Definition of commons in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmənz/

plural noun

1 (the Commons) short for House of Commons.
1.1 historical The common people regarded as a part of a political system, especially in Britain: the state was divided into clergy, nobility, and commons both lords and commons won some important concessions
More example sentences
  • Early modern scholars often go too far in ignoring the existence of divergent interests between commons and elites, focusing only on vertical rather than horizontal linkages.
  • First he takes a common for a wife then tries to convince the council of elders to adopt the concept of allowing the commons responsibilities in the government.
  • He disbelieves the commons who testified that the gentry willingly took command, shared their grievances, and led them on.
2 [treated as singular] Land or resources belonging to or affecting the whole of a community: the mismanagement of a commons the global commons of Antarctica
More example sentences
  • Communities dependent upon the commons do not have social regulations and that group ownership is an inferior solution.
  • In a later passage Menger seems to recognize problems that might be associated with air and water pollution or the tragedy of the commons where the resource in question is generally viewed as a noneconomic or free good.
  • The streets are the commons - they belong to the people but we let them be completely taken over by commercialism and the automobile.
2.1US A dining hall in a school or college.
Example sentences
  • Cassida says you're an idiot for forgetting that she hates the dining commons and can't eat there anyway.
  • I really don't want my last memory of this place for a week to be the dining commons.
  • There was something really weird about the flames, aside from the fact that they were inside the dining commons and couldn't be seen from outside.
3 archaic Provisions shared in common; rations.


short commons

archaic Insufficient allocation of food: a life of short commons
More example sentences
  • The threat of ‘short commons’ is the threat of an insufficiency.
  • This biscuit was to be kept strapped on the top of each man's knapsack, well tied, with brigade orders for no man to taste a morsel of it, unless given out in written orders to that effect, as our brigadier expected we should be on short commons while on the Pyrenees, and this was to be, in case of scarcity, our last resource.
  • If these gales continued for any length of time it often meant short commons for them and their families, unless they had had the foresight to lay in a good stock of cured fish.


Middle English: plural of common.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: com|mons

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