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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Styling Tip: An easy way to match your sneakers with your dress is to make sure that both have one color in common, whether that’s green laces to match the green print or cream flowers to match cream sneaker soles. Rachel Bogo, Seventeen, 9 May 2022 What do the highest office in Gotham City and the White House have in common? Adam Rathe, Town & Country, 9 May 2022 But after the group was ousted, face coverings became less common in urban parts of the country. Washington Post, 7 May 2022 In common with other research, the study finds that employees’ preference is for three days in the office and two days working from home. Roger Trapp, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 This is much more common with pet owners who do not spay or neuter all of their pets and have accidental litters that can quickly become out of control; a significant reminder of the importance of fixing your pets. The Arizona Republic, 29 Apr. 2022 But throughout the 2010s, as the social web grew into the world’s primary means of sharing information and as content moderation became infinitely more complicated, the word became more common, and much more muddled. Gabriel Nicholas, The Atlantic, 28 Apr. 2022 Still, gun-carrying became twice as common among girls by the end of the study. NBC News, 27 Apr. 2022 In wealthy households, separate bedrooms were popular until love marriages became more and more common, when sleeping together had benefits beyond procreating. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 27 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The war in Vietnam had increasingly divided Lexington—thousands of residents had turned out in 1969 to rally on the common for a moratorium in the fighting. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, 1 May 2022 In 2020, the display was scaled down significantly — with just 1,000 flags lining the common. BostonGlobe.com, 24 May 2021 For all their differences, every ACAAN has one feature in common: At some point, the magician touches the cards. New York Times, 23 May 2021 Even politicians who have little in common seemed to unite in their misgivings about the league. Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2021 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, 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, 24 Mar. 2020 Our world and our societies expect certain things-- free passageway in the commons, free trade, etcetera, etcetera. CBS News, 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, 29 Jan. 2020 See More

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.

First Known Use of common

Adjective

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5

History and Etymology for common

Adjective and Noun

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

Learn More About common

Time Traveler for common

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near common

Commodus

common

commonable

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Statistics for common

Last Updated

12 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Common.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/common. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for common

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

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

More from Merriam-Webster on common

Nglish: Translation of common for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of common for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about common

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