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

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 This story is common in many societies: the gifted wife’s career exceeds that of her unambitious husband, and marital discord follows. Sophie Pinkham, The New York Review of Books, "‘Something Resembling Normal Life’," 17 Nov. 2020 Grab-and-run robberies were common in Union Square before the pandemic, and high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Ferragamo were often the victims. Phil Matier, SFChronicle.com, "Thieves raid Yves Saint Laurent Union Square store — $54,000 in purses walk out the door," 15 Nov. 2020 Seizures are common according to the Maryland Department of Health’s Rabies Fact Sheet. Iris Katz, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Pet Wise: With rabies a deadly threat, keep distance from wildlife and keep vets vaccinated," 14 Nov. 2020 The disease, aspergillosis, is common in the environment, and while humans are susceptible, it cannot be transmitted by sick birds. Bill Monroe, oregonlive, "Bill Monroe: ‘Things look great’ for Oregon waterfowl hunting season so far," 14 Nov. 2020 Businesses and consumers have learned to adapt to the virus — or, in some cases, have chosen to ignore the risks — and states have generally resisted reimposing the strict lockdown policies that were common last spring. Ben Casselman, New York Times, "Economic Demands Test Biden Even Before Inauguration," 14 Nov. 2020 These stories are common across the aristocracy: The titles endure, but the grand fortunes have gone. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, "Earldoms for Girldom," 14 Nov. 2020 But unlike the 2-by-4 framing and fantastical characters that are common in miniature golf, Nichols' course is more grassroots, relying on the natural slope of the yard for the breaks and undulations beneath the turf. Tribune Media Services, al, "Alabama native’s private golf course modeled after Augusta at his Tennessee home," 14 Nov. 2020 That coveted piece was bought by the rapper Logic, and although purchases of that size aren’t common, the impetus for the buy seems to transcend the cost. Dina Gachman, Smithsonian Magazine, "During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Avid Collectors Find Joy in Their Prized Possessions," 13 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 The benefits of prevention must be re-invested in strengthening our public health commons. Robin Taylor Wilson, STAT, "A deficit of more than 250,000 public health workers is no way to fight Covid-19," 5 Apr. 2020

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

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Common.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/common. Accessed 28 Nov. 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

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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Comments on common

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