[ jen-uh-rey-shuhn ]
/ ˌdʒɛn əˈreɪ ʃən /
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See synonyms for: generation / generations on Thesaurus.com

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Origin of generation

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English generacioun, from Middle French, from Latin generātiōn- (stem of generātiō ); see generate, -ion

historical usage of generation

Generation is from Anglo-French and Old French generacioun (with many spelling variants) “line of descent; body of individuals born and alive at about the same time,” senses that first occur in the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible, prepared chiefly by Saint Jerome at the end of the 4th century). The French noun comes from Latin generātiō (stem generation- ), which in classical Latin means only “act of procreating, procreation.”
Generātiō is a derivative of generāre “to beget, father, produce, generate.” Generāre in turn comes from genus (stem gener- ) “race, people, nation, class, kind,” from the Proto-Indo-European root gen-, gon-, gnē-, gnō- (with still other variants) “to beget, give birth.”
Further Latin examples include gēns (stem gent- ) “family, race, nation, people” and nātiō (from gnātiō ) “birth of a child, issue; race, nation.” Gentēs, the plural of gēns, translates Hebrew goyim “nations” in the Vulgate. Gēns forms the Latin adjective gentīlis “belonging to the same family, race, or nation.” English gentile comes from the Vulgate usage of gentīlis “any or all of the non-Jewish nations” and later “heathen, pagan.” Proto-Indo-European gen-, gon- yields Greek génos “race, descent, descendant, child” and génesis “origin, birth.”
The naming of a generation of people characterized collectively by shared ideas, experiences, etc., dates from the 1920s, specifically, the automobile generation and the Lost Generation.


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use generation in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for generation

/ (ˌdʒɛnəˈreɪʃən) /


Derived forms of generation

generational, adjective
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

Scientific definitions for generation

[ jĕn′ə-rāshən ]

  1. All of the offspring that are at the same stage of descent from a common ancestor.
  2. The average interval of time between the birth of parents and the birth of their offspring.
A form or stage in the life cycle of an organism. See more at alternation of generations.
The formation of a line or geometric figure by the movement of a point or line.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.