general

(redirected from Generals)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.

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: armchair, general

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

in general

1. Referring to an entire class or category of something, rather than a specific example. Cats in general are easier to take care of than dogs, but mine seems to be very high maintenance. I don't dislike romantic comedies in general, but I just haven't seen a lot of good ones.
2. Typically; for the most part; generally. In general, my employees work hard. There are just a few who give me headaches every once in a while.
See also: general

on principle

Guided by, due to, or according to a certain principle. On principle, I never socialize with my students outside of school. I've never read his work, but because of his political statements I dislike him on principle.
See also: on, principle

the common run of (something)

The standard, average, or typical type of something. The unorthodox politician is seen by many as a rebuke to the common run of bureaucrats, who spend more time debating and arguing than actually accomplishing anything meaningful. While the common run of stuff you find in a flea market is junk, every now and then you come across something really valuable.
See also: common, of, run

the general run (of something)

The standard, average, or typical type of something. The unorthodox politician is seen by many as a rebuke to the general run of bureaucrats, who spend more time debating and arguing than actually accomplishing anything meaningful. While the general run of stuff you find in a flea market is junk, every now and then you come across something really valuable.
See also: general, run

make a clean sweep

1. To initiate large-scale removal of unwanted people or objects, especially as a means of effecting or expediting change. In an effort to save the company, the board of directors is making a clean sweep of all upper management. The garage is such a mess. We need to make a clean sweep and throw all this old junk out!
2. To achieve victory easily and by a large margin, especially one in which the opposing side accumulated none or a very small fraction of the votes, points, etc., required to win. Used especially in politics. The senator made a clean sweep of the election, winning every county in her region. My team made a clean sweep at the national mathematics competition.
See also: clean, make, sweep

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. 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

make a clean sweep

COMMON
1. If someone makes a clean sweep of something, they win something very easily, or win a series of things. China have made a clean sweep of all nine titles in the event, with three more gold medals today. It was nice to see a British film make a clean sweep at the Oscars. Note: A clean sweep is used in many other structures with a similar meaning. The Italians look well placed to repeat their clean sweep of 1990.
2. If someone who has just taken up a position of authority in an organization makes a clean sweep, they make a lot of very big changes, for example getting rid of employees, in order to make the organization more efficient. When Don arrived he said he was going to make a clean sweep, but I didn't think he would go quite this far. Note: A clean sweep is also used in other structures with a similar meaning. There were rumours that he planned a clean sweep of long-time employees. True to expectations, he fired the managers, one by one. They're talking about a clean sweep of the entire cabinet. Compare with a new broom.
See also: clean, make, sweep

caviar to the general

a good thing that is not appreciated by the ignorant.
This phrase comes from Shakespeare 's Hamlet, where Hamlet commends a play with the words: ‘the play, I remember, pleased not the million; 'twas caviar to the general’.
See also: general

make a clean sweep

1 remove all unwanted people or things ready to start afresh. 2 win all of a group of similar or related sporting competitions, events, or matches.
See also: clean, make, sweep

make a clean ˈsweep (of something)

(informal)
1 remove unwanted things or people: The Prime Minister is expected to make a clean sweep of his advisers who don’t support the new policy.
2 win all the prizes, etc. that are available: Kenyan athletes made a clean sweep (of the medals) in yesterday’s competition.
See also: clean, make, sweep

the common/general ˈrun (of something)

the average or usual type (of something): This programme is better than the general run of television comedies.
See also: common, general, run

in ˈgeneral

in most cases; usually: The money is due to come on the first of every month; in general it arrives punctually, but at holiday times it’s sometimes late. OPPOSITE: in particular
See also: general

on ˈprinciple

because of your beliefs or ideas about what is right or how people should behave: I quite like meat, but I don’t eat it on principle.
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 ?
Please have a look at it"- and Kutuzov with an ironical smile about the corners of his mouth read to the Austrian general the following passage, in German, from the Archduke Ferdinand's letter:
But you know the wise maxim your excellency, advising one to expect the worst," said the Austrian general, evidently wishing to have done with jests and to come to business.
This brave French general ordered his drums to strike up, and immediately marched to encounter Wolfe.
General Wolfe was at the head of his soldiers, and, while encouraging them onward, received a mortal wound.
The execution of this trust occupied Mrs General about seven years, in the course of which time she made the tour of Europe, and saw most of that extensive miscellany of objects which it is essential that all persons of polite cultivation should see with other people's eyes, and never with their own.
Mr Dorrit's bankers, as bankers of the county- widower, instantly said, 'Mrs General.
Then it will please me to reply, monsieur, that I do not recognize any one here, that I know no one here but the general, and that it is to him alone I will reply.
He saluted the General respectfully and glanced across the room towards where Thomson was at work.
During all this time, the general, on whom they thought to have relied as on a brother, manifested evidently signs of discontent and repugnance.
And here it is to be noted that I do not deny absolutely there are general ideas, but only that there are any ABSTRACT general ideas; for, in the passages we have quoted wherein there is mention of general ideas, it is always supposed that they are formed by abstraction, after the manner set forth in sections 8 and 9.
In the first place," said the General, "we cannot march across the deadly desert to the Land of Oz.
Something was certainly to be concealed; her fancy, though it had trespassed lately once or twice, could not mislead her here; and what that something was, a short sentence of Miss Tilney's, as they followed the general at some distance downstairs, seemed to point out: "I was going to take you into what was my mother's room -- the room in which she died -- " were all her words; but few as they were, they conveyed pages of intelligence to Catherine.
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.
The prince's expression was so good-natured at this moment, and so entirely free from even a suspicion of unpleasant feeling was the smile with which he looked at the general as he spoke, that the latter suddenly paused, and appeared to gaze at his guest from quite a new point of view, all in an instant.
Followed by her Army the General now rushed to the gateway, where she was confronted by the Royal Army of Oz -- which was the other name for the Soldier with the Green Whiskers.