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

Synonyms for general

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.

Antonyms for general Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for in 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
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 in general



late 14c., "whole class of things or persons," from general (adj.). Meaning "commander of an army" is 1570s, shortening of captain general, from Middle French capitaine général. The English adjective was affixed to civic officer designations by late 14c. to indicate superior rank and extended jurisdiction.



c.1200, "comprehensive, inclusive, full," from Latin generalis "relating to all, of a whole class" (contrasted with specialis), from genus (genitive generis) "stock, kind" (see genus). General store attested by 1810, American English; a general hospital (1737) is one not restricted to one class of persons or type of disease.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with in general

in general


Referring to a group of persons or a subject as a whole, as opposed to particular ones. For example, I am speaking about contracts in general, or Girls in general mature at a younger age than boys. [Late 1300s] For an antonym, see in particular.


For the most part; commonly, usually. For example, In general the children behaved very well, or Our winters are quite mild in general. [Early 1700s]


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.