commonwealth

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

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
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 Puerto Rico is a commonwealth and unincorporated territory of the United States. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Georgia employees fired or demoted after they mishandled the driver's license request of a Puerto Rico man, agency says," 18 Dec. 2019 But Greenwald argues that some should be reassessed, pointing to the case of a small bird, called the Tinean monarch, native to the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth. Natasha Daly, National Geographic, "Meet the American animals that bounced back in 2019," 17 Dec. 2019 In medieval Europe, envoys were seen as representatives of a Christian commonwealth, tasked with encouraging peace. David Banks, The Conversation, "Why doesn’t the US just send Anne Sacoolas back to the UK? Here’s what’s at stake in this dispute over diplomatic immunity," 1 Nov. 2019 In 1982, 1,111 dairy farms dotted the hills of the commonwealth. Meghan Ottolini, The Mercury News, "Massachusetts family farms fight to stay afloat," 22 Sep. 2019 Last week, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the commonwealth country. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Meghan Markle's Friend Slams British Press for Claiming Royal Christmas Card Is Photoshopped," 26 Dec. 2019 Here are just a few examples from 2019: In Boston, a new manufacturing center for next-generation medicines is being formed by Harvard, MIT, various biotech and pharma companies, hospitals, and the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Amy Duross, STAT, "To make advanced therapies, we need to industrialize personalization," 23 Dec. 2019 The data showed that the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, which includes Richmond and surrounding localities, had the highest recycling rate in the commonwealth at 59%. USA TODAY, "‘Embracing tree,’ buffalo retirement, castaway cows: News from around our 50 states," 14 Nov. 2019 In all, Queen Elizabeth has visited the commonwealth five times. Emma Austin, The Courier-Journal, "'The Crown' shows Queen Elizabeth visiting Kentucky. Here are the real trips it's based on," 27 Nov. 2019

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

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Commonwealth.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commonwealth. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for commonwealth

commonwealth

noun
How to pronounce commonwealth (audio)

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
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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