Nearby words

  1. genealogy,
  2. genearch,
  3. genecology,
  4. genera,
  5. generable,
  6. general accounting office,
  7. general admission,
  8. general agreement on tariffs and trade,
  9. general american,
  10. general anaesthetic


    in general,
    1. with respect to the whole class referred to; as a whole: He likes people in general.
    2. as a rule; usually: In general, the bus is here by 9 a.m.

Origin of general

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin generālis, equivalent to gener- (stem of genus) genus + -ālis -al1

Related formsgen·er·al·ness, nounpseu·do·gen·er·al, adjectiveun·der·gen·er·al, noun

Synonym study

1, 2. General, common, popular, universal agree in the idea of being nonexclusive and widespread. General means belonging to, or prevailing throughout, a whole class or body collectively, irrespective of individuals: a general belief. Common means shared by all, and belonging to one as much as another: a common interest; common fund; but use of this sense is frequently avoided because of ambiguity of sense. Popular means belonging to, adapted for, or favored by the people or the public generally, rather than by a particular (especially a superior) class: the popular conception; a popular candidate. Universal means found everywhere, and with no exceptions: a universal longing.

Tom Thumb


a diminutive hero of folk tales.
an extremely small person; dwarf.
General, nickname of Charles Sherwood Stratton. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for general

British Dictionary definitions for general



common; widespreada general feeling of horror at the crime
of, including, applying to, or participated in by all or most of the members of a group, category, or community
relating to various branches of an activity, profession, etc; not specializedgeneral office work
including various or miscellaneous itemsgeneral knowledge; a general store
not specific as to detail; overalla general description of the merchandise
not definite; vaguegive me a general idea of when you will finish
applicable or true in most cases; usual
(prenominal or immediately postpositive) having superior or extended authority or rankgeneral manager; consul general
Also: pass designating a degree awarded at some universities, studied at a lower academic standard than an honours degreeSee honours (def. 2)
med relating to or involving the entire body or many of its parts; systemic
logic (of a statement) not specifying an individual subject but quantifying over a domain


an officer of a rank senior to lieutenant general, esp one who commands a large military formation
any person acting as a leader and applying strategy or tactics
a general condition or principle: opposed to particular
a title for the head of a religious order, congregation, etc
med short for general anaesthetic
archaic the people; public
in general generally; mostly or usually
Derived Formsgeneralness, noun

Word Origin for general

C13: from Latin generālis of a particular kind, from genus kind

Tom Thumb


General, stage name of Charles Stratton. 1838–83, US midget, exhibited in P. T. Barnum's circus
a dwarf; midget

Word Origin for Tom Thumb

after Tom Thumb, the tiny hero of several English folk tales

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

Word Origin and History for general
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for general

Tom Thumb

A thumb-sized hero of children's stories from the sixteenth century on.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with general


see in general; on (general) principle.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.