Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Belonging equally to or shared equally by two or more; joint: common interests.
  • adj. Of or relating to the community as a whole; public: for the common good. See Usage Note at mutual.
  • adj. Widespread; prevalent.
  • adj. Occurring frequently or habitually; usual.
  • adj. Most widely known; ordinary: the common housefly.
  • adj. Having no special designation, status, or rank: a common sailor.
  • adj. Not distinguished by superior or noteworthy characteristics; average: the common spectator.
  • adj. Of no special quality; standard: common procedure.
  • adj. Of mediocre or inferior quality; second-rate: common cloth.
  • adj. Unrefined or coarse in manner; vulgar: behavior that branded him as common.
  • adj. Grammar Either masculine or feminine in gender.
  • adj. Grammar Representing one or all of the members of a class; not designating a unique entity.
  • n. The common people; commonalty.
  • n. The social class composed of commoners.
  • n. The parliamentary representatives of this class.
  • n. The House of Commons. Often used in the plural.
  • n. A tract of land, usually in a centrally located spot, belonging to or used by a community as a whole: a band concert on the village common.
  • n. The legal right of a person to use the lands or waters of another, as for fishing.
  • n. A building or hall for dining, typically at a university or college.
  • n. Common stock.
  • n. Ecclesiastical A service used for a particular class of festivals.
  • idiom in common Equally with or by all.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Mutual; shared by more than one.
  • adj. Occurring or happening regularly or frequently; usual.
  • adj. Found in large numbers or in a large quantity.
  • adj. Simple, ordinary or vulgar.
  • adj. In some languages, particularly Germanic languages, of the gender originating from the coalescence of the masculine and feminine categories of nouns.
  • adj. Of or pertaining to uncapitalized nouns in English, i.e., common nouns vs. proper nouns
  • adj. vernacular, referring to the name of a kind of plant or animal, i.e., common name vs. scientific name
  • n. Mutual good, shared by more than one.
  • n. A tract of land in common ownership; common land.
  • v. To communicate (something).
  • v. To converse, talk.
  • v. To have sex.
  • v. To participate.
  • v. To have a joint right with others in common ground.
  • v. To board together; to eat at a table in common.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Belonging or relating equally, or similarly, to more than one.
  • adj. Belonging to or shared by, affecting or serving, all the members of a class, considered together; general; public.
  • adj. Often met with; usual; frequent; customary.
  • adj. Not distinguished or exceptional; inconspicuous; ordinary; plebeian; -- often in a depreciatory sense.
  • adj. Profane; polluted.
  • adj. Given to habits of lewdness; prostitute.
  • n. The people; the community.
  • n. An inclosed or uninclosed tract of ground for pleasure, for pasturage, etc., the use of which belongs to the public; or to a number of persons.
  • n. 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.
  • intransitive v. To converse together; to discourse; to confer.
  • intransitive v. To participate.
  • intransitive v. To have a joint right with others in common ground.
  • intransitive v. To board together; to eat at a table in common.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to all—that is, to all the human race, or to all in a given country, region, or locality; being a general possession or right: of a public nature or character.
  • Pertaining equally to, or proceeding equally from, two or more; joint: as, life and sense are common to man and beast; it was done by common consent of the parties.
  • Of frequent or usual occurrence; not exceptional; usual; habitual.
  • Not distinguished from the majority of others; of persons, belonging to the general mass; not notable for rank, ability, etc.; of things, not of superior excellence; ordinary: as, a common soldier; the common people; common food or clothing.
  • Of the common people.
  • Trite; hackneyed; commonplace; low; inferior; vulgar; coarse.
  • At the disposal of all; prostitute.
  • Not sacred or sanctified; ceremonially unclean.
  • In grammar: Both masculine and feminine; optionally masculine or feminine: said of a word, in a language generally distinguishing masculine and feminine, which is capable of use as either.
  • Used indifferently to designate any individual of a class; appellative; not proper: as, a common noun: opposed to proper (which see).
  • In prosody, either long or short; of doubtful or variable quantity: as, a common vowel; a common syllable.
  • In anatomy: Not peculiar or particular; not specialized or differentiated: as, the common integument of the body.
  • Forming or formed by other more particular parts: as, the common carotid or common iliac artery, as distinguished from the internal and external arteries of the same name; the common trunk of a nerve, as distinguished from its branches; the common origin of the coracobrachialis muscle and of the short head of the biceps muscle—that is, the origin which they have in common.
