un·​com·​mon ˌən-ˈkä-mən How to pronounce uncommon (audio)
: not ordinarily encountered : unusual
an uncommon plant
: remarkable, exceptional
a soldier of uncommon courage
uncommonly adverb
uncommonness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for uncommon

infrequent, uncommon, scarce, rare, sporadic mean not common or abundant.

infrequent implies occurrence at wide intervals in space or time.

infrequent family visits

uncommon suggests a frequency below normal expectation.

smallpox is now uncommon in many countries

scarce implies falling short of a standard or required abundance.

jobs were scarce during the Depression

rare suggests extreme scarcity or infrequency and often implies consequent high value.

rare first editions

sporadic implies occurrence in scattered instances or isolated outbursts.

sporadic cases of influenza

Examples of uncommon in a Sentence

It is not uncommon for people to become depressed after they retire. an athlete with uncommon ability a soldier of uncommon courage She is an uncommon woman.
Recent Examples on the Web Yet, living wills, or advanced directives, which could be considered as taking control of the process to some extent, are generally uncommon or insufficiently detailed, leaving family members with an incredibly difficult choice. Tal Patalon, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2024 The Prisoner Wine Company based in St. Helena, Calif., is known for its white and red blends, with grapes, often uncommon, obtained from scores of vineyards. Florence Fabricant, New York Times, 5 Feb. 2024 Abbott endorsing incumbent challengers is uncommon but not unheard of. Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 5 Feb. 2024 As mentioned by Hunt, this isn’t entirely uncommon, as seen in similar data-scraping incidents on platforms like Facebook and Trello. Emma Roth, The Verge, 5 Feb. 2024 This large discrepancy in the life spans of animals within a single species is uncommon, yet scientists aren’t sure which traits help certain dog breeds outlive others. Jack Tamisiea, Scientific American, 2 Feb. 2024 This misperception, unfortunately, isn’t uncommon, especially in business. Stephanie Dillon, Rolling Stone, 31 Jan. 2024 The others have to do with late nesting species that are just getting cranked up, with one being rather uncommon to rare as a breeder in Mecklenburg County. Taylor Piephoff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 During hot weather, these dogs need to be able to cool themselves to survive the heat — death by heat stroke is not uncommon. Patty Khuly, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'uncommon.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of uncommon was circa 1576

Dictionary Entries Near uncommon

Cite this Entry

“Uncommon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uncommon. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


un·​com·​mon ˌən-ˈkäm-ən How to pronounce uncommon (audio)
: not ordinarily found or experienced : unusual
not uncommon to catch a cold
: extraordinary, remarkable, exceptional
has uncommon ability
uncommonly adverb
uncommonness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on uncommon

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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