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In UML modeling, a generalization relationship is a relationship that implements the concept of object orientation called inheritance. The generalization relationship occurs between two entities or objects, such that one entity is the parent, and the other one is the child. The child inherits the functionality of its parent and can access as well as update it.

Generalization relationship is utilized in class, component, deployment, and use case diagrams to specify that the child inherits actions, characteristics, and relationships from its parent.

To meet UML's standard, it necessitates usage of the same types of model elements in the generalization relationship, i.e., generalization relation can either be used between actors or between use cases, but not between an actor and a use case.

The generalization relationship is incorporated to record attributes, operations, and relationships in a parent model element so that it can be inherited in one or more child model elements.

The parent model element can have as many children, and also, the child can have one or more parents. But most commonly, it can be seen that there is one parent model element and multiple child model elements. The generalization relationship does not consist of names. The generalization relationship is represented by a solid line with a hollow arrowhead pointing towards the parent model element from the child model element.

UML Generalization

Stereotypes and their constraints

<<implementation>> - It is used to show that the child is implemented by its parent, such that the child object inherits the structure and behavior of its parent object without disobeying the rules. The implementation of stereotype is mostly used in single inheritance.

In the generalization stereotype, there are two types of constraints that are complete and incomplete to check if all the child objects are involved or not in the relationship.


As we know, the bank account can be of two types; Savings Account and Credit Card Account. Both the savings and the credit card account inherits the generalized properties from the Bank Account, which is Account Number, Account Balance, etc.

UML Generalization
Next TopicUML Realization

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