general

If I ask you to give me a general sense of how a car works, I'm looking for you to describe the two or three main principals in a few minutes, not to open the hood, take apart your engine, and tell me everything you know.

General comes from the French word générale, which means "common to all people," but we use it for more than just people. You might inquire about the general habits of schoolchildren, or the general temperature at night in the desert. And when someone's a general in the army or another organization, like the Surgeon General of the United States, for example, that means they oversee everything. So "general" is a high ranking, because generals are in charge of so many.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: general

1
adjn
applying to all or most members of a category or group
a fact about the whole (as opposed to particular)
2
nv
the head of a religious order or congregation
command as a general
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: general
1

adj applying to all or most members of a category or group

“the general public”
general assistance”
“a general rule”
“in general terms”
“comprehensible to the general reader”
Synonyms
comprehensive
including all or everything
indiscriminate
not marked by fine distinctions
broad, unspecific
not detailed or specific
all-purpose, general-purpose
not limited in use or function
generic
applicable to an entire class or group
gross
lacking fine distinctions or detail
overall
involving only main features
pandemic
existing everywhere
universal
applicable to or common to all members of a group or set
widespread
widely circulated or diffused
imprecise
not precise
unspecialised, unspecialized
not specialized or modified for a particular purpose or function
Antonyms:
specific
(sometimes followed by `to') applying to or characterized by or distinguishing something particular or special or unique
ad hoc
for or concerned with one specific purpose
circumstantial
fully detailed and specific about particulars
limited, special
having a specific function or scope
particular, peculiar, special
unique or specific to a person or thing or category
particular
separate and distinct from others of the same group or category
particularised, particularized
directed toward a specific object
proper
limited to the thing specified
unique
(followed by `to') applying exclusively to a given category or condition or locality
precise
sharply exact or accurate or delimited
specialised, specialized
developed or designed for a special activity or function
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adj of worldwide scope or applicability

Synonyms:
cosmopolitan, ecumenical, oecumenical, universal, world-wide, worldwide
comprehensive
including all or everything

adj prevailing among and common to the general public

“the general discontent”
Synonyms
common
having no special distinction or quality; widely known or commonly encountered; average or ordinary or usual

adj not specialized or limited to one class of things

general studies”
general knowledge”
Synonyms
undiversified
not diversified

adj somewhat indefinite

“bearing a general resemblance to the original”
“a general description of the merchandise”
Synonyms
imprecise
not precise

adj affecting the entire body

“a general anesthetic”
general symptoms”
Synonyms
systemic
affecting an entire system
Antonyms:
local
affecting only a restricted part or area of the body
localised, localized
confined or restricted to a particular location
topical
pertaining to the surface of a body part
show more antonyms...

n a fact about the whole (as opposed to particular)

“he discussed the general but neglected the particular”
Antonyms:
particular, specific
a fact about some part (as opposed to general)
Type of:
fact
a piece of information about circumstances that exist or events that have occurred
2

n the head of a religious order or congregation

Synonyms:
superior general
Type of:
chief, head, top dog
a person who is in charge

