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

Examples of common sense in a Sentence

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 Red light therapy is generally considered a safe and effective method for all skin types, but there are a few common sense caveats. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 24 Nov. 2023 The same antibodies that have long immunized us against darkroom tricks—our skepticism, common sense, and reliance on social verification—are protecting us from being duped by deepfakes. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Yorker, 13 Nov. 2023 The report includes common sense recommendations to improve the landscape for their women employees. Barbara Bry, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Nov. 2023 In 50 years, some told us, a historian might look back at all the squabbling and hand-wringing and broken governmental promises and see a mind-boggling lack of common sense. Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor, 27 Oct. 2023 While there’s no empirical evidence that a turkey adorned the first Thanksgiving table, common sense suggests that at least one gobbler could have been gobbled up on that auspicious occasion. Stephen C. George, Discover Magazine, 14 Nov. 2023 Every team uses analytics to some extent since common sense is to utilize as much as information as humanly possible. Larry Fleisher, Forbes, 13 Nov. 2023 Today, the United States Senate took an emphatic step toward common sense and individual liberty. Samantha-Jo Roth, Washington Examiner, 25 Oct. 2023 Sign up Every law of war, every superhero ethos, every shred of common sense and basic decency tells us that the good guys are the ones who don’t kill children. Chris Cannon, The New Republic, 18 Oct. 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 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition

common sense

: ordinary good sense and judgment

More from Merriam-Webster on common sense

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