common

adjective
com·​mon | \ ˈkä-mən How to pronounce common (audio) \

Definition of common

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to a community at large : public work for the common good
b : known to the community common nuisances
2a : belonging to or shared by two or more individuals or things or by all members of a group a common friend buried in a common grave common interests
b : belonging equally to two or more mathematical entities triangles with a common base
c : having two or more branches common carotid artery
3a : occurring or appearing frequently : familiar a common sight
b : of the best known or most frequently seen kind used especially of plants and animals the common housefly
c : vernacular sense 2 common names
4a : widespread, general common knowledge
b : characterized by a lack of privilege or special status common people a common laborer
c : just satisfying accustomed criteria : elementary common decency
5a : falling below ordinary standards : second-rate Oh hard is the bed they have made him, / And common the blanket and cheap …— A. E. Housman
b : lacking refinement : coarse said, in his common vulgar way, the city would have to lump it— J. K. Jerome
6 : denoting nominal relations by a single linguistic form that in a more highly inflected language might be denoted by two or more different forms common gender common case
7 : of, relating to, or being common stock

common

noun

Definition of common (Entry 2 of 2)

1 commons plural : the common people
2 commons plural in form but singular in construction : a dining hall Students usually have their meals at the commons.
3 commons or Commons plural in form but singular or plural in construction
a : the political group or estate comprising the commoners
b : the parliamentary representatives of the commoners
4 : the legal right of taking a profit in another's land in common with the owner or others
5 : a piece of land subject to common use: such as
a : undivided land used especially for pasture
b : a public open area in a municipality A food and jazz festival will be held at the town common.
6a : a religious service suitable for any of various festivals
in common
: shared together has a lot in common with his neighbors

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Other Words from common

Adjective

commonly adverb
commonness \ ˈkä-​mən-​nəs How to pronounce common (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for common

Adjective

common, ordinary, plain, familiar, popular, vulgar mean generally met with and not in any way special, strange, or unusual. common implies usual everyday quality or frequency of occurrence a common error lacked common honesty and may additionally suggest inferiority or coarseness. common manners ordinary stresses conformance in quality or kind with the regular order of things. an ordinary pleasant summer day a very ordinary sort of man plain is likely to suggest homely simplicity. plain hard-working people familiar stresses the fact of being generally known and easily recognized. a familiar melody popular applies to what is accepted by or prevalent among people in general sometimes in contrast to upper classes or special groups. a writer of popular romances vulgar, otherwise similar to popular, is likely to carry derogatory connotations (as of inferiority or coarseness). souvenirs designed to appeal to the vulgar taste

