common denominator


Definition of common denominator 

1 : a common multiple of the denominators of a number of fractions

2 : a common trait or theme

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Examples of common denominator in a Sentence

Drugs seem to be the common denominator in these crimes.

Recent Examples on the Web

The lack of in-patient treatment beds for people with mental illness is seen as a common denominator among several national problems: homelessness, police shootings, and acts of mass violence by people with serious mental problems. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, The Seattle Times, "More leeway for states to expand inpatient mental health," 13 Nov. 2018 That’s the common denominator, (is) the consistency at the line of scrimmage. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "The Final Word: Bob Condotta breaks down what went wrong in the Seahawks’ close loss to the Rams," 13 Nov. 2018 The common denominator in that ~crazy~ sitch is bae. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "21 Red Flags To Watch Out For In Your Relationship," 22 Aug. 2018 Pander to the lowest-common denominator, stoke fear and champion blame. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "How former Fox News exec Bill Shine is the perfect Trump hire," 6 July 2018 The lack of creative energy amongst a second rate playing staff has been the common denominator for the club's failures all season long., "The Swans Come Home to Roost: Why Corporate Greed Means Swansea Deserve Relegation," 9 May 2018 An impressive common denominator in both Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez’s first career starts was each young pitcher’s ability to work their way out of stressful innings while limiting damage. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Composure a common attribute in both Miami Marlins’ pitching prospect’s strong debuts," 1 July 2018 Digging deeper, Monzo discovered a common denominator — 70% of the affected customers had used Ticketmaster between December 2017 and April 2018. Jonathan Sperling, Fortune, "Ticketmaster Knew of Data Breach Months Before It Alerted Customers, Bank Says," 29 June 2018 What’s the common denominator in the comments from the parents? Michelle Singletary,, "No, an allowance doesn’t teach your children how to manage money," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'common denominator.' 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 denominator

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for common denominator

The first known use of common denominator was in 1594

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More Definitions for common denominator

common denominator


English Language Learners Definition of common denominator

mathematics : a number that can be divided by each of the denominators of a group of fractions

: something (such as a feature or quality) that is shared by all the members of a group of people or things

common denominator


Kids Definition of common denominator

: a common multiple of the denominators of a number of fractions

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Comments on common denominator

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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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