\ \ [13] General is one of a vast range of English words which go back ultimately to the prehistoric Indo-European base *gen-, *gon-, *gn-, denoting ‘produce’. Its Germanic offshoots include kin, kind, and probably king, but for sheer numbers it is the Latin descendants genusrace, type’, gēnsrace, people’, gignerebeget’, and nāscībe born’ (source of nation, nature, etc) that have been the providers. From genus come gender [14] and its French-derived counterpart genre [19], generate [16], generation [13], generic [17], generous, and genus [16] itself. Gēns produced genteel, gentile, gentle, and gentry, while gignere was the source of genital [14], genitive [14], gingerly [16] (originally ‘daintily’, as if befitting someone of ‘noble birth’), indigenous, and ingenuous. A separate Latin strand is represented by genius and genie, and its derivative genial, while Greek descendants of Indo-European *gen-, *gon- are responsible for gene [20], genealogy [13], genesis [OE], genetic [19], genocide [20] (apparently coined by the Polish-born American jurist Raphael Lemkin in 1944), and gonorrhoea [16] (literally ‘flow of semen’).
\ \ As for general itself, it comes via Old French general from Latin generālisof the genus or type (as a whole)’, particularly as contrasted with speciālisof the species’ (source of English special). The application of the noun general to ‘senior military officer’ originated in the 16th century as an abbreviation of the phrase captain general (where the general was an adjective), a translation of French capitaine générale.

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • General- — General …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • General(in) — General(in) …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • General — General, Plural Generale oder Generäle (beide Formen sind korrekt), bezeichnet beim Militär einerseits den Sammelbegriff für die höchste Dienstgradgruppe, die Generalität, andererseits in den meisten Staaten den im Frieden höchsten Dienstgrad bei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • General — es un rango militar. Se encuentra en la cima de la jerarquía castrense, sobre los oficiales superiores (comandante, teniente coronel, coronel), los oficiales (alférez, teniente, capitán; que son en la Armada alférez de fragata, alférez de navío y …   Wikipedia Español

  • général — général, ale (jé né ral, ra l ) adj. 1°   Commun à un genre, à la plupart. Les faits généraux. Des aperçus généraux sur l histoire. •   La puissance de la nature est si ample et si vaste, ces principes sont si simples et si généraux...., DESC.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • general — (Del lat. generālis). 1. adj. Común a todos los individuos que constituyen un todo, o a muchos objetos, aunque sean de naturaleza diferente. 2. Común, frecuente, usual. 3. p. us. Que posee vasta instrucción. Eduardo es un hombre muy general. 4. m …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • General — Gen er*al, a. [F. g[ e]n[ e]ral, fr. L. generalis. See {Genus}.] 1. Relating to a genus or kind; pertaining to a whole class or order; as, a general law of animal or vegetable economy. [1913 Webster] 2. Comprehending many species or individuals;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Général — is the French word for General. In France, Army generals are named after the type of unit they command. In ascending order there are two ranks : * . * .Officers of the rank of Général de Division can receive different positions and styles ( rang… …   Wikipedia

  • general — gen·er·al / jen rəl, je nə / adj 1: involving, applicable to, or affecting the whole 2: involving, relating to, or applicable to every member of a class, kind, or group 3: not confined by specialization or limitation 4: relating to, determined by …   Law dictionary

  • general — adjetivo 1. Que es común o pertenece al conjunto de personas o cosas: El gobierno ha decretado amnistía general. Por las tardes voy a clases de cultura general. anestesia* general. capítulo* general. huelga* general. medicina* general. 2.… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • general — General, [gener]ale. adj. m. Universel. Reglement general. maxime generale. un assaut general. Procession generale. Concile general. Estats generaux. approbation generale. consentement general. regle generale. On dit prov. Il n y a point de regle …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

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