Examples of common in a Sentence

Adjective They have a common ancestor. The people on the island have a sense of common identity. It is common practice for one town's fire department to help another town when there is a big fire. Electric windows are a common feature in new cars. “Smith” is a common name. I think some of the most common flowers are also some of the prettiest. cures for the common cold Noun The campus has several dining commons.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The inner steel stampings—most of the floorpan, nose architecture, door structures and windshield surround—are common. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Is a Small-Pickup Version of the Tucson," 15 Apr. 2021 Fawns are born between April and September, and twins are common. AZCentral.com, "Trail cameras reveal more than 100 wildlife species along Arizona's southern borderlands," 15 Apr. 2021 Touting benefits as specifically as Mitchell’s, though, is not common. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Restaurant industry’s critical challenge? Hiring workers," 15 Apr. 2021 Prison terms of 14 to 20 years were common for female drug traffickers prosecuted in the city, some of the harshest sentences in 18 jurisdictions studied in the report. Gabrielle Smith, CNN, "Asia's prisons are filling up with women. Many are victims of the war on drugs," 14 Apr. 2021 Inability to urinate after surgery is common, especially in men. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, "Dear Doctor: Don’t wait to call urologist for complication from hip replacement surgery," 14 Apr. 2021 On top of that, uses for popcorn outside of as a snack are common in other countries. Washington Post, "I made Molly Yeh’s popcorn salad, and it’s easier to swallow than all the Internet vitriol," 14 Apr. 2021 During the Gold Rush, armed robberies of Placerville area miners were common. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, "Placerville's city logo has long featured a noose. Not for much longer," 14 Apr. 2021 In clinical trials, side effects from the J&J COVID-19 vaccine were common within seven days of getting vaccinated but were mostly mild to moderate. Stephanie Innes, The Arizona Republic, "Did you get a Johnson & Johnson vaccine? Here's what you need to know," 14 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun These short stories share a common through line of death and darkness, and they’re written from the supposition that day-to-day life isn’t mundane, but aggressively (and hilariously) cruel. Brian Boone, Vulture, "The Best Comedy Books of 2021 (So Far)," 7 Apr. 2021 Overuse of national parks is often cited as an example of the tragedy of the commons, an economic theory that describes how people sometimes use natural resources to their advantage without considering the good of society as a whole. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 24 Mar. 2020 Our world and our societies expect certain things-- free passageway in the commons, free trade, etcetera, etcetera. CBS News, "Transcript: Philip Breedlove, former NATO supreme allied commander, on "Intelligence Matters"," 18 Mar. 2020 Those measures include: Deployed additional hand-sanitizing stations at all food and beverage locations, Armstrong Student Center, dining commons, Starbucks, The Marcum hotel, all markets, Brick & Ivy, 1809 and the Campus Services Center. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Miami University-funded travel to China canceled after coronavirus scare, officials said," 29 Jan. 2020 Their approach isn't uniform but has one theme in common: caution. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Sunday, May 10," 10 May 2020 But more notable was that those who tested positive had much in common: The vast majority, 90%, could not work from home. Catherine Ho, SFChronicle.com, "Coronavirus testing in SF’s Mission district reveals spike among workers," 4 May 2020 But a spokesman for Trump Jr. defended the tweet, insisting that there is little in common between a father promoting his son’s book and a son being paid large sums of money by foreign companies because of his last name. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump Jr. says JFK wouldn’t fit in modern Democratic Party - The Boston Globe," 6 Nov. 2019 To a casual observer, there might seem to be little in common between mixed martial arts and acting for film and television. Chuck Barney, The Mercury News, "San Jose actress Tiffany Chu shines in ‘Ms. Purple’," 18 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'common.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of common

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for common

Adjective and Noun

Middle English commun, from Anglo-French, from Latin communis — more at mean

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Time Traveler for common

Time Traveler

The first known use of common was in the 13th century

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Statistics for common

Last Updated

18 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Common.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/common. Accessed 22 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for common

common

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of common

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: belonging to or shared by two or more people or groups
: done by many people
: occurring or appearing frequently : not rare

common

noun

English Language Learners Definition of common (Entry 2 of 2)

: a public area or park usually in the center of a town or city
US : a place where meals are served at a school, college, etc.

common

adjective
com·​mon | \ ˈkä-mən How to pronounce common (audio) \

Kids Definition of common

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : affecting, belonging to, needed by, or used by everybody for the common good a common room
2 : shared by two or more individuals or by the members of a family or group a common ancestor
3 : general entry 1 sense 1 common knowledge
4 : occurring, appearing, or used frequently a common sight a common name
5 : not above the average in rank or status a common soldier
6 : not privileged or elite “… the common folks … live and die unnoticed.”— L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz
7 : expected from polite and decent people common courtesy
in common
: shared together We have a lot in common.

common

noun

Kids Definition of common (Entry 2 of 2)

: land (as a park) owned and used by a community

Choose the Right Synonym for common

Adjective

common, ordinary, and familiar mean occurring often. common is used for something that is of the everyday sort and frequently occurs. Fishing boats are a common sight around here. ordinary is used when something is of the usual standard. I had an ordinary day. familiar is used of something that is well-known and easily recognized. That song is familiar.

common

adjective
com·​mon | \ ˈkäm-ən How to pronounce common (audio) \

Medical Definition of common

: formed of or dividing into two or more branches the common facial vein common iliac vessels

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common

adjective
com·​mon

Legal Definition of common

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to a community at large : public common defense
b : known to the community a common thief
2 : belonging to or shared by two or more persons or things or by all members of a group when the insured and the beneficiary perish in a common disaster common areas of the building
3 : of or relating to common stock common shares

common

noun

Legal Definition of common (Entry 2 of 2)

1 plural capitalized : house of commons
2 : the legal right of taking a profit in another's land in common with the owner or others the common of estovers the common of pasture
3 : a piece of land subject to common use: as
a : land jointly owned and used especially for pasture
b : a public open area in a municipality
4 : a condition of shared ownership : a condition in which a right is shared with an interest held by another person held the estate in common — see also tenancy in common at tenancy — compare severalty sense 1
5 : common stock at stock

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