Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The common people as opposed to the upper classes.
  • noun An incorporated body; a corporation.
  • noun An entire group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The public; the people; the multitude.
  • noun Commonwealth; republic.
  • noun Specifically, the common people.
  • noun In republican countries, the mass of the inhabitants, as distinguished from those in authority.
  • noun In a more restricted sense, the uneducated and uncultured, as distinguished from the learned and intelligent.
  • noun In a city, the mass of citizens, as represented by or acting through the corporate authorities: as, the mayor, aldermen, and commonalty of the city of New York do enact as follows.
  • noun The members of an incorporated company other than its officers.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The common people; those classes and conditions of people who are below the rank of nobility; the commons.
  • noun obsolete The majority or bulk of mankind.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The common people; the commonality
  • noun A group of things having similar characteristics
  • noun A class composed of persons lacking clerical or noble rank

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

  • noun a class composed of persons lacking clerical or noble rank

Etymologies

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

[Middle English communalte, from Old French comunalte, from Medieval Latin commūnālitās, from Late Latin commūnālis, of the community; see communal.]

Examples

  • John, 9, etc. That a man be liable to excommunication, there be many conditions requisite; as first, that he be a member of some commonalty, that is to say, of some lawful assembly, that is to say, of some Christian Church that hath power to judge of the cause for which he is to be excommunicated.

    Leviathan

  • Under the pretext of exonerating the other members from the trouble and expense of such frequent journeys, twelve persons were appointed as representatives of the commonalty, that is, the whole body of earls, barons, and tenants of the Crown; and it was enacted that whatever these twelve should determine, in conjunction with the council of state, should be considered as the act of the whole body.

    The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 06 (From Barbarossa to Dante)

  • It is based on the old French element of the fur trade -- that is, a commonalty who are the descendants of French or Canadian boatmen, and clerks and interpreters who have invariably married Indian women.

    Memoirs of 30 Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers

  • It is based on the old French element of the fur trade -- that is, a commonalty who are the descendants of French or Canadian boatmen, and clerks and interpreters who have invariably married Indian women.

    Personal Memoirs of a Residence of Thirty Years with the Indian Tribes on the American Frontiers

  • They would have it thought that the commonalty was against him, and therefore laboured to get him cried down by a multitude, and it is no hard matter to pack a mob; whereas, if a fair poll had been granted, I doubt not but it would have been carried by a great majority for the releasing of him.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume V (Matthew to John)

  • That a man be liable to excommunication, there be many conditions requisite; as first, that he be a member of some commonalty, that is to say, of some lawful assembly, that is to say, of some Christian Church that hath power to judge of the cause for which he is to be excommunicated.

    Leviathan, or, The matter, forme, & power of a common-wealth ecclesiasticall and civill

  • I don't want to affect our "commonalty" if I may venture to call it, but I venture to say that is another reason why India should take its place in the Commonwealth.

    The India of Tomorrow

  • The commonalty differs from the people as a species from its genus; for 'the people' includes the whole aggregate of citizens, among them patricians and senators, while the term 'commonalty' embraces only such citizens as are not patricians or senators.

    The Institutes of Justinian

  • Among the commonalty, their claim for preference in Municipal, State and Federal employment is first; nor are they forgotten, though for a time the Nation pledges its gratitude to those brave defenders of its flag in the Hispano-American War.

    The Principles of the Republican Party: A Rare Unpublished Jack London Essay

  • The message for me was the commonalty of humankind, with the arts transcending global suffering for the evening.

    Jim Luce: Indian Legend Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Sons Perform in NYC

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