commonwealth

Definitions

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

  • noun The people of a nation or state; the body politic.
  • noun A nation or state governed by the people; a republic.
  • noun Used to refer to some US states, namely, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
  • noun Used to refer to a self-governing, autonomous political unit voluntarily associated with the United States, namely, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • noun The Commonwealth of Nations.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Archaic The public good; commonweal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The whole body of people in a state; the body politic; the public.
  • noun 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).
  • noun An association of actors who take shares in the receipts, in lieu of salaries.

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

  • noun 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.
  • noun The whole body of people in a state; the public.
  • noun (Eng. Hist.) 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 Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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.
  • noun Approximately, a republic.

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

  • noun the official name of some states in the United States (Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and Virginia and Kentucky) and associated territories (Puerto Rico)
  • noun a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
  • noun a politically organized body of people under a single government
  • noun 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

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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."

Examples

  • They're at home with what I call a commonwealth of being.

    Fully Human, Fully Divine: James Fowler and Evelyn Underhill

  • They occupied what he called the commonwealth cemetery, and lying next to them, with their headstones facing Mecca, were Muslim dead from Libya, Algeria, Sudan and India.

    Long Way Down

  • They occupied what he called the commonwealth cemetery, and lying next to them, with their headstones facing Mecca, were Muslim dead from Libya, Algeria, Sudan and India.

    Long Way Down

  • They occupied what he called the commonwealth cemetery, and lying next to them, with their headstones facing Mecca, were Muslim dead from Libya, Algeria, Sudan and India.

    Long Way Down

  • They occupied what he called the commonwealth cemetery, and lying next to them, with their headstones facing Mecca, were Muslim dead from Libya, Algeria, Sudan and India.

    Long Way Down

  • Utah has beat out Virginia on Forbes magazine's list of the best states for business, knocking the commonwealth from the top ranking it has held for the past four years.

    Virginia Politics

  • Any sane person, which by definition excludes any resident of Montgomery County, knows that the commonwealth is vastly superior.

    Bethesda

  • Any sane person, which by definition excludes any resident of Montgomery County, knows that the commonwealth is vastly superior.

    Archive 2009-04-01

  • The commonwealth is now the fifth largest wine-producing state in the country and the seventh-largest commercial grape producer.

    McDonnell talks about the South's future

  • Utah has beat out Virginia on Forbes magazine's list of the best states for business, knocking the commonwealth from the top ranking it has held for the past four years.

    Virginia Politics

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