Definition of general in English:


Syllabification: gen·er·al
Pronunciation: /ˈjenərəl


  • 3 [often in titles] Chief or principal: a general manager
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    • The club needs either a Chief Exec or general manager with a day-to-day overview of the running of the club to avoid situations like this.
    • That is a matter for the general manager and the chief executive of the Department of Labour.
    • By comparison, half of the teams in the majors have changed general managers in the past three years.


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  • 1A commander of an army, or an army officer of very high rank.
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    • The most stable connection is that between the military commander and generals and officers directly subordinated to him.
    • Senior generals and staff officers know this, which is why they are reluctant to rush into attacking at such a time.
    • But under his warring sons several major field armies emerged, under generals of even higher rank.
  • 1.1An officer in the US Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps ranking above lieutenant general.
    More example sentences
    • The senior officers - generals, brigadiers, colonels - were all at a loss about what to do.
    • There are paintings and photographs of generals, lieutenants, sergeants, privates, secretaries and commanders-in-chief.
    • I'm privileged to spend a good bit of time with our military officers, from generals to new lieutenants.
  • 1.2The head of a religious order organized on quasi-military lines, e.g., the Jesuits, the Dominicans, or the Salvation Army.
    More example sentences
    • Realizing that he might need some help, the Church sent the generals of the Dominican and Franciscan orders as his advisors.
  • 2 (the general) • archaic The general public.


as a general rule

In most cases.
More example sentences
  • Pines are woody perennial species with approximately 10 years per generation as a general rule.
  • Therefore, as a general rule, greater transparency is usually better.
  • This doesn't happen in every single case, and not necessarily as speedily and thoroughly as some would want, but it holds well enough as a general rule.

in general

  • 1Usually; mainly: in general, Alexander was a peaceful, loving man
    More example sentences
    • It has become a commonplace that numbers are in general poorly dealt with by the mass media.
    • Oak in general is one of the strongest of the common hardwoods of the temperate northern hemisphere.
    • Women do not in general share sport as a common language or as a means of bonding in the same way.
  • 2As a whole: our understanding of culture in general and of literature in particular
    More example sentences
    • What is it that draws me to paganism in general and druidry in particular?
    • Babies are a booming business for the publishing world in particular and the media in general.
    • However, the whole purpose of the programme is to raise property values in general in those areas.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin generalis, from genus, gener- 'class, race, kind'. The noun primarily denotes a person having overall authority: the sense 'army commander' is an abbreviation of captain general, from French capitaine général 'commander in chief'.

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