common sense


: sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts
So far, I've had the common sense not to tweet anything ghastly.James Poniewozik
The poker players learns that sometimes both science and common sense are wrong. There is such a thing as absolute premonition of cards, a rock bottom surety of what will happen next.David Mamet
With tsunamis, it may seem only common sense to Earth scientists to run away from (and not toward) the water when the sea is drawn rapidly down and away from the beach as a tsunami approaches. But that response is counterintuitive for most people.Thomas C. Pierson
commonsense adjective
commonsensible adjective
commonsensical adjective
commonsensically adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for common sense

sense, common sense, judgment, wisdom mean ability to reach intelligent conclusions.

sense implies a reliable ability to judge and decide with soundness, prudence, and intelligence.

a choice showing good sense

common sense suggests an average degree of such ability without sophistication or special knowledge.

common sense tells me it's wrong

judgment implies sense tempered and refined by experience, training, and maturity.

they relied on her judgment for guidance

wisdom implies sense and judgment far above average.

a leader of rare wisdom

Example Sentences

You really should go to see a doctor if your leg hurts that much. It's just common sense! Obey the laws and use common sense when operating your boat. She's very smart but she doesn't have a lot of common sense.
Recent Examples on the Web Gallagher said the debt-limit debate could allow House Republicans to organize a united front in negotiations with the Senate around three to five common sense proposals for fiscal policy. Sarah Elbeshbishi, USA TODAY, 6 Jan. 2023 Others are working on the reasoning and common sense challenge in A.I., including leaders of the machine learning field. Steve Lohr, New York Times, 28 Aug. 2022 To further help relieve those stressful situations and save time, here are some handy common sense hacks that every traveler should know about. Jordan Rozario, Condé Nast Traveler, 29 July 2022 It’s common sense, and the CICO diet is all about this basic principle. Lisa Mulcahy, Good Housekeeping, 13 Dec. 2022 It’s all well and good to ask people to use their own judgment and common sense when using this technology. Time, 5 Dec. 2022 This whole structure of perfect competition in labor markets as part of economic dogma or economic common sense. How To Save A Country, The New Republic, 1 Dec. 2022 Instead, Lanning cast caution and common sense aside. Ken Goe For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 26 Nov. 2022 Experts caution concertgoers that no matter what the safety measures, vigilance and common sense are required. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, 4 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of common sense was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near common sense

Cite this Entry

“Common sense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition

common sense

: ordinary good sense and judgment

More from Merriam-Webster on common sense

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?