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 fact, the house was once half of a larger home, divided by bulldozing a central section in the aftermath of the Great Depression, a move that was common in Palm Beach at the time. Nancy Hass, ELLE Decor, "A Legendary 1920s Palm Beach House is a Showcase for a Striking Art Collection," 17 Apr. 2019 According to the Cleveland Clinic, burping is the more common way to expel gas from the body. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Does Lying Down After Eating Really Cause Gas?," 28 Mar. 2019 Most Americans favor common-sense gun reform; polls have shown that 97 percent of Americans support universal background checks, for example. Allie Holloway, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sarah Chadwick, Laura Dern, & Diane Kruger Fight for Gun Violence Prevention," 20 Feb. 2019 Again, these sentiments are being brought to you from the inner circle of a gilt-penthouse-dwelling president who purports to be champion of the common man. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "With Ill-Conceived Government Shutdown Commentary, Wilbur Ross and Lara Trump Prove Just How Out of Touch They Are," 24 Jan. 2019 So a common way to look for a quark-gluon plasma is to look for evidence of flow without viscosity. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Quark-gluon plasma reveals viscosity-free properties," 19 Dec. 2018 The most common ways to divide up landslides are by material, and by mechanism. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Why fire-scorched California is now readying for mudslides," 30 Nov. 2018 This is the most common way to safari—you and your party are packed onto a large, open-air jeep and drive around the national park, stopping to observe animals. Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, "Your Ultimate African Safari Guide," 12 Nov. 2018 This is pretty common; often, screenplays go from studio to studio, producer to producer, and actor to actor for awhile before someone decides to make things happen. Kara Nesvig, Teen Vogue, "Zac Efron Almost Played Noah Centineo’s Character in “The Perfect Date”," 18 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 There are many reasons for the slow erosion of this commons. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "No One Picks Up the Phone Anymore," 31 May 2018 Climate change is a classic tragedy of the commons: every country acting in its own self-interest contributes to depleting a joint resource, making the world worse for everyone. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "The US would suffer some of the biggest costs of climate change," 30 Sep. 2018 But communism is the only thing which says all things should be brought into the hands of commons to benefit all people. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Meet Ash Sarkar, the Communist Who Called Piers Morgan an "Idiot"," 15 July 2018 The biggest thing Rhodes and Mercury had in common was perhaps their flair, hers visible in her electric wigs and heavy makeup, his in his gender-fluid costumes. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Ahead of the Release of Bohemian Rhapsody, Zandra Rhodes Models the Wedding Top Freddie Mercury Fell in Love With," 30 Oct. 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.

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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

10 May 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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