A national assembly can be used to refer to either the entire legislature of a country, or one of the houses of a bicameral legislature in a country. A national assembly can be either the upper or lower house of the legislature, depending upon the naming conventions of that country.
The same can be said for a general assembly. A general assembly can refer to the meeting of members of a trade union, church, association, or any other group, as well as a house of the legislature.
In general, which term is used to refer to one of the houses of a country’s legislature can be used to determine whether the country has a Francophone heritage or a Commonwealth heritage. The distinction exists because the first legislature to be known as a National Assembly was established during the French Revolution and given the name Assemblée Nationale. The name was used in France during the First Republic period, as well as the Consulate era, and since 1946 has served as the lower house of the French Parliament under the Fourth Republic. This naming convention has persisted through the Fifth Republic, which was established in 1958.
In 47 countries with a unicameral legislature, the body is known as a National Assembly. In 15 countries with a bicameral system, the National Assembly is the lower house, while it is the upper house in a sixteenth country. In an additional ten countries, the term National Assembly refers to both houses of the legislature.