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

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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

Lyme arthritis, the most common feature of the late-stage disease, leaves patients with swollen, painful joints. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "Possible clue to Lyme arthritis found in patients' inflamed joints," 18 June 2019 Indeed, this kind of thing is so common that it isn't considered national news—which is why most of us seldom hear about these incidents. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "People keep spotting Teslas with snoozing drivers on the freeway," 18 June 2019 Hurricanes and tropical storms are most common in August and September and tend to slack off during October. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Liberty County Hurricane Conference message is ‘Be prepared’," 18 June 2019 Psoriasis is also fairly common and affects up to 7.5 million people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Samantha Lauriello, Health.com, "Kim Kardashian Says Her New KKW Beauty Body Makeup Is Her ‘Secret’ to Covering Up Psoriasis," 17 June 2019 While water bottles and straws may be the usual suspects in the war against plastic, also increasingly common are Amazon deliveries that use plastic film in their packaging. Sarah Min, CBS News, "Plastic pollution worsens despite efforts to address the problem," 17 June 2019 Gangrene, an anaerobic infection, was common in war wounds, and Stewart helped developed toxoids for gangrene treatment and immunization that would later be used in World War II. Leila Mcneill, Smithsonian, "The Woman Who Revealed the Missing Link Between Viruses and Cancer," 17 June 2019 Guests have flocked to Oga’s Cantina (Disneyland’s first foray into offering alcohol to the general public) and Savi’s Workshop (build a $200 lightsaber), where two-hour lines have been common. Scott Craven, azcentral, "When will the Rise of the Resistance ride open at Disney's new Star Wars land?," 17 June 2019 Experts say this practice is common among colleges, which keep misconduct as confidential as possible to avoid legal risk, allowing employees to move between schools with their new employers left in the dark. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "UW finds star athlete’s sexual assault allegation credible, but athletic executive quietly moved on," 17 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All of these films have in common a love for the region, and a desire to represent the cultural diversity of the area, as inequality rises and homogeneity grows. Dan Kopf, Quartzy, "Data prove the truth of “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”," 10 June 2019 Imagine, for example, that your data stream frequently includes two numbers that have some digits in common: 12,345,678 and 12,999,999. Quanta Magazine, "Best-Ever Algorithm Found for Huge Streams of Data," 24 Oct. 2017 Developmental boost What do Lucas Nogueira, Jakob Poeltl, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright all have in common, aside from giving the Raptors a significant depth advantage over most opponents? Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Khem Birch posts double-double in 1st NBA game in Canada," 9 Apr. 2018 All across the commons, cafeteria, into the fine arts rooms and athletics area, a variety of activities are set up for students to partake in. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "K-Park seeks funding for Project Grad program," 2 Apr. 2018 But the commons is hard to monetize, especially in international affairs. F.h. Buckley, WSJ, "Make Free Riders Pay? Easier Said Than Done," 30 Aug. 2018 At South Park, the fourth and fifth grade classrooms, which use the library the most, will be moved closer to the learning commons while second and third graders will be further away, Faust said. Steve Sadin, chicagotribune.com, "New libraries at Caruso and Shepard designed with an eye toward collaboration, technology," 9 July 2018 The commons are at 175 Logan St. near the Downtown Courthouse Square. Emma Kate Fittes, Indianapolis Star, "After Noblesville school shooting, community groups unite through shows of support," 26 May 2018 These three all have one thing—or person—in common: Nolan Hotchkiss (Chris Mason), a conniving, chiseled sociopath whose family basically owns BHU. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "I Never Thought I’d Love the Pretty Little Liars Spin-off More Than the Original, but Here We Are," 20 Mar. 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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Statistics for common

Last Updated

21 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for common

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

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More Definitions for common

common

adjective

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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More from Merriam-Webster on common

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with common

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for common

Spanish Central: Translation of 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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