- general[general 词源字典]
- general:  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 genus ‘race, type’, gēns ‘race, people’, gignere ‘beget’, and nāscī ‘be born’ (source of nation, nature, etc) that have been the providers.
From genus come gender  and its French-derived counterpart genre , generate , generation , generic , generous, and genus  itself. Gēns produced genteel, gentile, gentle, and gentry, while gignere was the source of genital , genitive , gingerly  (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 , genealogy , genesis [OE], genetic , genocide  (apparently coined by the Polish-born American jurist Raphael Lemkin in 1944), and gonorrhoea  (literally ‘flow of semen’).
As for general itself, it comes via Old French general from Latin generālis ‘of the genus or type (as a whole)’, particularly as contrasted with speciālis ‘of 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.
=> gender, gene, genealogy, generate, generous, genesis, genetic, genie, genital, genius, genocide, gingerly, gonorrhoea, indigenous, ingenuous, jaunty, kin, kind[general etymology, general origin, 英语词源]
- general (adj.)
- c. 1200, "of wide application, generic, affecting or involving all" (as opposed to special or specific), from Old French general (12c.) and directly from Latin generalis "relating to all, of a whole class, generic" (contrasted with specialis), from genus (genitive generis) "stock, kind" (see genus).
What is common is of frequent occurrence.
Used in forming titles from late 14c. with the sense "having general authority or jurisdiction, chief." Phrase in general "without exception, in one body; as a rule, generally, not specifically" is from late 14c. General rule, one applying to an art or science as a whole, is from c. 1400. General store attested by 1810, American English, in reference to the range of goods sold; a general hospital (1737) is one not restricted to one class of persons or type of disease.
What is general admits of comparatively few exceptions: the general opinion (the opinion of the majority); the general welfare.
[J.H.A. Günther, "English Synonyms Explained & Illustrated," Groningen, Netherlands, 1904]
- general (n.)
- late 14c., "whole class of things or persons, a broad classification, a general truth," from general (adj.). Meaning "commander of an army" is 1570s, shortening of captain general, from Middle French capitaine général. The English adjective was affixed to civic officer designations by late 14c. to indicate superior rank and extended jurisdiction.