• synonyms


verb (used with object), gen·er·al·ized, gen·er·al·iz·ing.
  1. to infer (a general principle, trend, etc.) from particular facts, statistics, or the like.
  2. to infer or form (a general principle, opinion, conclusion, etc.) from only a few facts, examples, or the like.
  3. to give a general rather than a specific or special character or form to.
  4. to make general; bring into general use or knowledge.
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verb (used without object), gen·er·al·ized, gen·er·al·iz·ing.
  1. to form general principles, opinions, etc.
  2. to deal, think, or speak in generalities.
  3. to make general inferences.
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Also especially British, gen·er·al·ise.

Origin of generalize

First recorded in 1745–55; general + -ize
Related formsgen·er·al·iz·a·ble, adjectivegen·er·al·iz·er, nounnon·gen·er·al·ized, adjectiveun·gen·er·al·ized, adjectiveun·gen·er·al·iz·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for generalise

Historical Examples

  • While perhaps to generalise these delights, a trundled organ tossed a ragtime.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • I look at a strong tendency to generalise as an entire evil.

  • The universal man is no specialist, and has to generalise without his details.

  • A city can often generalise where a nation must particularise.

  • It is so terribly easy to generalise from inadequate experience.

    Chats on Angling

    H. V. Hart-Davis

British Dictionary definitions for generalise



  1. to form (general principles or conclusions) from (detailed facts, experience, etc); infer
  2. (intr) to think or speak in generalities, esp in a prejudiced way
  3. (tr; usually passive) to cause to become widely used or known
  4. (intr) (of a disease)
    1. to spread throughout the body
    2. to change from a localized infection or condition to a systemic onegeneralized infection
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Derived Formsgeneralizer or 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

Word Origin and History for generalise



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

generalise in Medicine


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