Definition of commonplace in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkämənˌplās/


1Not unusual; ordinary: unemployment was commonplace in his profession
More example sentences
  • He insists that what he is doing is to configure the commonplace issues of ordinary life.
  • None of the others had noticed the little scene; it was an event too commonplace to mark.
  • This is Realism at its most powerful, turning a commonplace event into an historical one.
ordinary, run-of-the-mill, unremarkable, unexceptional, average, mediocre, pedestrian, prosaic, lackluster, dull, bland, uninteresting, mundane;
hackneyed, trite, banal, clichéd, predictable, stale, tired, unoriginal
informal by-the-numbers, boilerplate, plain-vanilla, dime a dozen, bush-league
1.1Not interesting or original; trite: the usual commonplace remarks
More example sentences
  • These types of self-congratulatory remarks are commonplace and formulaic.
  • After a few more exceedingly commonplace remarks of the same character, she gave me to write down a list of drugs that were to be taken.
  • Peace would be all too commonplace and boring, not to mention that it couldn't possibly involve the kind of firepower you're accustomed to.


1A usual or ordinary thing: bombing has become almost a commonplace of public life there
More example sentences
  • Then he makes a characteristic move: you see how he is able to invest the ordinary, the commonplace, with mystery.
  • His poetry and fiction celebrates the ordinary and commonplace, striving for a transformation that might well be magical.
  • Dixon is the kind of ordinary hero who had become a commonplace of Ealing films during the war period.
everyday event, routine
1.1A trite saying or topic; a platitude: it is a commonplace to talk of the young being alienated
More example sentences
  • So instead politicians almost uniformly retreat to the safety of the platitude and commonplace.
  • And what is perhaps the most troubling feature of her writing is her tendency to use commonplaces and cliches and undefined terms as if their meaning were indisputable and clear.
  • My only knowledge of francophone Caribbean literature consisted of a few commonplaces and catchphrases.
platitude, cliché, truism, hackneyed phrase, trite phrase, old chestnut, banality
dated bromide



Pronunciation: /ˈkämənˌplāsnəs/
Example sentences
  • Opera however is an old means for achieving togetherness that overcomes commonplaceness and produces happiness.
  • Written in short lengths for newspaper serialization, the autobiography is not a literary masterpiece, but it is the more impressive because of the commonplaceness of much of its material.
  • It simply exists in an inoffensive and unexciting realm of commonplaceness that makes it incapable of standing out among the pack of infinitely better racers available for any of its chosen platforms.


Mid 16th century (originally common place): translation of Latin locus communis, rendering Greek koinos topos 'general theme'.

  • This was originally written common place, a translation of Latin locus communis, rendering Greek koinos topos ‘general theme’, terms for a passage on which a speaker could base an argument. In the past people would keep commonplace books of such passages, and the quoting of these no doubt led to the modern sense of the word. Topic (Late Middle English) was originally a word for a set or book of general rules or ideas. It comes from Latin topica, from Greek ta topika, meaning literally ‘matters concerning commonplaces’ (the title of a treatise by Aristotle). Early use was as a term in logic and rhetoric describing a rule or argument as ‘applicable in most but not all cases’. See also utopia. Common itself (Middle English) comes via French from Latin communis ‘common, general’ also the source of commune (late 17th century), communism (mid 19th century), communication, communion, and community [all LME].

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: com·mon·place

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