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The term "general" is used in two ways: as the generic title for all grades of general officer and as a specific rank. It originates in the
Today, the title of "General" is known in some countries as a
The various grades of general officer are at the top of the military rank structure. Lower-ranking officers in land-centric military forces are typically known as
There are two common systems of general ranks used worldwide. In addition, there is a third system, the Arab system of ranks, which is used throughout the
Variations of one form, the old European system, were once used throughout Europe. It is used in the
The other is derived from the
|General or |
The system used either a brigadier general or a colonel general rank (i.e. exclude one of the italicised ranks).
The rank of
In some nations (particularly in the
As a lieutenant outranks a sergeant major; confusion often arises because a lieutenant is outranked by a major. Originally the serjeant major was, exclusively, the commander of the infantry, junior only to the captain general and lieutenant general. The distinction of serjeant major general only applied after serjeant majors were introduced as a rank of field officer. Serjeant was eventually dropped from both rank titles, creating the modern rank titles. Serjeant major (later spelled sergeant major) as a senior rank of non-commissioned officer was a later creation.
The armies of Arab countries use traditional Arabic titles. These were formalized in their current system to replace the Turkish system that was formerly in use in the Arab world and the
|farīq awwal||First general||equivalent to Commonwealth|
|فريق||farīq||General||equivalent to |
|لواء||liwāʾ||(more loosely "|
(not to be confused with aqīd, the
equivalent rank to a Commonwealth colonel)
etymologically, translates as "
Other nomenclatures for general officers include the titles and ranks:
In addition to militarily educated generals, there are also generals in medicine and engineering. The rank of the most senior chaplain, (chaplain general), is also usually considered to be a general officer rank.