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[jen-er-uh-lahyz] /ˈdʒɛn ər əˌlaɪz/
verb (used with object), generalized, generalizing.
to infer (a general principle, trend, etc.) from particular facts, statistics, or the like.
to infer or form (a general principle, opinion, conclusion, etc.) from only a few facts, examples, or the like.
to give a general rather than a specific or special character or form to.
to make general; bring into general use or knowledge.
verb (used without object), generalized, generalizing.
to form general principles, opinions, etc.
to deal, think, or speak in generalities.
to make general inferences.
Also, especially British, generalise.
Origin of generalize
First recorded in 1745-55; general + -ize
Related forms
generalizable, adjective
generalizer, noun
nongeneralized, adjective
ungeneralized, adjective
ungeneralizing, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for generalising
Historical Examples
  • He is not generalising; he is inferring a particular from particulars.

    A Logic Of Facts George Jacob Holyoake
  • Now, people are so fond of generalising about colonists, and how wrong they are!

    A Modern Buccaneer Rolf Boldrewood
  • We do not waste our intellects in generalising, but take man or bird as we find him.

    Lilith George MacDonald
  • In criticising decorated bindings there is a danger of falling into the common error of generalising from isolated instances.

    The Art of the Book Bernard H. Newdigate
  • "Most women always are," said Henrietta, with conscientious evasiveness and generalising less hopefully than usual.

  • "They never seem quite to have their heads, and never seem quite to lose 'em," said Cothope, generalising about the sex.

    Tono Bungay H. G. Wells
  • The cabman, generalising from observed cases, held the reins out of the way, that Tommy's tall hat might mount in safety.

  • I have always thought the subject of marriage left remarkably little room for generalising.

    The Tree of Knowledge

    Mrs. Baillie Reynolds
  • Shall I add that the immanence of farce just spoken of does in a little degree mitigate the cruelty by generalising the vulgarity?

  • We love our nation by generalising and losing sight of the individuals.

British Dictionary definitions for generalising


to form (general principles or conclusions) from (detailed facts, experience, etc); infer
(intransitive) to think or speak in generalities, esp in a prejudiced way
(transitive; usually passive) to cause to become widely used or known
(intransitive) (of a disease)
  1. to spread throughout the body
  2. to change from a localized infection or condition to a systemic one: generalized infection
Derived Forms
generalizer, generaliser, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for generalising



1751, probably a new formation from general (adj.) + -ize. Middle English had generalisen (early 15c.). Related: Generalizable; generalized; generalizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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generalising in Medicine

generalize gen·er·al·ize (jěn'ər-ə-līz')
v. gen·er·al·ized, gen·er·al·iz·ing, gen·er·al·iz·es

  1. To reduce to a general form, class, or law.

  2. To render indefinite or unspecific.

  3. To infer from many particulars.

  4. To draw inferences or a general conclusion from.

  5. To make generally or universally applicable.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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