WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
gen•er•al /ˈdʒɛnərəl/USA pronunciation   adj. 
    1. of, relating to, or affecting all persons or things belonging to a group, category, or system:called a general meeting of union members.
    1. of, relating to, or true of most persons or things[before a noun]the general mood of the people.
    1. not limited to type; miscellaneous[before a noun]the general public.
    1. considering or dealing with broad, universal, or important aspects:issued general guidelines.
    1. Medicineaffecting the entire body:general paralysis.
    1. having extended command or superior or chief rank: [before a noun]a general manager.[after a noun]the secretary general of the U.N.

n. [countable]
  1. Militaryan army, air force, or Marine Corps officer of high rank.
    in general: 
      • with respect to the entirety; as a whole;
        for the most part:He likes people in general.
      • as a rule;
        usually:In general, the bus is on time.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2015
gen•er•al  ( jenər əl), 
    1. of or pertaining to all persons or things belonging to a group or category:a general meeting of the employees.
    1. of, pertaining to, or true of such persons or things in the main, with possible exceptions; common to most;
      usual:the general mood of the people.
    1. not limited to one class, field, product, service, etc.;
      miscellaneous:the general public; general science.
    1. 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.
    1. not specific or definite:I could give them only a general idea of what was going on.
    1. Surgery(of anesthesia or an anesthetic) causing loss of consciousness and abolishing sensitivity to pain throughout the body.
    1. having extended command or superior or chief rank:the secretary general of the United Nations; the attorney general.

n.  [Mil.]
    • [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.]Marines. 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.
  1. Religion[Eccles.]the chief official of a religious order.
  1. something that is general;
  1. [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.
  • Latin generālis, equivalent. to gener- (stem of genus) genus + -ālis -al1
  • Middle English 1250–1300
gener•al•ness, n. 
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.
1 . special, limited. 5 . definite, exact, precise.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

general /ˈdʒɛnərəl; ˈdʒɛnrəl/ adj
  1. common; widespread
  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
  1. an officer of a rank senior to lieutenant general, esp one who commands a large military formation
  2. any person acting as a leader and applying strategy or tactics
  3. a general condition or principle: opposed to particular
  4. a title for the head of a religious order, congregation, etc
  5. archaic the people; public
  6. in generalgenerally; mostly or usually
Etymology: 13th Century: from Latin generālis of a particular kind, from genus kind

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