• Common


    • RP enPR: kŏm'É™n, IPA: /ˈkÉ’mÉ™n/
    • GenAm enPR: kŏm'É™n, IPA: /ˈkÉ‘mÉ™n/
    • Rhymes: -É’mÉ™n
    • Hyphenation: com + mon


    From Middle English comun, from Anglo-Norman comun, from Old French comun (rare in the Gallo-Romance languages, but reinforced as a Carolingian calque of Frankish gemeini, gamaini "common" in Old French), from Latin commūnis ("common, public, general"), from Proto-Indo-European *ko-moin-i ("held in common"). Displaced native Middle English ȝemǣne, imene ("common, general, universal") (from Old English ġemǣne ("common, universal")), Middle English mǣne, mene ("mean, common") (also from Old English ġemǣne ("common, universal")), Middle English samen, somen ("in common, together") (from Old English samen ("together")).

    Full definition of common



    1. Mutual; shared by more than one.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 19, Nothing was too small to receive attention, if a supervising eye could suggest improvements likely to conduce to the common welfare. Mr. Gordon Burnage, for instance, personally visited dust-bins and back premises, accompanied by a sort of village bailiff, going his round like a commanding officer doing billets.
    2. The two competitors have the common aim of winning the championship.   Winning the championship is an aim common to the two competitors.
    3. Occurring or happening regularly or frequently; usual.
      • 2013, Katie L. Burke, In the News, Bats host many high-profile viruses that can infect humans, including severe acute respiratory syndrome and Ebola. A recent study explored the ecological variables that may contribute to bats’ propensity to harbor such zoonotic diseases by comparing them with another order of common reservoir hosts: rodents.
    4. It is common to find sharks off this coast.
    5. Found in large numbers or in a large quantity.
      • 2012-03, Lee A. Groat, Gemstones, Although there are dozens of different types of gems, among the best known and most important are  . (Common gem materials not addressed in this article include amber, amethyst, chalcedony, garnet, lazurite, malachite, opals, peridot, rhodonite, spinel, tourmaline, turquoise and zircon.)
    6. Sharks are common in these waters.
    7. Simple, ordinary or vulgar.
      • Washington Irvingthe honest, heart-felt enjoyment of common life
      • ShakespeareThis fact was infamous
        And ill beseeming any common man,
        Much more a knight, a captain and a leader.
      • A. Murphyabove the vulgar flight of common souls
    8. (grammar) In some languages, particularly Germanic languages, of the gender originating from the coalescence of the masculine and feminine categories of nouns.
    9. Of or pertaining to uncapitalized nouns in English, i.e., common nouns vs. proper nouns.
    10. Vernacular, referring to the name of a kind of plant or animal, i.e., common name vs. scientific name.
    11. (obsolete) Profane; polluted.
      • Bible, Acts x. 15What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
    12. (obsolete) Given to lewd habits; prostitute.
      • L'Estrangea dame who herself was common





    (plural commons)
    1. Mutual good, shared by more than one.
    2. A tract of land in common ownership; common land.
      • 1944, Miles Burton, The Three Corpse Trick Chapter 5, The hovel stood in the centre of what had once been a vegetable garden, but was now a patch of rank weeds. Surrounding this, almost like a zareba, was an irregular ring of gorse and brambles, an unclaimed vestige of the original common.
    3. The people; the community.
    4. (legal) The right of taking a profit in the land of another, in common either with the owner or with other persons; so called from the community of interest which arises between the claimant of the right and the owner of the soil, or between the claimants and other commoners entitled to the same right.


    1. (obsolete) To communicate (something).
      • 1526, William Tyndale, trans, Bible, Luke XXII:Then entred Satan into Judas, whose syr name was iscariot (which was of the nombre off the twelve) and he went his waye, and commened with the hye prestes and officers, how he wolde betraye hym vnto them.
    2. (obsolete) To converse, talk.
      • Spenser Faerie Queene, II.ix:So long as Guyon with her commoned,
        Vnto the ground she cast her modest eye ....
      • GraftonEmbassadors were sent upon both parts, and divers means of entreaty were commoned of.
    3. (obsolete) To have sex.
    4. (obsolete) To participate.
    5. (obsolete) To have a joint right with others in common ground.
    6. (obsolete) To board together; to eat at a table in common.
    © Wiktionary