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

In stark contrast to Great Britain, our season opens the possibility of taking upland birds to the table for a common person. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Well-heeled Brits have the ‘Glorious Twelfth,’ but Alaska bird hunters have it better," 14 Aug. 2019 The Middletown common council voted unanimously last week to send $5 million for open space preservation to referendum in November. Kathleen Mcwilliams, courant.com, "Middletown looks to preserve land with $5 million open space referendum," 13 Aug. 2019 Most of the ranches contained at least some of the wildlife once common in the area, and one-third had about equal numbers of wildlife and cattle. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "The best way to help cows and zebras? Make them live together," 13 Aug. 2019 That’s not exactly a common sentiment among bar owners. Andrew Simmons, SFChronicle.com, "Kid-friendly taprooms booming in the East Bay. Is that a good thing?," 13 Aug. 2019 Leave it to the Cougars to help the four JCPS programs to find a common enemy. Nate Bryan, The Courier-Journal, "A new district means a new role as the favorite for the Bullitt Central football team," 13 Aug. 2019 Such pre-trial diversion programs are common resolutions for first-time offenders. Marc Freeman, sun-sentinel.com, "Misdemeanor charges against state Rep. Emily Slosberg to be dropped," 13 Aug. 2019 Their presence playing outside was a common fixture of the neighborhood. NBC News, "Erie day care fire that killed firefighter's kids lacked thorough inspection, official says," 12 Aug. 2019 Her home will be one of three open for visitors, and the event, which kicks off Modernism Week, will feature a midcentury themed reception with drinks and snacks on the common green space. Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Know, "Denver’s hidden midcentury-modern neighborhoods aren’t so hidden anymore," 11 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But all have elements in common: fear, corruption and cartel involvement. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fear, bribes, gangs, coyotes: A Guatemalan’s trek to the US," 30 July 2019 In 2018, voters approved a $25.9 million referendum that includes an addition for sixth-graders at Brown Deer Middle School, expansion of the middle school's commons, kitchen and instructional areas, and safety and security upgrades. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brown Deer Superintendent Deb Kerr announced she will retire after the 2019-20 school year," 22 July 2019 Breakout spaces off the school's commons have also been framed in. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Improvements at Brown Deer Schools are nearing completion and should be done by late August," 17 July 2019 The most-common of these is Autopilot, which is standard in new Teslas and has features such as lane recognition and steering. Rex Crum, The Mercury News, "Got a Tesla? Elon Musk hints it could soon drive itself," 8 July 2019 However, one thing in common between the two computers’ software was their basic bifurcated structure. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "No, a “checklist error” did not almost derail the first moon landing," 5 July 2019 The evening was closed with the ringing of bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated. Kayla Bartsch, National Review, "‘Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations’ — A Brief History of the Fourth of July," 4 July 2019 There is so much in common between Kemba and Kyrie as players, save for one important distinction: only one of the two is the kind of person a team should feel comfortable investing in with a four-year max contract. Rob Mahoney, SI.com, "Kemba Walker Isn't Kyrie Irving, and Maybe That's a Good Thing for the Celtics," 30 June 2019 How little there is in common between a first wonderful encounter with the sea and trudging along the shore in the stifling midday heat to buy something from the souvenir kiosk! Aaron Lake Smith, Harper's magazine, "The Trials of Vasily Grossman," 24 June 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

16 Aug 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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