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 16th century, as a shortening of captain general, which rank was taken from Middle Frenchcapitaine général.
The adjective general had been affixed to officer designations since the late medieval period to indicate relative superiority or an extended jurisdiction.
Today, the title of "General" is known in some countries as a four-star rank. However different countries use different systems of stars for senior ranks. It has a NATO code of OF-9 and is the highest rank currently in use in a number of armies.
General officer ranks
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 field officers or field-grade officers, and below them are company-grade officers.
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