance on school closures, social distancing and reducing large gatherings. Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.

  5. Joseph Votel:

    Their general activities that we see out here in the Gulf have not changed as a result of the [nuclear agreement]... and really as we’ve seen much more broadly around the region.

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    a vigorous blow
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