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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.
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!
as a (general) rule
Typically; most of the time. As a general rule, I won't sit in the window seat on an airplane. I get too anxious watching the ground below disappear! My mother always makes extra food for family dinners, as a rule.
See also: rule
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.
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.
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.
on principlealso as a matter of principle
according to a moral rule or personal belief He opposed the death penalty on principle.
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]
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.
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]
According to or because of principle.