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Etymology 1Edit

Capitalization of general.


General (uncountable)

  1. (military) The military officer title

Etymology 2Edit

Ellipsis of General Hospital

Proper nounEdit


  1. (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.



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Partly via Middle High German general, partly via French général, from Latin generalis.


  • IPA(key): /ˌɡe(ː).nəˈʁaːl/ (standard)
  • IPA(key): /ˌɡɛ.nəˈʁaːl/ (alternatively in common speech)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aːl


General m (genitive Generals or Generales, plural Generäle or Generale)

  1. (military) general (officer in any general rank)
  2. (military) general (officer in a specific general rank, usually the highest)
  3. (Roman Catholicism) general (head of an order)

Usage notesEdit

  • The two military senses exist alongside each other. In the German Bundeswehr, all army and air-force officers above the rank of colonel (Oberst) are referred to as Generale and each of them is addressed as Herr General. At the same time, General is a specific rank, namely the highest existing rank, typically held by the inspector general and at most one or two other generals.
  • The plural is Generale in the Bundeswehr’s official terminology, but more commonly Generäle otherwise. Singular forms with -e- (des Generales, dem Generale) are exceedingly rare.


Derived termsEdit

Further readingEdit