general

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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.
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

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 ?
I am looking for your commander to tell him, from General Eble, to make for Zembin.
But the greatest misfortune that befell the English during the whole war was the repulse of General Abercrombie, with his army, from the ramparts of Ticonderoga in 1758.
From each side of it spread away the tiers of seats for the general public.
On hearing this the general sprang upon the gangway crying, "Now then, my sons, don't let her give us the slip
The United States, in their united or collective capacity, are the OBJECT to which all general provisions in the Constitution must necessarily be construed to refer.
A note was in consequence addressed to General de Quesnel, begging him to be present at the meeting next day, the 5th.
But you will soon be in receipt of some," retorted the General, reddening a little as he dived into his writing desk and applied himself to a memorandum book.
From the dining-room, of which, though already seen, and always to be seen at five o'clock, the general could not forgo the pleasure of pacing out the length, for the more certain information of Miss Morland, as to what she neither doubted nor cared for, they proceeded by quick communication to the kitchen -- the ancient kitchen of the convent, rich in the massy walls and smoke of former days, and in the stoves and hot closets of the present.
I have not much time for making acquaintances, as a rule," said the general, "but as, of course, you have your object in coming, I--"
When the eager but misrepeated words had reached their destination in a cry of: "The general to the third company," the missing officer appeared from behind his company and, though he was a middle-aged man and not in the habit of running, trotted awkwardly stumbling on his toes toward the general.
Kaliko hastily withdrew, and the Nome King stamped up and down until the General of his armies appeared.
I command the Army of Revolt in this war," answered the General, with unnecessary sharpness.
A tall, grey-haired man in the uniform of a general looked up and nodded with an air of intimacy as soon as the door had been closed.
Thus, so far as logic is concerned, we are entirely free to adopt any theory as to general ideas which empirical observation may recommend.
Pitt, and Rawdon himself had given her many lessons), and by the side of the gallant General Tufto.