Thesaurus

common

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of common

1 often observed or encountered
  • horse ranches are a common sight in that part of the state

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4 belonging to the class of people of low social or economic rank
  • a man of wealth and privilege who mingled without pretense with the common folk

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5 held by or applicable to a majority of the people
  • a politician who works not for the special interests but for the common good

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6 used or done by a number of people as a group
  • used a common bathroom while at the campground

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Frequently Asked Questions About common

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

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Time Traveler for common

Time Traveler

The first known use of common was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Common.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/common. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on common

Dictionary: Definition of common

Medical Dictionary: Definition of common

Nglish: Translation of common for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of common for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about common

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