commonwealth

noun
com·​mon·​wealth | \ ˈkä-mən-ˌwelth How to pronounce commonwealth (audio) also -ˌweltth \

Definition of commonwealth

1 : 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
2 : a state of the U.S. used officially of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia
3 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
4 often capitalized : an association of self-governing autonomous states more or less loosely associated in a common allegiance (as to the British crown)
5 capitalized
a : the English state from the death of Charles I in 1649 to the Restoration in 1660
6 capitalized : a federal union of constituent states used officially of Australia
7 archaic : commonweal sense 2

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Synonyms for commonwealth

Synonyms

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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 The new law marks a sharp policy shift for the commonwealth, where Democrats won control of the state House and Senate a year ago for the first time in decades. Washington Post, "Undocumented immigrants will soon be able to drive legally in Virginia — if they can access the DMV," 28 Dec. 2020 Puerto Rican politics has for years been mainly controlled by two competing parties, focused largely on whether the island should become the 51st state or remain a commonwealth. Frances Robles, New York Times, "Thousands of Uncounted Votes Found a Week After Election in Puerto Rico," 11 Nov. 2020 Senate Bill 1406, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, would legalize the recreational sale and use of marijuana for adults age 21 or older in the commonwealth. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Bill to legalize marijuana clears first hurdle in Virginia Senate," 25 Jan. 2021 Those groups will be eligible throughout the commonwealth by the end of the month, state officials have said. Evan Macdonald, cleveland, "Ohio’s coronavirus vaccine plan puts the burden on older residents: How does it compare to other state plans?," 14 Jan. 2021 The suit, which was filed late Monday night by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, lists the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the states of Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin as defendants. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Texas files lawsuit with Supreme Court against battleground states Biden won," 8 Dec. 2020 In the wake of surging COVID-19 cases, Beshear, a Democrat, issued an executive order Nov. 18 requiring all private and public schools in the commonwealth to not hold any in-person classes from Nov. 23 until at least Jan. 4. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Appeals court allows Beshear to halt in-person classes at Kentucky's religious schools," 29 Nov. 2020 Walker said the vaccine has been sent to 18 hospitals throughout the commonwealth that are part of broader health care systems. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Vaccine rollout moving smoothly in Virginia," 16 Dec. 2020 President Donald Trump and his allies have continued to lobby Pennsylvania officials on its failed election cases in the commonwealth, going so far as to try and stop the state’s certification of the election results. Matthew Brown, USA TODAY, "Politics updates: Trump reached out to PA House speaker over election," 9 Dec. 2020

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 7

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Time Traveler for commonwealth

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for commonwealth

Last Updated

17 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commonwealth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commonwealth. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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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
: 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 How to pronounce commonwealth (audio) \

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 How to pronounce commonwealth (audio) \

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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