Definition of generalissimo in US English:



  • The commander of a combined military force consisting of army, navy, and air force units.

    • ‘Much of this influence has to do with his prominence not only as an academic philosopher but as an empire-builder who has been called the generalissimo of French higher education.’
    • ‘The old generalissimo would not recognise his country in the 21st century: gone is the xenophobia and the heavy hand of a police state.’
    • ‘If the generalissimo had been capable of listening to advice the war might have been averted.’
    • ‘Prevailing relations between the Americans and Chinese officialdom, including the generalissimo, were strained when I arrived.’
    • ‘Hitler wanted to be the Feldherr, the generalissimo, exercising direct control of the armies himself, in much the same sense that Wellington commanded at Waterloo, albeit at a distance.’
    • ‘In October 1936, Franco was appointed generalissimo of Nationalist Spain and head of state.’
    • ‘In April 1918, Foch was appointed supreme generalissimo of the Allied forces on the Western Front - a position that gave him supreme command over all Allied forces on the Western Front.’
    • ‘During the hectic review of endless shots of the uniformed generalissimos looking on approvingly in the stadium, he spotted a famous face, an honored guest of the murderous junta.’
    • ‘But if they cannot persuade him to serve, someone will be found over the next few weeks and months, and you can bet that the generalissimo will launch a serious and organised campaign.’
    • ‘On 1 November of that same year he was elected head of state of Nationalist Spain and generalissimo of its armies, but General Franco's rebel regime needed three long years of civil war to gain control of the whole nation.’
    • ‘They might coax or bully, interrogate or probe, but rarely do we see them issuing orders or acting like a generalissimo.’
    • ‘‘I was led through double doors to meet generalissimos who jumped around like monkeys and talked like children’, he huffed.’


Early 17th century: Italian, ‘having greatest authority’, superlative of generale (see general).