To generalize is to use specific examples to make broader points. Generalizing makes large points, though they aren't always necessarily true.

When someone says "in general" they're talking about what things are like in the big picture or overall. Similarly, generalizing takes small examples and uses them to make bigger points. Saying that all teens are selfish because you know a few selfish teens is generalizing. Saying all adults are uptight is an example of generalizing. Unfortunately, generalizing can be dangerous. Stereotyping is a form of generalizing. Sometimes it’s better to stick to specific examples and to avoid generalizing.

Definitions of generalize
  1. verb
    draw from specific cases for more general cases
    synonyms: extrapolate, generalise, infer
    see moresee less
    overgeneralise, overgeneralize
    draw too general a conclusion
    universalise, universalize
    make universal
    type of:
    conclude, reason, reason out
    decide by reasoning; draw or come to a conclusion
  2. verb
    speak or write in generalities
    synonyms: generalise
    see moresee less
    particularise, particularize, specialise, specialize, specify
    be specific about
    type of:
    mouth, speak, talk, utter, verbalise, verbalize
    express in speech
  3. verb
    cater to popular taste to make popular and present to the general public; bring into general or common use
    synonyms: generalise, popularise, popularize, vulgarise, vulgarize
    popularise, popularize
    make understandable to the general public
  4. verb
    become systemic and spread throughout the body
    “this kind of infection generalizes throughout the immune system”
    synonyms: generalise
    see moresee less
    type of:
    distribute, spread
    distribute or disperse widely
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week