- U.S. Army and Air Force. an officer ranking above a lieutenant general and below a general of the army or general of the air force.
- U.S. Army. an officer of any of the five highest ranks: a brigadier general, major general, lieutenant general, general, or general of the army.
- U.S. Marine Corps. an officer holding the highest rank in the corps.
- (in numerous armies) an officer in the highest, second, or third highest rank, as one ranking immediately below a field marshal in the British army.
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Idioms for general
- with respect to the whole class referred to; as a whole: He likes people in general.
- as a rule; usually: In general, the bus is here by 9 a.m.
Origin of general
SYNONYMS FOR general
synonym study for general
historical usage of general
The military sense of general (noun) dates from the mid-16th century; general officer and general of the army date from the mid-17th century. The heads of some Roman Catholic religious orders are called generals, a usage that began in the 16th century and applied originally to the Jesuits but now applies to the Franciscans and Dominicans as well; the usage was extended in the 19th century to the head of the Salvation Army.
The phrase in general originally meant “in a body, collectively” (a sense that is now obsolete), with a clear relation to the sense of the adjective general “with respect to a whole class, group, or category.” It later developed further to mean “usually,” which can be interpreted as meaning “as a general rule (rather than a specific instance).”
OTHER WORDS FROM generalgen·er·al·ness, nounpseu·do·gen·er·al, adjectiveun·der·gen·er·al, noun
Words nearby general
British Dictionary definitions for in general
Derived forms of generalgeneralness, noun
Word Origin for general
Idioms and Phrases with in general (1 of 2)
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]
Idioms and Phrases with in general (2 of 2)
see in general; on (general) principle.