verb (used with object), gen·er·al·ized, gen·er·al·iz·ing.

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), gen·er·al·ized, gen·er·al·iz·ing.

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for generalize

Contemporary Examples of generalize

Historical Examples of generalize

  • It is just as impossible to generalize granite and slate, as it is to generalize a man and a cow.

  • There are too many words as well as too few; and they generalize the objects or ideas which they represent.

  • It may be said that these were excrescences or city fashions; that one must not generalize.

    The New Society

    Walther Rathenau

  • It is easier to generalize in this manner than to produce documents in proof.

    The Science of Fairy Tales

    Edwin Sidney Hartland

  • It is dangerous to generalize from events not really settled.

British Dictionary definitions for generalize




to form (general principles or conclusions) from (detailed facts, experience, etc); infer
(intr) to think or speak in generalities, esp in a prejudiced way
(tr; usually passive) to cause to become widely used or known
(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 generalize

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

generalize in Medicine




To reduce to a general form, class, or law.
To render indefinite or unspecific.
To infer from many particulars.
To draw inferences or a general conclusion from.
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.