com·​mon·​weal ˈkä-mən-ˌwēl How to pronounce commonweal (audio)
archaic : commonwealth
: the general welfare

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The problem, of course, is a widespread disinclination to serve that good, whether it is fueled by selfishness and ignorance or the sense that one’s contributions to the commonweal have not felt adequately reciprocal. New York Times, 29 Oct. 2021 And water allocations could be reduced with generous buyouts that would amply compensate producers for returning their share of the lake water to the commonweal. Emma Marris, The Atlantic, 5 June 2021 Having sold the legislation as a necessary response to a public-health and economic crisis, its fans are now saying that its great contribution to the commonweal is bringing back the New Deal. The Editors, National Review, 17 Mar. 2021 This odious walled vertical suburb is a civic embarrassment, the embodiment of a runaway plutocracy that places its own interests over the commonweal — and common decency. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, 18 Dec. 2020 The usual response to people who abuse an honor system — or indeed, who fail to contribute to the commonweal by masking and social distancing — is to expose them to shame, typically by revealing their misconduct. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 24 Nov. 2020 But the Smithsonian’s contributions to the commonweal still stands out, not only for its breadth but for its permissiveness. Brian Barrett, Wired, 27 Feb. 2020 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of commonweal was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near commonweal

Cite this Entry

“Commonweal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


com·​mon·​weal ˈkäm-ən-ˌwēl How to pronounce commonweal (audio)
archaic : commonwealth
: the general good
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