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 animalsthe 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 commonness (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

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.

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 practice is even more common in some of Kenya’s neighboring countries. Erika W. Smith, refinery29.com, "How One Kenyan Woman Is Fighting Female Genital Mutilation," 12 Feb. 2020 In the more common type 2 diabetes, the body produces insulin but does not use it properly. Grace Lieberman, azcentral, "Health provider offers cooking classes to address high rates of diabetes among Native Americans," 8 Feb. 2020 Nixon, Clinton, Trump:Why is the political 'fire extinguisher' of impeachment more common? William Cummings, USA TODAY, "Clinton praises Romney's 'extraordinary' impeachment stand, says others 'voted to betray' Constitution," 6 Feb. 2020 AP Photo/Chris Pizzello Quick: What do Citizen Kane, Vertigo, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Taxi Driver have in common? Adam Epstein, Quartz, "The Oscars still matter. But the winners do not," 6 Feb. 2020 To be clear, the diseases share little in common genetically, according to Linda Saif, a professor in food animal health at Ohio State University, and coronavirus is the only one of these currently known to spread between and infect humans. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "Coronavirus, bird flu, swine fever: Why China is still so susceptible to disease outbreaks," 6 Feb. 2020 Two-thirds of those employees surveyed said talking politics at work is more common today than five years ago. Olivera Perkins, cleveland, "Talk politics at work with caution: Tips to avoid pitfalls," 3 Feb. 2020 Globally, intra-continental travel was a far more common practice than inter-continental travel. Youyou Zhou, Quartz Africa, "The continental African passport promised to roll out in 2020 can only improve mobility in Africa," 2 Feb. 2020 Unlike ballot box voting that’s more common across the country, the Iowa caucuses won’t involve voting booths or a whole lot of secrecy. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Iowa Caucuses Beginner's Guide: When They Happen, How They Work, and What to Expect," 31 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Lowell’s eventual return to Hardwick, and his almost shamed gratitude to her for permitting him to come back to a life led in common, put a post hoc frame around the dramatic vicissitudes and fantasies of the flight to Blackwood. Helen Vendler, Harper's magazine, "Dearest Lizzie," 20 Jan. 2020 In the second, the 1909 section would be gutted as the rest of Jefferson is demolished save for the theater, student center, commons, kitchen and main gym. oregonlive, "This is what a new Jefferson High School could look like," 19 Jan. 2020 The Times story and the documentary have a lot in common: culture clash, displacement of unions, mutual suspicion. Fortune, "The fate of U.S. manufacturing is a women’s issue, too," 16 Jan. 2020 On the ground floor were computer and exercise rooms, a commons for community gatherings and offices for management and the People Concern, whose counselors would help residents adjust to living indoors. Los Angeles Times, "Broadway Place’s homeless residents were promised homes. Had the city forgotten them?," 15 Aug. 2019 Some of them think the world should formally establish the Arctic Ocean as a commons. Mark Fischetti, Scientific American, "Nations Claim Large Overlapping Sections of Arctic Seafloor," 23 July 2019 Madrigal Dinner Taylor High School’s 36th annual Madrigal Dinner will be Dec. 6-7 in the main commons of James Taylor High School, 20700 Kingsland Blvd. in Katy. Houston Chronicle, "Katy-area caledar of events," 29 Sep. 2019 To many, the incident epitomized a dynamic common in the academy, where male scholars have long taken credit for the work of female associates. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, "How War Made the Cigarette," 25 Sep. 2019 Lone Star College students at the University Park campus had to momentarily evacuate one of the buildings after smoke was reported in the commons area. Paul Wedding, Houston Chronicle, "After evacuation, Lone Star College-University Park building cleared for re-entry," 12 Nov. 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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Common.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/common. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for common

common

adjective
How to pronounce common (audio)

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

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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