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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Tributes to the armed forces and to veterans, especially in smaller military parades, are common on July 4th. The Economist, "Donald Trump rebrands Independence Day," 3 July 2019 And long treks are said to be more common among another type of the arctic fox, the scientists say. Hannah Knowles, Washington Post, "An arctic fox walked 2,700 miles from Norway to Canada. Yes, that’s possible.," 2 July 2019 Fabric shops surrounded the store and the sight of workers hurriedly pushing racks of clothing up and down the streets was common. Matthew Haag, New York Times, "Should Macy’s Build a Giant Tower in One of N.Y.’s Most Congested Neighborhoods?," 1 July 2019 As such, infections are most common in July and August, the CDC says. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Fecal Parasite Is Causing More Disease Outbreaks, and Swimming Pools May Be to Blame, CDC Says," 1 July 2019 According to Apple, this is intended for focused-use apps that have so far been more common on mobile but not on desktop. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Catalyst deep dive: The future of Mac software according to Apple and devs," 1 July 2019 Mandatory arbitration, which bars employees from suing in court, is common in financial services and law firms. Harriet Torry, WSJ, "Interns’ Job Prospects Constrained by Noncompete Agreements," 29 June 2019 Artillery, bird’s nest and slime fungus are common. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Weather prime for fungus problems," 28 June 2019 But over the years, the Church of Kuñotambo became dangerously compromised by earthquakes that are common in this mountainous region of Peru, leading to the building’s closure in 2005. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Pioneering Conservation Project Saves Earthquake-Damaged Peruvian Church," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Although their inadvertent crossover with Swift was a coincidence, the two acts have one thing in common: Having total control over their music is a vital concern. Emily Yahr, Washington Post, "Meet Delta Rae, the indie band unexpectedly launched to fame by the Taylor Swift-Scooter Braun feud," 3 July 2019 Her research proved that the tragedy of the commons is not inevitable. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "About The Tragedy Of The Digital Commons: RaceAhead," 12 June 2019 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

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about common

Statistics for common

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for common

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on common

What made you want to look up common? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!