Definition of common in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmən/

adjective (commoner, commonest)

1Occurring, found, or done often; prevalent: salt and pepper are the two most common seasonings common misspellings it’s common for a woman to be depressed after giving birth
More example sentences
  • We have taken advice from the contractors who advise there is no need to put signs up and this is common practice for public places.
  • Wooden houses are common along the Caspian coast.
  • Recurrent symptoms were particularly common in younger patients.
usual, ordinary, customary, habitual, familiar, regular, frequent, repeated, recurrent, routine, everyday, daily, day-to-day, quotidian, standard, typical;
conventional, stock, stereotyped, predictable, commonplace, mundane, run-of-the-mill
literary wonted
in circulation, in force, in vogue
1.1(Of an animal or plant) found or living in relatively large numbers; not rare: you might spot less common birds such as the great spotted woodpecker the swordfish is not common in European waters
More example sentences
  • The sighting of the black neck crane and several other rare and common birds in the area kept my spirit and interest buoyant.
  • Given that my horticultural expertise is limited to identifying about a dozen of the more common flowers, it's a curious choice.
  • Grouse, ravens and buzzards may be seen, and red deer are common.
1.2Denoting the most widespread or typical species of an animal or plant: the common gull
More example sentences
  • We here in the East are limited to the common crow, blue jay and, in the western part of our state, to the raven.
  • On a warm summer day, a number of butterfly species can be seen on the reserve including common blue, green veined white and meadow brown.
  • The common wolf spider has no web, but the female is a gentle parent who encases her eggs in a silken bundle which she carries wherever she goes.
1.3Ordinary; of ordinary qualities; without special rank or position: the dwellings of common people a common soldier
More example sentences
  • Their members came from the ranks of the common people, and their worship was personal and full of emotion.
  • He is Prime Minister, and therefore has a duty to rise above the ordinary concerns, fears and prejudices of the common man.
  • It is, in a way, the only menace with multiple potentials to perturb the normal life of the common man.
ordinary, normal, typical, average, unexceptional, run-of-the-mill, plain, simple
1.4(Of a quality) of a sort or level to be generally expected: common decency
More example sentences
  • She replied bluntly, not bothering with the common courtesy Elizabeth expected.
  • They depend upon the social concern and common decency of ordinary people.
  • Colin suggested that Mr Kenny consider sending him on a ‘crash course for basic manners and common courtesy.’
1.5Of the most familiar type: the common or vernacular name
More example sentences
  • In fats the alcohol is glycerol, more familiar under its common name of glycerine.
  • Chances are that you found the sentence confusing, even though all the words are common and familiar.
  • I am not for the word becoming part of the common, everyday vernacular, but it still is.
2Shared by, coming from, or done by two or more people, groups, or things: the two republics' common border problems common to both communities
More example sentences
  • All three are human systems and all three share characteristics common to human systems.
  • This can only be possible if there are entry and exit points recognised by countries sharing common borders.
  • Brazil shares common borders with 10 other countries in South America.
2.1Belonging to or involving the whole of a community or the public at large: common land
More example sentences
  • Residents who flocked to a public meeting on giving common status to land at Lowercroft dug deep into their pockets to swell a legal fighting fund.
  • The first measures to divide the common lands among local communities were taken in the late 1780s.
  • There would still be a public institutional complex ruling authoritatively on the common affairs of the community.
2.2 Mathematics Belonging to two or more quantities.
Example sentences
  • In fact, there will not be a Fibonacci number as a common factor between two neighbouring Fibonacci's for the same reason.
  • Two quantities are considered correlated when they are affected by a common quantity.
  • Two positive integers always have a greatest common divisor, even if they have only one common divisor, 1.
3British Showing a lack of taste and refinement supposedly typical of the lower classes; vulgar: she’s so common
More example sentences
  • It's almost as common and vulgar as chewing gum while you're serving customers.
  • Any more of those f-words and God forbid they might start thinking about letting rough common children into these private tennis clubs.
  • Oh, nothing would surprise them when it came to that common little harlot.
uncouth, vulgar, coarse, rough, unsavoury, boorish, rude, impolite, ill-mannered, unladylike, ungentlemanly, ill-bred, uncivilized, unsophisticated, unrefined, philistine, primitive, savage, brutish, oafish, gross;
lowly, low, low-born, low-ranking, low-class, inferior, humble, ignoble, proletarian, plebeian
British informal common as muck
archaic baseborn
4 Grammar (In Latin, Dutch, and certain other languages) of or denoting a gender of nouns that are conventionally regarded as masculine or feminine, contrasting with neuter.
4.1(In English) denoting a noun that refers to individuals of either sex (e.g. teacher).
5 Prosody (Of a syllable) able to be either short or long.
6 Law (Of a crime) of lesser severity: common assault
More example sentences
  • A life is precious, and unlike a common theft, once taken, it can never be given back.
  • A GMP spokesman said the crime falls under the common assault category, a conviction for which could lead up to five years in jail.
  • The exceptional categories plainly apply to offences more serious than common assault, but no court has ever decided how far they go.


