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
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for commonwealth

Synonyms

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of commonwealth in a Sentence

laws that will benefit all the citizens of the commonwealth

Recent Examples on the Web

Uganda Broadcasting Corporation Uganda Broadcasting Corporation The camera brought the judgment of the Ugandan commonwealth to bear in specific times and in specific places. Richard Vokes, Quartz Africa, "A recently discovered trove of photos shows life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s troubled reign," 30 June 2019 Upon conviction of a Class 1 Misdemeanor in the commonwealth, a person may be subject to jail time of no more than 12 months and a fine not to exceed $2,500. Cody Boteler, baltimoresun.com, "Arrest warrant issued for Baltimore County farmer whose calf was being sheltered in Virginia," 28 June 2019 The camera brought the judgment of the Ugandan commonwealth to bear in specific times and in specific places. Richard Vokes, The Conversation, "Thousands of recently discovered photographs document life in Uganda during Idi Amin’s reign," 25 June 2019 The three men have maintained lower public profiles in the months since, but appeared together last week to call for a special session of the Virginia General Assembly next month to consider legislation to curb gun rights in the commonwealth. Ed O'keefe, CBS News, "Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax calls for criminal investigation into sexual assault allegations against him," 13 June 2019 The revelations prompted the commonwealth’s attorney for Virginia Beach to request a special prosecutor. Ben Finley, The Seattle Times, "Probe opened into congressional candidate’s ballot petition," 7 Aug. 2018 As President and Vice President of The Queens Commonwealth Trust, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are committed to supporting the children and communities of the 53 commonwealth countries around the world. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Oops—"Sussex Royal" Had to Delete and Repost Their Latest Instagram Post," 8 Apr. 2019 The global initiative has preserved 8.4 million hectares from 53 commonwealth nations. Sara Rodrigues, House Beautiful, "Buckingham Palace Is In Bloom: How The Royals Are Celebrating Spring," 21 Mar. 2019 In her new role, the duchess will highlight the organization's partnerships across the commonwealth, working especially with women and girls, according to the Trust's website. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Jokes About Her Baby Kicking During an International Women's Day Panel," 8 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of commonwealth

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about commonwealth

Statistics for commonwealth

Last Updated

3 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for commonwealth

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on commonwealth

What made you want to look up commonwealth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a small bunch of flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!