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

  • adjective Ordinary; common.
  • adjective Uninteresting; unremarkable.
  • noun A trite or obvious saying; a platitude.
  • noun Something, especially an occurrence, that is ordinary or common.
  • noun Archaic A passage marked for reference or entered in a commonplace book.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To enter particulars regarding in a commonplace-book.
  • To indulge in commonplace statements.
  • noun A memorandum of something that is likely to be again referred to; a fact or quotation or argument that is or may be made useful in one or another way or in a variety of ways, and so is made note of for handy use.
  • noun A well-known, customary, or obvious remark; a trite or uninteresting saying.
  • noun Anything occurring frequently or habitually; anything of ordinary or usual character; especially, anything that is so common as to be uninteresting; such common things collectively.
  • Not novel or striking; trite; hackneyed: as, a commonplace remark.
  • Ordinary; common; uninteresting; without originality or marked individuality: as, a commonplace person.

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

  • intransitive verb obsolete To utter commonplaces; to indulge in platitudes.
  • adjective Common; ordinary; trite.
  • noun An idea or expression wanting originality or interest; a trite or customary remark; a platitude.
  • noun A memorandum; something to be frequently consulted or referred to.
  • noun a book in which records are made of things to be remembered.
  • transitive verb To enter in a commonplace book, or to reduce to general heads.

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

  • adjective ordinary; having no remarkable features
  • noun A platitude or cliché.
  • noun Something that is ordinary.
  • verb To make a commonplace book.
  • verb obsolete To utter commonplaces; to indulge in platitudes.

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

  • noun a trite or obvious remark
  • adjective repeated too often; overfamiliar through overuse
  • adjective not challenging; dull and lacking excitement
  • adjective completely ordinary and unremarkable


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

[Translation of Latin locus commūnis, generally applicable literary passage, translation of Greek koinos topos.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A calque of Latin locus commūnis, referring to a generally applicable literary passage, itself is a calque of Ancient Greek κοινός τόπος (koinos topos).


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  • I cannot fancy the man who saw this effect, and took it on the wing with so much force and spirit, was what you call commonplace in the last recesses of the heart.

    Virginibus Puerisque and other papers 2005

  • In the hush of a beautiful Sunday morning the new missionary begins what she calls the commonplace work of the day.

    Mary Slessor of Calabar: Pioneer Missionary W. P. Livingstone

  • Oh, and I forgot refrigeration, which we in aust developed as far back as the 1850's to allow for our meat and dairy to be exporte back to Britain; yes, you heard correctly; the 1850's!! icechests were commonplace from the 1890's out here and Federation + pre-Federation designed for the heat; double brick, high ceilings, wrap-around verandahs, coolgardie meatsafe etc.

    Alfred Augustus Glendening 1861-1903 2009

  • For example, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's (GLSEN) 2008 National School Climate Survey reveals that anti-LGBTQ bullying and harassment remain commonplace in America's schools.

    Irene Monroe: When will the homophobic bullying cease? Irene Monroe 2010

  • We think the key to making this stuff more commonplace is keeping it affordable for everyone.

    AfterGlow Chair – Luminous Chair Made from Recycled Milk Jugs 2010

  • Anyhow, it's more than a little depressing how commonplace is Brewer's apparent assumption: that politics have little or nothing to do with morals and values.

    Television 2009

  • Yet if “the commonplace is sometimes hardest to see,” Cording evokes it with exceptional skill and mastery of form (which includes an occasional rhyme).

    2007 April 05 « One-Minute Book Reviews 2007

  • One of the fields where researchers believe wireless sensor technology could be commonplace is in the health care setting.

    Wireless Sensors Extend Internet’s Reach | Impact Lab 2007

  • [Page 266] an uninterrupted amusement without ever descending to the grotesque, to have been comic without being vulgar, and to have avoided extremes of every kind, without ever being dull or commonplace, is the praise of which Jane Austen is almost entitled to a monopoly.

    Jane Austen: Her Homes and Her Friends 1901

  • I had been through two mortally dull years (without travel), in commonplace, matter-of-fact Old England, where one can't get into a difficulty.

    The Romance of Isabel, Lady Burton William Henry Burton Wilkins 1897


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