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.
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.
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for generalising

Historical Examples of generalising

  • 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.


    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.

British Dictionary definitions for generalising



  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
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 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

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