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 Come November, statewide elections will test the increasingly blue tint of the commonwealth and whether voters are willing to continue following where Democrats are leading or are looking for an alternative path. Rick Klein, ABC News, "Centrists flex political muscle in critical week for Biden agenda: The Note," 23 Feb. 2021 The commonwealth is currently administering doses to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities but has not provided a timeline for when other groups could be vaccinated. 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 Amy Ashworth, the commonwealth’s attorney for Prince William County, ruled the actions of the officers were justified and reasonable. Washington Post, "Virginia officers’ fatal shooting of armed man was justified, prosecutor finds," 28 Dec. 2020 Yost filed an amicus brief saying the Pennsylvania Supreme Court changed the commonwealth’s elections law and ordered election officials to count absentee ballots, some with no postmarks or illegible postmarks received three days after election day. J.d. Davidson, Washington Examiner, "Ohio AG joins Republicans in election fight at US Supreme Court," 12 Nov. 2020 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

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

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

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Statistics for commonwealth

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Commonwealth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/commonwealth. Accessed 7 Mar. 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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