from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The people of a nation or state; the body politic.
- n. A nation or state governed by the people; a republic.
- n. Used to refer to some U.S. states, namely, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
- n. Used to refer to a self-governing, autonomous political unit voluntarily associated with the United States, namely, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.
- n. The Commonwealth of Nations.
- n. The English state and government from the death of Charles I in 1649 to the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, including the Protectorate of 1653 to 1659.
- n. Archaic The public good; commonweal.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A form of government, named for the concept that everything that is not owned by specific individuals or groups is owned collectively by everyone in the governmental unit, as opposed to a state, where the state itself owns such things.
- n. Approximately, a republic.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A state; a body politic consisting of a certain number of men, united, by compact or tacit agreement, under one form of government and system of laws.
- n. The whole body of people in a state; the public.
- n. Specifically, the form of government established on the death of Charles I., in 1649, which existed under Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard, ending with the abdication of the latter in 1659.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The whole body of people in a state; the body politic; the public.
- n. Specifically The republican or democratic form of government; a government chosen directly by the people; a republican or democratic state: as, the commonwealth of England (which see, below).
- n. An association of actors who take shares in the receipts, in lieu of salaries.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the official name of some states in the United States (Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and Virginia and Kentucky) and associated territories (Puerto Rico)
- n. a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
- n. a politically organized body of people under a single government
- n. a world organization of autonomous states that are united in allegiance to a central power but are not subordinate to it or to one another
From 15th century, common (“public”) + wealth (“well-being”). Expanded in the 17th century to mean "a state in which the supreme power is vested in the people; a republic or democratic state." (Wiktionary)