common noun


: a noun that may occur with limiting modifiers (such as a or an, some, every, and my) and that designates any one of a class of beings or things

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The word perpetua became a common noun for house helpers of priests after Manzoni used it as the name of a house helper in his novel. The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2022 His proper name would become a common noun, a contemptible exclamation and novel profanity. Jack Hitt, Washington Post, 18 Oct. 2019 His landscapes are a litany of primary colors and common nouns: blue sky, green grass. Garth Risk Hallberg, New York Times, 29 Sep. 2017

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

Word History

First Known Use

1561, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of common noun was in 1561

Dictionary Entries Near common noun

Cite this Entry

“Common noun.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition

common noun

: a noun (as chair or fear) that names a class of persons or things or any individual of a class

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