[ oh-ver-jen-er-uh-lahyz ]
/ 藢o蕣 v蓹r藞d蕭蓻n 蓹r 蓹藢la瑟z /
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verb (used with or without object), o路ver路gen路er路al路ized, o路ver路gen路er路al路iz路ing.
to generalize beyond appropriate or justified limits.
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can鈥檛 figure out _____ gave me this gift.
Also especially British, o路ver路gen路er路al路ise .

Origin of overgeneralize

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2022


What does聽overgeneralize mean?

To overgeneralize is to draw conclusions that are too broad because they exceed what could be logically concluded from the available information.

Overgeneralize comes from generalize, meaning to draw broad conclusions. Overgeneralizing is generalizing too much or in a way that leads to faulty conclusions.

The noun form of overgeneralize is overgeneralization, which refers to the act of overgeneralizing or an instance of doing so.

The word overgeneralize is frequently used in everyday speech, but it can also be used in logic, linguistics, psychology, or other fields of research to mean something a little bit more specific relating to the particular field.

Example: The authors are overgeneralizing when they claim that all hospitals lack evacuation plans, since in fact only a small number of hospitals were studied.

Where does聽overgeneralize come from?

The first records of the word overgeneralize come from the mid-1800s. Generalize is recorded earlier, in the mid-1700s. The base word, general, comes from the Latin gener膩lis, meaning 鈥済eneric鈥 or 鈥渞elating to a whole class.鈥 The suffix -ize is used to make generalize a verb that essentially means 鈥渢o make general.鈥 The prefix over- is used to mean 鈥渙ver the limit鈥 or 鈥渢oo much.鈥

Overgeneralize typically refers to trying to apply a conclusion too broadly鈥攍ike taking one difficult science class and saying 鈥渁ll science classes are super hard.鈥 In logic and rhetoric, the word overgeneralize is used in reference to the hasty generalization fallacy, which involves making a claim that isn鈥檛 supported by enough evidence.

In linguistics, overgeneralize means to apply a grammatical rule (like forming past tense verbs by adding –ed) too widely (resulting in nonwords like eated), which is often done by children when they鈥檙e learning to talk. In psychology, to overgeneralize means to take just one or just a few incidents and presume that the world works a certain way based on those few incidents.

All of these different senses share the same general idea with the common meaning of overgeneralize: 鈥渘ot enough information; too broad a conclusion.鈥

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What are some other forms related to overgeneralize?

What are some words that share a root or word element with overgeneralize?聽

What are some words that often get used in discussing overgeneralize?

How is聽overgeneralize used in real life?

People overgeneralize all the time, and the word is almost always used to criticize people for doing it.


Try using聽overgeneralize!

Is overgeneralize used correctly in the following sentence?

When children have a bad experience with a particular food, they tend to overgeneralize and reject that food in any preparation.