n a general officer of the highest rank

Synonyms:
full general
Examples:
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Gnaeus Julius Agricola
Roman general who was governor of Britain and extended Roman rule north to the Firth of Forth (37-93)
Alcibiades
ancient Athenian statesman and general in the Peloponnesian War (circa 450-404 BC)
Antigonus Cyclops
a general of Alexander the Great and king of Macedonia; lost one eye; killed in a battle at Ipsus (382-301 BC)
Marcus Antonius
Roman general under Julius Caesar in the Gallic wars; repudiated his wife for the Egyptian queen Cleopatra; they were defeated by Octavian at Actium (83-30 BC)
Benedict Arnold
United States general and traitor in the American Revolution; in 1780 his plan to surrender West Point to the British was foiled (1741-1801)
Belisarius
Byzantine general under Justinian I; he recovered former Roman territories in northern Africa and fought against the Persians
Belshazzar
(Old Testament) Babylonian general and son of Nebuchadnezzar II; according to the Old Testament he was warned of his doom by divine handwriting on the wall that was interpreted by Daniel (6th century BC)
El Libertador
Venezuelan statesman who led the revolt of South American colonies against Spanish rule; founded Bolivia in 1825 (1783-1830)
Omar Nelson Bradley
United States general who played an important role in the Allied victory in World War II (1893-1981)
Braxton Bragg
Confederate general during the American Civil War who was defeated by Grant in the battle of Chattanooga (1817-1876)
Gentleman Johnny
British general in the American Revolution who captured Fort Ticonderoga but lost the battle of Saratoga in 1777 (1722-1792)
Ambrose Everett Burnside
United States general in the American Civil War who was defeated by Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Fredericksburg (1824-1881)
Gaius Julius Caesar
conqueror of Gaul and master of Italy (100-44 BC)
Chiang Chung-cheng
Chinese military and political figure; in the Chinese civil war that followed World War II he was defeated by the Chinese communists and in 1949 was forced to withdraw to Taiwan where he served as president of Nationalist China until his death (1897-1975)
First Duke of Marlborough
English general considered one of the greatest generals in history (1650-1722)
Mark Wayne Clark
United States general who was Allied commander in Africa and Italy in World War II and was commander of the United Nations forces in Korea (1896-1984)
Karl von Clausewitz
Prussian general and military theorist who proposed a doctrine of total war and war as an extension of diplomacy (1780-1831)
Lucius DuBignon Clay
United States general who commanded United States forces in Europe from 1945 to 1949 and who oversaw the Berlin airlift (1897-1978)
Baron Clive of Plassey
British general and statesman whose victory at Plassey in 1757 strengthened British control of India (1725-1774)
First Marquess Cornwallis
commander of the British forces in the American War of Independence; was defeated by American and French troops at Yorktown (1738-1805)
Oliver Cromwell
English general and statesman who led the parliamentary army in the English Civil War (1599-1658)
Butcher Cumberland
English general; son of George II; fought unsuccessfully in the battle of Fontenoy (1721-1765)
George Armstrong Custer
United States general who was killed along with all his command by the Sioux at the Battle of Little Bighorn (1839-1876)
Moshe Dayan
Israeli general and statesman (1915-1981)
Charles Andre Joseph Marie de Gaulle
French general and statesman who became very popular during World War II as the leader of the Free French forces in exile (1890-1970)
Demetrius Poliorcetes
son of Antigonus Cyclops and king of Macedonia; he and his father were defeated at the battle of Ipsus (337-283 BC)
James Harold Doolittle
United States Air Force officer who electrified the world in 1942 by leading a squadron of 16 bombers on a daylight raid over Tokyo (1896-1993)
Baron Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding
British marshal of the RAF who commanded the British air defense forces that defeated the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain (1882-1970)
Dwight David Eisenhower
United States general who supervised the invasion of Normandy and the defeat of Nazi Germany; 34th President of the United States (1890-1961)
Prince Eugene of Savoy
Austrian general in the service of the Holy Roman Empire during the War of the Spanish Succession (1663-1736)
Gaius Flaminius
Roman statesman and general who built the Flaminian Way; died when he was defeated by Hannibal (died 217 BC)
Francisco Franco
Spanish general whose armies took control of Spain in 1939 and who ruled as a dictator until his death (1892-1975)
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Italian patriot whose conquest of Sicily and Naples led to the formation of the Italian state (1807-1882)
Ulysses Simpson Grant
18th President of the United States; commander of the Union armies in the American Civil War (1822-1885)
Leslie Richard Groves
United States general who served as military director of the atomic bomb project (1896-1970)
Hannibal
general who commanded the Carthaginian army in the second Punic War; crossed the Alps and defeated the Romans but was recalled to defend Carthage and was defeated (247-182 BC)
Sir Arthur Travers Harris
British marshal of the Royal Air Force; during World War II he directed mass bombing raids against German cities that resulted in heavy civilian casualties (1892-1984)
Hasdrubal
general who commanded a Carthaginian army in Spain; joined his brother Hannibal in Italy and was killed by the Romans at the battle of Metaurus River (died 207 BC)
Paul Ludwig von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg
German field marshal and statesman; as president of the Weimar Republic he reluctantly appointed Hitler as chancellor in 1933 (1847-1934)
Holofernes
(Apocrypha) the Assyrian general who was decapitated by the biblical heroine Judith
