Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective common contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of common are familiar, ordinary, plain, popular, and vulgar. While all these words mean "generally met with and not in any way special, strange, or unusual," common implies usual everyday quality or frequency of occurrence and may additionally suggest inferiority or coarseness.

a common error
lacked common honesty
common manners

When would familiar be a good substitute for common?

The words familiar and common are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, familiar stresses the fact of being generally known and easily recognized.

a familiar melody

In what contexts can ordinary take the place of common?

The meanings of ordinary and common largely overlap; however, ordinary stresses conformance in quality or kind with the regular order of things.

an ordinary pleasant summer day
a very ordinary sort of man

When is plain a more appropriate choice than common?

While in some cases nearly identical to common, plain is likely to suggest homely simplicity.

plain hard-working people

When might popular be a better fit than common?

Although the words popular and common have much in common, popular applies to what is accepted by or prevalent among people in general sometimes in contrast to upper classes or special groups.

a writer of popular romances

How do vulgar and popular relate to one another, in the sense of common?

Vulgar, otherwise similar to popular, is likely to carry derogatory connotations (as of inferiority or coarseness).

souvenirs designed to appeal to the vulgar taste

Thesaurus Entries Near common

Cite this Entry

“Common.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/common. Accessed 23 May. 2024.

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