Hypertext Webster Gateway: "general"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

General \Gen"er*al\, a. [F. g['e]n['e]ral, fr. L. generalis. See
1. Relating to a genus or kind; pertaining to a whole class
or order; as, a general law of animal or vegetable

2. Comprehending many species or individuals; not special or
particular; including all particulars; as, a general
inference or conclusion.

3. Not restrained or limited to a precise import; not
specific; vague; indefinite; lax in signification; as, a
loose and general expression.

4. Common to many, or the greatest number; widely spread;
prevalent; extensive, though not universal; as, a general
opinion; a general custom.

This general applause and cheerful shout Argue your
wisdom and your love to Richard. --Shak.

5. Having a relation to all; common to the whole; as, Adam,
our general sire. --Milton.

6. As a whole; in gross; for the most part.

His general behavior vain, ridiculous. --Shak.

7. Usual; common, on most occasions; as, his general habit or

Note: The word general, annexed to a name of office, usually
denotes chief or superior; as, attorney-general;
adjutant general; commissary general; quartermaster
general; vicar-general, etc.

{General agent} (Law), an agent whom a principal employs to
transact all his business of a particular kind, or to act
in his affairs generally.

{General assembly}. See the Note under {Assembly}.

{General average}, {General Court}. See under {Average},

{General court-martial} (Mil.), the highest military and
naval judicial tribunal.

{General dealer} (Com.), a shopkeeper who deals in all
articles in common use.

{General demurrer} (Law), a demurrer which objects to a
pleading in general terms, as insufficient, without
specifying the defects. --Abbott.

{General epistle}, a canonical epistle.

{General guides} (Mil.), two sergeants (called the right, and
the left, general guide) posted opposite the right and
left flanks of an infantry battalion, to preserve accuracy
in marching. --Farrow.

{General hospitals} (Mil.), hospitals established to receive
sick and wounded sent from the field hospitals. --Farrow.

{General issue} (Law), an issue made by a general plea, which
traverses the whole declaration or indictment at once,
without offering any special matter to evade it.
--Bouvier. --Burrill.

{General lien} (Law), a right to detain a chattel, etc.,
until payment is made of any balance due on a general

{General officer} (Mil.), any officer having a rank above
that of colonel.

{General orders} (Mil.), orders from headquarters published
to the whole command.

{General practitioner}, in the United States, one who
practices medicine in all its branches without confining
himself to any specialty; in England, one who practices
both as physician and as surgeon.

{General ship}, a ship not chartered or let to particular

{General term} (Logic), a term which is the sign of a general
conception or notion.

{General verdict} (Law), the ordinary comprehensive verdict
in civil actions, ``for the plaintiff'' or ``for the
defendant''. --Burrill.

{General warrant} (Law), a warrant, now illegal, to apprehend
suspected persons, without naming individuals.

Syn: Syn. {General}, {Common}, {Universal}.

Usage: Common denotes primarily that in which many share; and
hence, that which is often met with. General is
stronger, denoting that which pertains to a majority
of the individuals which compose a genus, or whole.
Universal, that which pertains to all without
exception. To be able to read and write is so common
an attainment in the United States, that we may
pronounce it general, though by no means universal.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

General \Gen"er*al\, n. [F. g['e]n['e]ral. See {General}., a.]
1. The whole; the total; that which comprehends or relates to
all, or the chief part; -- opposed to particular.

In particulars our knowledge begins, and so spreads
itself by degrees to generals. --Locke.

2. (Mil.) One of the chief military officers of a government
or country; the commander of an army, of a body of men not
less than a brigade. In European armies, the highest
military rank next below field marshal.

Note: In the United States the office of General of the Army
has been created by temporary laws, and has been held
only by Generals U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, and P. H.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj 1: applying to all or most members of a category or group; "the
general public"; "general assistance"; "a general
rule"; "in general terms"; "comprehensible to the
general reader" [ant: {specific}]
2: not specialized or limited to one class of things; "general
studies"; "general knowledge"
3: of national scope; "a general election"
4: prevailing among and common to the general public; "the
general discontent"
5: (medicine) affecting the entire body; "a general
anesthetic"; "general symptoms" [ant: {local}]
6: somewhat indefinite; "bearing a general resemblance to the
original"; "a general description of the merchandise"
7: of worldwide scope or applicability; "an issue of
cosmopolitan import"; "the shrewdest political and
ecumenical comment of our time"- Christopher Morley;
"universal experience" [syn: {cosmopolitan}, {ecumenical},
{oecumenical}, {universal}, {worldwide}]
n 1: a general officer of the highest rank [syn: {full general}]
2: a fact about the whole (as opposed to particular); "he
discussed the general but neglected the particular" [ant:
{particular}, {particular}]
v : command as a general; "We are generaled by an incompetent!"

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