Fighting Joe Hooker
United States general in the Union Army who was defeated at Chancellorsville by Robert E. Lee (1814-1879)
Samuel Houston
United States politician and military leader who fought to gain independence for Texas from Mexico and to make it a part of the United States (1793-1863)
Andrew Jackson
7th president of the US; successfully defended New Orleans from the British in 1815; expanded the power of the presidency (1767-1845)
Thomas Jonathan Jackson
general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War whose troops at the first Battle of Bull Run stood like a stone wall (1824-1863)
Joseph Eggleston Johnston
Confederate general in the American Civil War; led the Confederate troops in the West (1807-1891)
Joseph ben Matthias
Jewish general who led the revolt of the Jews against the Romans and then wrote a history of those events (37-100)
Robert Edward Lee
American general who led the Confederate Armies in the American Civil War (1807-1870)
Lucius Licinius Lucullus
Roman general famous for self-indulgence and giving lavish banquets (circa 110-57 BC)
Lucius Licinius Luculus
Roman general famous for giving lavish banquets (110-57 BC)
Lysander
Spartan general who defeated the Athenians in the final battle of the Peloponnesian War (died in 395 BC)
Lysimachus
Macedonian general under Alexander the Great; with Seleucus he defeated Antigonus and Demetrius at the battle of Ipsus (circa 355-281 BC)
Douglas MacArthur
United States general who served as chief of staff and commanded Allied forces in the South Pacific during World War II; he accepted the surrender of Japan (1880-1964)
George Catlett Marshall
United States general and statesman who as Secretary of State organized the European Recovery Program (1880-1959)
George Gordon Meade
United States general in charge of the Union troops at the Battle of Gettysburg (1815-1872)
Miltiades
Athenian general who defeated the Persians at Marathon (540-489)
William Mitchell
United States aviator and general who was an early advocate of military air power (1879-1936)
1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
English general during World War II; won victories over Rommel in North Africa and led British ground forces in the invasion of Normandy (1887-1976)
Napoleon Bonaparte
French general who became emperor of the French (1769-1821)
Duc d'Elchingen
French marshal in the Napoleonic Wars (1769-1815)
John Joseph Pershing
United States general who commanded the American forces in Europe during World War I (1860-1948)
George Edward Pickett
American Confederate general known for leading a disastrous charge at Gettysburg (1825-1875)
Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
Roman general and statesman who quarrelled with Caesar and fled to Egypt where he was murdered (106-48 BC)
Colin luther Powell
United States general who was the first African American to serve as chief of staff; later served as Secretary of State under President George W. Bush (born 1937)
Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur
French general who commanded French troops in the American Revolution, notably at Yorktown (1725-1807)
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
Mexican general who tried to crush the Texas revolt and who lost battles to Winfield Scott and Zachary Taylor in the Mexican War (1795-1876)
Hermann Maurice Saxe
a French marshal who distinguished himself in the War of the Austrian Succession (1696-1750)
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major
Roman general who commanded the invasion of Carthage in the second Punic War and defeated Hannibal at Zama (circa 237-183 BC)
Winfield Scott
United States general who was a hero of the War of 1812 and who defeated Santa Anna in the Mexican War (1786-1866)
Seleucus I Nicator
Macedonian general who accompanied Alexander the Great into Asia; founded a line of kings who reigned in Asia Minor until 65 BC (358-281 BC)
William Tecumseh Sherman
United States general who was commander of all Union troops in the West; he captured Atlanta and led a destructive march to the sea that cut the Confederacy in two (1820-1891)
Siraj-ud-daula
Indian general and nawab of Bengal who opposed the colonization of India by England; he captured Calcutta in 1756 and many of his prisoners suffocated in a crowded room that became known as the Black Hole of Calcutta; he was defeated at the battle of Plassey by a group of Indian nobles in alliance with Robert Clive (1728-1757)
Joseph Warren Stilwell
United States general who commanded the Allied forces in China and Burma and India during World War II (1883-1946)
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix
Roman general and dictator (138-78 BC)
Albrecht Eusebius Wenzel von Wallenstein
Austrian general who fought for the Hapsburgs during the Thirty Years' War (1583-1634)
President Washington
1st President of the United States; commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution (1732-1799)
Archibald Percival Wavell
British field marshal in North Africa in World War II; he defeated the Italians before being defeated by the Germans (1883-1950)
Mad Anthony Wayne
American general during the American Revolution (1745-1796)
First Duke of Wellington
British general and statesman; he defeated Napoleon at Waterloo; subsequently served as Prime Minister (1769-1852)
Xenophon
Greek general and historian; student of Socrates (430-355 BC)
Georgi Konstantinovich Zhukov
Soviet general who during World Warr II directed the counteroffensive at Stalingrad and relieved Leningrad and captured Berlin (1896-1974)
Types:
Blucher, G. L. von Blucher, Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher, von Blucher
Prussian general who is remembered for his leadership in the wars against Napoleon (1742-1819)
Type of:
general officer
officers in the Army or Air Force or Marines above the rank of colonel

v command as a general

“We are generaled by an incompetent!”
Type of:
command
be in command of
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