in general


of or pertaining to all persons or things belonging to a group or category: a general meeting of the employees.
of, pertaining to, or true of such persons or things in the main, with possible exceptions; common to most; prevalent; usual: the general mood of the people.
not limited to one class, field, product, service, etc.; miscellaneous: the general public; general science.
considering or dealing with overall characteristics, universal aspects, or important elements, especially without considering all details or specific aspects: general instructions; a general description; a general resemblance one to another.
not specific or definite: I could give them only a general idea of what was going on.
(of anesthesia or an anesthetic) causing loss of consciousness and abolishing sensitivity to pain throughout the body.
having extended command or superior or chief rank: the secretary general of the United Nations; the attorney general.
U.S. Army and Air force. an officer ranking above a lieutenant general and below a general of the army or general of the air force.
U.S. Army. an officer of any of the five highest ranks: a brigadier general, major general, lieutenant general, general, or general of the army.
U.S. Marine Corps. an officer holding the highest rank in the corps.
(in numerous armies) an officer in the highest, second, or third highest rank, as one ranking immediately below a field marshal in the British army.
Ecclesiastical. the chief official of a religious order.
something that is general; generality.
Archaic. the general public.
in general,
with respect to the whole class referred to; as a whole: He likes people in general.
as a rule; usually: In general, the bus is here by 9 a.m.

1250–1300; Middle English < Latin generālis, equivalent to gener- (stem of genus) genus + -ālis -al1

generalness, noun
pseudogeneral, adjective
undergeneral, noun

1, 2. customary, prevailing, regular, ordinary; catholic. General, common, popular, universal agree in the idea of being nonexclusive and widespread. General means belonging to, or prevailing throughout, a whole class or body collectively, irrespective of individuals: a general belief. Common means shared by all, and belonging to one as much as another: a common interest; common fund; but use of this sense is frequently avoided because of ambiguity of sense. Popular means belonging to, adapted for, or favored by the people or the public generally, rather than by a particular (especially a superior) class: the popular conception; a popular candidate. Universal means found everywhere, and with no exceptions: a universal longing. 5. ill-defined, inexact, imprecise, approximate.

1. special, limited. 5. definite, exact, precise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
general (ˈdʒɛnərəl, ˈdʒɛnrəl)
1.  common; widespread: a general feeling of horror at the crime
2.  of, including, applying to, or participated in by all or most of the members of a group, category, or community
3.  relating to various branches of an activity, profession, etc; not specialized: general office work
4.  including various or miscellaneous items: general knowledge; a general store
5.  not specific as to detail; overall: a general description of the merchandise
6.  not definite; vague: give me a general idea of when you will finish
7.  applicable or true in most cases; usual
8.  (prenominal or immediately postpositive) having superior or extended authority or rank: general manager; consul general
9.  See honours Also: pass designating a degree awarded at some universities, studied at a lower academic standard than an honours degree
10.  med relating to or involving the entire body or many of its parts; systemic
11.  logic (of a statement) not specifying an individual subject but quantifying over a domain
12.  an officer of a rank senior to lieutenant general, esp one who commands a large military formation
13.  any person acting as a leader and applying strategy or tactics
14.  a general condition or principle: opposed to particular
15.  a title for the head of a religious order, congregation, etc
16.  med short for general anaesthetic
17.  archaic the people; public
18.  in general generally; mostly or usually
[C13: from Latin generālis of a particular kind, from genus kind]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300 (implied in generally), from L. generalis "relating to all, of a whole class" (contrasted with specialis), from genus (gen. generis) "stock, kind" (see genus). Noun sense of "commander of an army" is 1576 shortening of captain general, from M.Fr. capitaine général.
The title generalissimo (1621) is from It., superlative of generale, from a sense development similar to the Fr.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

Tom Thumb definition

A thumb-sized hero of children's stories from the sixteenth century on.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

in general

  1. Referring to a group of persons or a subject as a whole, as opposed to particular ones. For example, I am speaking about contracts in general, or Girls in general mature at a younger age than boys. [Late 1300s] For an antonym, see in particular.

  2. For the most part; commonly, usually. For example, In general the children behaved very well, or Our winters are quite mild in general. [Early 1700s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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