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 Frequent weekly connections about an employee’s most important work with a focus on seeing the employee for the best of themselves is common sense. Amy Leschke-kahle, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 However, the stigma and dehumanization of people who use drugs is far too entrenched to be swayed by common sense. Jonathan Jk Stoltman And Mishka Terplan, STAT, 17 Apr. 2023 Common purpose should lead to common projects, and common projects should lead us back to common sense. Richard Harris, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2023 The costs outweighed the benefits, so the regulation was abandoned — common sense. The Editors, National Review, 26 Feb. 2023 The new generation of chatbots generates text that mimics natural, humanlike interactions, even though the chatbot doesn’t have any self-awareness or common sense. Will Oremus, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2023 In the halls of perspective and common sense, this is complete nonsense. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Apr. 2023 Nothing compelled her but her conscience and her common sense. Allegra Goodman, The New Yorker, 20 Feb. 2023 All are essentially a matter of common sense. Viveka Neveln, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'common sense.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 7 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition

common sense

: ordinary good sense and judgment

More from Merriam-Webster on common sense

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