General officer

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Military rank
"General" and "Generals" redirect here. For other uses, see General (disambiguation).
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Comparative military ranks
Air forces,
Space forces
Navies Air forces
(Commonwealth system)
Commissioned officers
Field marshal or
General of the army or
General of the air force
Admiral of
the fleet
Marshal of
the air force
General or
colonel general or
army general
Admiral Air chief marshal
Lieutenant general Vice admiral Air marshal
Major general Rear admiral Air vice-marshal
Brigadier or
brigadier general
Commodore or
flotilla admiral
Air commodore
Colonel Captain Group captain
Lieutenant colonel Commander Wing commander
Major or
Squadron leader
Captain Lieutenant Flight lieutenant
Lieutenant or
first lieutenant
junior grade or
Flying officer
Second lieutenant Ensign or
Pilot officer
Officer cadet Officer cadet Flight cadet
Non-commissioned officers
Warrant officer or
sergeant major
Warrant officer or
chief petty officer
Warrant officer
Sergeant Petty officer Sergeant
Enlisted ranks
Corporal or
Leading seaman Corporal or Leading aircraftman
Private or
gunner or
trooper or
Seaman Aircraftman or
airman or
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The 4-star rank general George S. Patton in 1945, at the end of World War II

A general officer is an officer of high rank in the armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, or marines.[a]

In some usages the term "general officer" refers to a rank above colonel.[1]

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 French capitaine 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 or other insignia for senior ranks. It has a NATO rank scale code of OF-9[b] and is the highest rank currently in use in a number of armies, air forces, and marine organizations.[citation needed]