  • In entomology, continuous on two united surfaces: said of lines and marks which pass in an uninterrupted manner from the anterior to the posterior wings when both are extended, or of
  • marks or processes on the two elytra which when closed appear as one.
  • In those parts of the southern United States which were formerly a province of France, small tracts of land, usually from one to three yards in width by forty in length and fenced in, which were cultivated by the inhabitants of villages.
  • More appropriately, the parts of the former system which do not rest for their authority on any subsisting express legislative act; the unwritten law. In this sense common law consists in those principles and rules which are gathered from the reports of adjudged cases, from the opinions of text-writers and commentators, and from popular usage and custom, in contradistinction to statute law.
  • More narrowly, that part of the system just defined which was recognized and administered by the king's justices, in contradistinction to the modifications introduced by the chancellors as rules of equity in restraint or enlargement of the customary and statutory law (see equity), and, in respect of procedure, in contradistinction to the code practice.
  • In music, duple and quadruple rhythm. The usual sign (A) for these rhythms is derived from the theory of medieval musicians that duple rhythm was imperfect, and so to be indicated by a half or broken circle (B). It is not the initial of the word “common,” since originally triple rhythm was regarded as the standard or perfect rhythm. The sign A now usually signifies quadruple rhythm, four beats to the measure, while C signifies duple rhythm, two beats to the measure. Also called common time.
  • a consideration or argument applicable to a variety of cases. See place.
  • Sound practical judgment; good sense; the practical sense of the greater part of mankind, especially as unaffected by logical subtleties or imagination.
  • Equally with another or with others; all equally; for equal use or participation in by two or more: as, tenants in common; to provide for children in common; to assign lands to two or more persons in common; we enjoy the bounties of Providence in common.
  • In public.
  • 4 and 6. Common, Ordinary, Vulgar, Mean. These words are on a descending scale. Common is opposed to rare, unusual, or refined; ordinary, to distinguished or superior; vulgar, to polite or refined; mean, to high or eminent.
  • n. [⟨ ME. comon, comun, comyn, etc., usually in pl. comons, etc., the common people, commons (people), commons (fare), = MHG. commū ne, comū ne, ⟨ OF. commune, French commune (⟩ mod. E. commune, n.) = Pr. comuna, comunia = It. comuna, ⟨ L. commune, that which is common, the community, in ML. a commune (mixed with ML. communia and communa, a common pasture, common right, a society, guild), prop. neut. of communis, common: see above.] One of the common people; collectively, the people at large; the public; the lower classes.
  • n. plural See commons.
  • n. A tract of ground the use of which is not appropriated to an individual, but belongs to the public or to a number; in law, an open ground, or that soil the use of which belongs equally to the inhabitants of a town or of a lordship, or to a certain number of proprietors.
  • n. In law, a right which one person may have to take a profit from the land or waters of another, as to pasture his cattle, to dig turf, to catch fish, to cut wood, or the like, in common with the owner of the land: called common of pasture, of turbary, of piscary, of estovers, etc.
  • To participate in common; enjoy or suffer in common.
  • To confer; discourse together; commune; speak.
  • To have a joint right with others in common ground.
  • To live together or in common; eat at a table in common. Also commonize.
  • To communicate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. commonly encountered
  • n. a piece of open land for recreational use in an urban area
  • adj. of or associated with the great masses of people
  • adj. common to or shared by two or more parties
  • adj. being or characteristic of or appropriate to everyday language
  • adj. belonging to or participated in by a community as a whole; public
  • adj. to be expected; standard
  • adj. of low or inferior quality or value
  • adj. having no special distinction or quality; widely known or commonly encountered; average or ordinary or usual
  • adj. lacking refinement or cultivation or taste

Etymologies

Middle English commune, from Old French commun, from Latin commūnis; see mei-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English comun, from Anglo-Norman comun, from Old French comun (rare in Gallo-Romance. 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")). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I have observed that common is more common than uncommon; the 'why' does not enter my consideration.

    October 20, 2008

  • Why do you say that? I typically just look for more than one listing, because most of the one listing words aren't really words.

    October 20, 2008

  • Wordies prefer common (10 listings) over uncommon (1 listing).

    October 20, 2008