commonwealth

noun
com·mon·wealth | \ˈkä-mən-ˌwelth also -ˌweltth \

Definition of commonwealth 

1 archaic : commonweal sense 2

2 : a nation, state, or other political unit: such as

a : one founded on law and united by compact or tacit agreement of the people for the common good

b : one in which supreme authority is vested in the people

c : republic

3 capitalized

a : the English state from the death of Charles I in 1649 to the Restoration in 1660

b : protectorate sense 1b

4 : a state of the U.S. used officially of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia

5 capitalized : a federal union of constituent states used officially of Australia

6 often capitalized : an association of self-governing autonomous states more or less loosely associated in a common allegiance (as to the British crown)

7 often capitalized : a political unit having local autonomy but voluntarily united with the U.S. used officially of Puerto Rico and of the Northern Mariana Islands

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Synonyms for commonwealth

Synonyms

country, land, nation, sovereignty (also sovranty), state

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Examples of commonwealth in a Sentence

laws that will benefit all the citizens of the commonwealth

Recent Examples on the Web

Data from Pennsylvania’s Lyme Disease Task Force show there were 3,001 cases reported in 2016 in the southeastern part of the commonwealth, the last year complete data are available. Frank Kummer, Philly.com, "New Jersey's first 'tick blitz' census shows disease-carrying pest is spreading," 6 June 2018 Across the commonwealth, volunteers like Palmer labor to restore the state’s African-American cemeteries, shining a light on a part of Virginia’s history often overshadowed by the legacy of the Confederacy. Washington Post, "Virginians work to breathe life into black cemeteries," 7 May 2018 There are other competitive Democratic races across the commonwealth, including in the 1st and 5th Congressional Districts. Eliza Collins, USA TODAY, "Trump-friendly immigration hardliner could win Democratic primary in Pennsylvania on Tuesday," 14 May 2018 Her shirt featured the Puerto Rican flag, which was outlawed in the commonwealth before it was officially adopted in 1952. Morgan Greene, chicagotribune.com, "After viral video, a refresher course: 5 things to know about Puerto Rico," 10 July 2018 A few of our favorites: Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls (who hails from the commonwealth of Puerto Rico), and best friends–turned–social media supernovas Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid. Catherine Piercy, Vogue, "American Beauty! 33 Legendary Models Made in the USA," 4 July 2018 But what that will mean for the commonwealth moving forward is another question. Tom Loftus, The Courier-Journal, "Gov. Matt Bevin says he's open to hearing sports betting law proposals," 15 May 2018 Leticia Jover, a spokeswoman for commonwealth Housing Secretary Fernando Gil, declined to comment on AECOM’s allegations, citing the possibility that the case could lead to legal action. Bloomberg.com, "Rival Company Says Puerto Rico Deal to Rebuild Homes Was Unfairly Awarded," 12 Jan. 2018 The commonwealth is aiming to do something about that, announcing $2 million in grants toward developing and implementing educator residency programs at various in-state colleges. Oona Goodin-smith, Philly.com, "Families of Cosmo DiNardo murder victims speak out, Pa. to pay $2M to fight teacher shortage | Morning Newsletter," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'commonwealth.' 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 commonwealth

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Phrases Related to commonwealth

the Commonwealth

Statistics for commonwealth

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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The first known use of commonwealth was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for commonwealth

commonwealth

noun

English Language Learners Definition of commonwealth

: a group of countries or states that have political or economic connections with one another

the Commonwealth : a U.S. state

: a political unit that is like a U.S. state but that pays no federal taxes and has only a representative in Congress who does not vote

commonwealth

noun
com·mon·wealth | \ˈkä-mən-ˌwelth \

Kids Definition of commonwealth

1 : a political unit (as a nation or state)

2 : one of four states of the United States—Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, or Virginia

commonwealth

noun
com·mon·wealth | \ˈkä-mən-ˌwelth \

Legal Definition of commonwealth 

1 : a nation, state, or other political unit: as

a : one founded on law and united by compact or tacit agreement by the people for the common good

b : one in which supreme authority is vested in the people

c : republic

2 : a state of the U.S. used officially of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia

3 often capitalized : an association of self-governing autonomous states more or less loosely associated in a common allegiance (as to the British crown)

4 often capitalized : a political unit having local autonomy but voluntarily united with the U.S. used officially of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands

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