general


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

caviar to the general

Something of an exceptionally high quality or intelligence not befitting or appreciated by those who consume, see, or partake in it. "General" here refers to the general population, not a military general. I wrote several novels earlier in my career that were very well received by academics, but they were caviar to the general and never achieved popular success.
See also: general

armchair general

One who speaks authoritatively on topics one actually knows little to nothing about. My uncle is such an armchair general about the classes I'm taking—the fact that he never went to college doesn't stop him from weighing in! Stop being an armchair general and let me fix my car, since I actually know what I'm doing here!
See also: general

in general

referring to the entire class being discussed; speaking of the entire range of possibilities; in most situations or circumstances. I like vegetables in general, but not beets. In general, I prefer a hotel room on a lower floor, but will take a higher room if it's special.
See also: general

make a clean sweep

Fig. to do something completely or thoroughly, with no exceptions. The boss decided to change the direction of the company, so he made a clean sweep and fired all the top management. They made a clean sweep through the neighborhood, repairing all the sidewalks.
See also: clean, make, sweep

in general

1. in most cases In general, women live longer than men. Related vocabulary: at large
2. as a whole He wrote about drama, art, literature, and the cultural scene in general.
See also: general

on principle

also as a matter of principle
according to a moral rule or personal belief He opposed the death penalty on principle.
See also: on, principle

in general

1. Referring to a group of persons or a subject as a whole, as opposed to particular ones. For example, I am speaking about contracts in general, or Girls in general mature at a younger age than boys. [Late 1300s] For an antonym, see in particular.
2. For the most part; commonly, usually. For example, In general the children behaved very well, or Our winters are quite mild in general. [Early 1700s]
See also: general

make a clean sweep

1. Remove or eliminate unwanted persons or things, as in The new owners made a clean sweep of the place, intending to replace all the equipment. This phrase replaced the much older (16th-century) general sweep. [Mid-1800s]
2. Win overwhelmingly, as in Our candidate made a clean sweep of all the districts. This usage is most often found with reference to success in a sports competition or election.
See also: clean, make, sweep

on principle

1. On moral or ethical grounds. As James Russell Lowell wrote about Alexander Pope in 1871, "There was a time when I could not read Pope, but disliked him on principle." [First half of 1800s]
2. According to a fixed rule or practice. For example, The police were locking up the demonstrators on principle. [First half of 1800s]
3. on general principle. For no special reason, in general, as in Dean won't touch broccoli on general principle. [First half of 1800s]
See also: on, principle

in general

Generally.
See also: general

on principle

According to or because of principle.
See also: on, principle
References in classic literature ?
The rais was about to reply, but the general could not at that moment listen to him, as he had to hasten to receive the viceroy, who was now coming on board the galley, and with him certain of his attendants and some of the people.
You have had a good chase, senor general," said the viceroy.
But we may form very mistaken ideas on this subject, if we do not call to mind in our calculations, that the extent of revenue drawn from foreign commerce must vary with the variations, both in the extent and the kind of imports; and that these variations do not correspond with the progress of population, which must be the general measure of the public wants.
During all this time, the general, on whom they thought to have relied as on a brother, manifested evidently signs of discontent and repugnance.
This brave French general ordered his drums to strike up, and immediately marched to encounter Wolfe.
Interminably he discoursed on finance and Russian politics, and though, at times, the General made feints to contradict him, he did so humbly, and as though wishing not wholly to lose sight of his own dignity.
This joke satisfied some of those who had resisted Monk's first deduction drawn from the neighborhood of Lambert's army; the number of the dissentients diminished greatly; the guard took their posts, the patrols began, and the general continued his frugal repast beneath his open tent.
As they were surveying the last, the general, after slightly naming a few of the distinguished characters by whom they had at times been honoured, turned with a smiling countenance to Catherine, and ventured to hope that henceforward some of their earliest tenants might be "our friends from Fullerton.
And I give you my word, general, that though I know nothing whatever of manners and customs of society, and how people live and all that, yet I felt quite sure that this visit of mine would end exactly as it has ended now.
Yet General Blug was a trifle uneasy when he arrived and saw how angry the Nome King was.
They were divided into four companies, and Tip noticed that all were dressed in costumes similar to that worn by General Jinjur.
Even our great secret, General," Thomson continued, dropping his voice a little, "even that might come to his ears.
And it is equally impossible for me to form the abstract idea of motion distinct from the body moving, and which is neither swift nor slow, curvilinear nor rectilinear; and the like may be said of all other abstract general ideas whatsoever.
Pitt, and Rawdon himself had given her many lessons), and by the side of the gallant General Tufto.
Mrs General was the daughter of a clerical dignitary in a cathedral town, where she had led the fashion until she was as near forty- five as a single lady can be.