Definition of generalize in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈjen(ə)rəˌlīz/


1 [no object] Make a general or broad statement by inferring from specific cases: it is not easy to generalize about the poor it is tempting to generalize from these conclusions
More example sentences
  • What is unacceptable, to say the least, is to generalize about the uses and customs of nearly half a billion people who cover close to one sixth of the Earth's surface.
  • However, it is not easy to generalize about the ethnographic research process in such a way as to provide definitive recommendations about research practice.
  • On the other hand, I'll admit that the few I've seen have actually been quite good, and hard to generalize about.
1.1Make or become more widely or generally applicable: [with object]: most of what we have observed in this field can be generalized to other fields [no object]: many of the results generalize to multibody structures
More example sentences
  • Our current efforts are directed at improving these tools for E. coli, making them widely available, and generalizing them to other microorganisms.
  • Several factors suggest caution before widely generalizing our findings.
  • One of the most important branches of mathematics is the study of objects known as manifolds, which result from generalizing these ideas to three or more dimensions.
2 [with object] Make (something) more widespread or common: attempts to generalize an elite education
2.1 (as adjective generalized) Medicine (Of a disease) affecting much or all of the body; not localized: a generalized rash and fever
More example sentences
  • This can potentially lead to septicemia, a generalized infection affecting many systems of the body.
  • However, in two cases of segmental disease, genetic transmission of the generalized disease has been reported.
  • There is a generalized infection with involvement of the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and lymph glands.



Pronunciation: /ˌjenərəˌlīzəˈbilitē/
Example sentences
  • Thus, we search for others with whom we can share our experience with the hope of achieving some greater generalizability - and larger markets.
  • Although lack of generalizability is often cited as the major shortcoming of randomization tests, other limitations have also been discussed.
  • The generalizability of the findings would also have been improved with a larger and more representative sample of mothers and children.


Example sentences
  • If he is wrong (or if his findings are not generalizable to more recent years, as more recent data hints), collecting and analyzing additional data is the way to refute him.
  • And since my research was much more generalizable and carefully controlled than anything that went before it, one would think that my paper would be an essential reference in any further discussion of the topic.
  • Yet they do not raise objections to studies that are even less rigorous or generalizable on such issues as the impact of divorce on children.


Example sentences
  • Despair is one of the great subjects of art, of course, but not in the hands of a relentless generalizer selling platitudes about ‘the human condition.’
  • Humans, being master generalizers, do not easily empathize with dogs and fail to take cautionary measures.
  • The same is true for many generalisers and commentators.


Middle English (in the sense 'reduce to a general statement'): from general + -ize.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: gen·er·al·ize

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