Generic refers to the members of a whole class of things — like “tissue,” a generic word for any soft, thin piece of paper that’s good for wiping runny noses.

A generic product, whether it’s a tire or donut or drug, is typical of all other products like it. There’s nothing distinctive or unique about it. A generic fan looks and acts just like dozens of other fans — it doesn’t spin backwards or send out sparks. Generic aspirin doesn’t have a trademark, like Bayer or St. Joseph: it’s just plain aspirin.

Definitions of generic
  1. adjective

    applicable to an entire class or group

    “is there a
    generic Asian mind?”


    applying to all or most members of a category or group
  2. adjective

    relating to or common to or descriptive of all members of a genus

    generic name”

  3. adjective

    (of drugs) not protected by trademark

    “`Acetaminophen’ is the
    generic form of the proprietary drug `Tylenol’”


    not protected by trademark or patent or copyright
  4. noun

    any product that can be sold without a brand name

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    generic drug

    when the patent protection for a brand-name drug expires generic versions of the drug can be offered for sale if the FDA agrees
    type of:

    merchandise, product, ware

    commodities offered for sale

  5. noun

    a wine that is a blend of several varieties of grapes with no one grape predominating; a wine that does not carry the name of any specific grape

    generic wine
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    varietal, varietal wine

    a wine made principally from one grape and carrying the name of that grape
    type of:

    vino, wine

    fermented juice (of grapes especially)

Word Family