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[jen-er-uh-list] /ˈdʒɛn ər ə lɪst/
a person whose knowledge, aptitudes, and skills are applied to a field as a whole or to a variety of different fields (opposed to specialist).
Origin of generalist
1605-15; general + -ist Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for generalist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Woe to the specialist who is not a pretty fair generalist, and woe to the generalist who is not also a bit of a specialist.

  • When this nation of ours was born nearly every one was a generalist.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • Make the generalist think of himself in connection with large movements.

    Analyzing Character Katherine M. H. Blackford and Arthur Newcomb
  • What we have said about the specialist we could repeat by taking the opposite of the question for the generalist.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • He can do more for you and knows more of your case in five minutes' observation than the generalist would in three months.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • Pleasure and recreation are the only things in which an individual should be a generalist.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
  • Be a generalist in pleasure and recreation, but not in business.

    Dollars and Sense Col. Wm. C. Hunter
British Dictionary definitions for generalist


/ˈdʒɛnərəlɪst; ˈdʒɛnrə-/
  1. a person who is knowledgeable in many fields of study
  2. (as modifier): a generalist profession
(ecology) an organism able to utilize many food sources and therefore able to flourish in many habitats Compare specialist (sense 3)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for generalist

1610s, from general (adj.) + -ist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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generalist in Medicine

generalist gen·er·al·ist (jěn'ər-ə-lĭst)
A physician whose practice is not oriented in a specific medical specialty but instead covers a variety of medical problems.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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