/jen"euhr euhl/, adj.
1. of or pertaining to all persons or things belonging to a group or category: a general meeting of the employees.
2. 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.
3. not limited to one class, field, product, service, etc.; miscellaneous: the general public; general science.
4. considering or dealing with overall characteristics, universal aspects, or important elements, esp. without considering all details or specific aspects: general instructions; a general description; a general resemblance one to another.
5. not specific or definite: I could give them only a general idea of what was going on.
6. (of anesthesia or an anesthetic) causing loss of consciousness and abolishing sensitivity to pain throughout the body.
7. having extended command or superior or chief rank: the secretary general of the United Nations; the attorney general.
8. Mil.
a. 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.
b. 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.
c. U.S. Marines. an officer holding the highest rank in the corps.
d. (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.
9. Eccles. the chief official of a religious order.
10. something that is general; generality.
11. Archaic. the general public.
12. in general,
a. with respect to the whole class referred to; as a whole: He likes people in general.
b. as a rule; usually: In general, the bus is here by 9 A.M.
[1250-1300; ME < L generalis, equiv. to gener- (s. of genus) GENUS + -alis -AL1]
Syn. 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 (esp. 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.
Ant. 1. special, limited. 5. definite, exact, precise.

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(as used in expressions)
general practice
General Mills Inc.
General Motors Corp.
Transport and General Workers' Union
Frankfurt General Newspaper

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▪ military rank
      title and rank of a senior army officer, usually one who commands units larger than a regiment or its equivalent or units consisting of more than one arm of the service. Frequently, however, a general is a staff officer who does not command troops but who plans their operations in the field. General, lieutenant general, and major general are the first, second, and third grades of general officers in many armies. The United States Army, Air Force, and Marines have a fourth general officer grade, brigadier general (brigadier in the British Army). The highest U.S. Army rank, five-star general of the army, was created in 1944 and was conferred upon Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, and George C. Marshall in that year and upon Omar N. Bradley in 1950. The four-star rank of general of the army of the United States was established for Ulysses S. Grant in 1866 and was bestowed later upon William T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan; the unique four-star rank of general of the armies of the United States, created in 1799 for George Washington but never held by him, was conferred upon John J. Pershing in 1919.

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Universalium. 2010.


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