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[jen-er-uh-list] /ˈdʒɛn ər ə lɪst/
a person whose knowledge, aptitudes, and skills are applied to a field as a whole or to a variety of different fields (opposed to specialist).
Origin of generalist
First recorded in 1605-15; general + -ist Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for generalist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • When this nation of ours was born nearly every one was a generalist.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • Pleasure and recreation are the only things in which an individual should be a generalist.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • Be a generalist in pleasure and recreation, but not in business.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • Woe to the specialist who is not a pretty fair generalist, and woe to the generalist who is not also a bit of a specialist.

  • Make the generalist think of himself in connection with large movements.

    Analyzing Character

    Katherine M. H. Blackford and Arthur Newcomb
  • He can do more for you and knows more of your case in five minutes' observation than the generalist would in three months.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • What we have said about the specialist we could repeat by taking the opposite of the question for the generalist.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
British Dictionary definitions for generalist


/ˈdʒɛnərəlɪst; ˈdʒɛnrə-/
  1. a person who is knowledgeable in many fields of study
  2. (as modifier): a generalist profession
(ecology) an organism able to utilize many food sources and therefore able to flourish in many habitats Compare specialist (sense 3)
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 generalist

1610s, from general (adj.) + -ist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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generalist in Medicine

generalist gen·er·al·ist (jěn'ər-ə-lĭst)
A physician whose practice is not oriented in a specific medical specialty but instead covers a variety of medical problems.

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