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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
gen•er•al /ˈdʒɛnərəl/USA pronunciation
Militaryan army, air force, or Marine Corps officer of high rank.
- of, relating to, or affecting all persons or things belonging to a group, category, or system:called a general meeting of union members.
- [before a noun] of, relating to, or true of most persons or things:the general mood of the people.
- [before a noun] not limited to type; miscellaneous:the general public.
- considering or dealing with broad, universal, or important aspects:issued general guidelines.
- Medicineaffecting the entire body:general paralysis.
- having extended command or superior or chief rank: [before a noun]a general manager.[after a noun]the secretary general of the U.N.
- 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.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
general /ˈdʒɛnərəl; ˈdʒɛnrəl/ adj
- common; widespread
- of, including, applying to, or participated in by all or most of the members of a group, category, or community
- relating to various branches of an activity, profession, etc; not specialized: general office work
- including various or miscellaneous items: general knowledge, a general store
- not specific as to detail; overall: a general description of the merchandise
- not definite; vague: give me a general idea of when you will finish
- applicable or true in most cases; usual
- (prenominal or immediately postpositive) having superior or extended authority or rank: general manager, consul general
Etymology: 13th Century: from Latin generālis of a particular kind, from genus kind
- an officer of a rank senior to lieutenant general, esp one who commands a large military formation
- any person acting as a leader and applying strategy or tactics
- a general condition or principle: opposed to particular
- a title for the head of a religious order, congregation, etc
- archaic the people; public
- in general ⇒ generally; mostly or usually