Last modified on 6 March 2015, at 17:36

general

EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit

EtymologyEdit

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

PronunciationEdit

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

AdjectiveEdit

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 [...].

AntonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

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.

NounEdit

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 notesEdit

When used as a title, it is always capitalized.

Example: General John Doe.

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

TranslationsEdit

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 alsoEdit

VerbEdit

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

StatisticsEdit

AnagramsEdit


CatalanEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Latin generālis.

AdjectiveEdit

general m, f (masculine and feminine plural generals)

  1. general

NounEdit

general m (plural generals, feminine generala)

  1. general

Derived termsEdit


DanishEdit

NounEdit

general c (singular definite generalen, plural indefinite generaler)

  1. general

InflectionEdit


LadinEdit

AdjectiveEdit

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

  1. general

Norwegian BokmålEdit

NounEdit

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

  1. (military) a general

Norwegian NynorskEdit

NounEdit

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

  1. (military) a general

Old FrenchEdit

EtymologyEdit

Borrowed from Latin generālis.

NounEdit

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

  1. (military) general

AdjectiveEdit

general m (feminine generale)

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

DeclensionEdit

DescendantsEdit


PortugueseEdit

EtymologyEdit

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

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

general m (plural generais)

  1. general

DescendantsEdit


RomanianEdit

EtymologyEdit

Borrowing from French général, from Latin generālis.

NounEdit

general m (plural generali)

  1. general

DeclensionEdit

AdjectiveEdit

general

  1. general

Related termsEdit


Serbo-CroatianEdit

EtymologyEdit

From German General, from Latin generalis.

PronunciationEdit

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

NounEdit

genèrāl m (Cyrillic spelling генѐра̄л)

  1. general (military rank)

DeclensionEdit


SloveneEdit

EtymologyEdit

From German General, from Latin generalis.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

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

  1. general (military rank)

DeclensionEdit


SpanishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Latin generālis.

PronunciationEdit

AdjectiveEdit

general m, f (plural generales)

  1. general

Derived termsEdit

NounEdit

general m (plural generales, feminine generala)

  1. (military) general

SwedishEdit

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

general c

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

DeclensionEdit

ReferencesEdit

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