1A piece of open land for public use: we spent the morning tramping over the common looking for flowers
More example sentences
  • It will be designed to protect its amenities and preserve its open nature as a public common.
  • The council is responsible for maintaining more than 100 parks, open spaces, commons and woodlands which attract around five million visitors a year.
  • This statement of aims, if adopted, will greatly enhance the appeal of the commons for the public, while at the same time protecting and expanding the flora and fauna that inhabit these public open spaces.
2British informal Common sense.
Example sentences
  • Have a bit of common.
  • It comes down to being sage, and using a bit of common, really.
3(In the Christian Church) a form of service used for each of a group of occasions.
4 (also right of common) English Law A person’s right over another’s land, e.g. for pasturage or mineral extraction.
Example sentences
  • It should follow also that the beneficiaries of the 1877 trust were also those (both present and future) who would have been entitled to the rights of common.
  • Section 1 provides that, ‘There shall be registered… land… which is common land or a town or village green ’, and rights of common over such land.
  • We can assume that in Ireland and the Welsh Marches, the indigenous inhabitants found it exceptionally difficult to assert their customary rights of common in the waste in a conquest situation.



common currency

1A system of money shared by two or more countries.
Example sentences
  • I should be happy to see a common currency.
  • You have to make them all match up to a common currency.
  • The first time the British specifically approached the question of joining a common currency was in 1979.
2Something shared by different groups: a shared humanity is the common currency
More example sentences
  • At the hub is the hairdresser, doing what they love, surrounded by their friends in a world where compliments are common currency.
  • Images of all imaginable sorts are the common currency of the internet-connected business place.
  • Given the limitations of all terminologies in common currency there is a difficulty about how best to proceed.

common form

What is usually done; accepted procedure: it is nowadays common form to acknowledge Pound’s generosity to other writers
More example sentences
  • The hitherto unformulated idea of a profession of journalism takes shape in clauses which assume what was then becoming common form.
  • As the will has already been proved in common form, Miss Borden would have to commence a probate action to challenge it.
  • It was common form to act friendly with a hidden agenda - so common that it wasn't even considered a bad thing.

the common good

The benefit or interests of all: it is time our elected officials stood up for the common good
More example sentences
  • Any such move would be ‘in the interests of the common good of the local community’.
  • She felt, in the interest of the common good, the area should be retained as a green area.
  • We must show our commitment to the common good, which is bigger than any person or any party.

common ground

Pronunciation: /ˌkɒmən ˈɡraʊnd/
Opinions or interests shared by each of two or more parties: artists from different cultural backgrounds found common ground
More example sentences
  • They show what could be achieved when organisations share their objectives and find common ground.
  • It assumes a multiplicity of class views, not just one class view though there may be much common ground.
  • What's interesting is that all these women can read the same magazine and find some common ground.

common knowledge

Something known by most people: it’s common knowledge that no one has yet found a cure for cancer
More example sentences
  • This is hardly a revelation - his name is on the House of Commons website and his job common knowledge.
  • It's not the place of this blog to reveal aspects about the lives of current, former or old friends that they may not wish to be common knowledge.
  • When she was given bail, her family expressed concern that if her bail address became common knowledge she could be attacked.

common or garden

British informal Of the usual or ordinary type: a common or garden family saloon car
More example sentences
  • Simply take one common or garden, household bucket - clean.
  • I mean, are these common or garden mildly psychotic impulses, or are they going to progress?
  • If you feel that the red varieties are a bit common or garden, choose Peach Melba, which has bright yellow flowers blotched with red.

common property

A thing or things held jointly: the atmosphere is the common property of every nation on earth
More example sentences
  • Last, this budget would be allocated amongst the world's nations on the basis of their populations - in recognition of the atmosphere being the common property of all humankind, to which every person has an equal right.
  • Shorelines, beaches, river bottoms, and navigable water - whether in the sea or flowing to it - were the common property of the nation's citizens.
  • It remains part of the atmosphere, and falls partly into areas of common property, and partly into areas of national sovereignty.
7.1Something known by most people: the general theory of climate change has now become common property
More example sentences
  • Powerful passages that keen minds have written, have become the common property of humankind, and have lived on for generations, to inspire, to provoke, to encourage, to stimulate, and of course, to question.
  • In making its collections and knowledge about them common property, a museum like the British Museum realises its value.

common thread

A theme or characteristic found in various stories or situations: a common thread through most of the stories is the support from the family
More example sentences
  • A lack of accountability to the people is the common thread between them.
  • The blatant lack of cooperation only complicated the inexperienced Cabinet's ability to devise a common thread of economic policymaking.
  • We found a focus where we identified common threads.

the common touch

The ability to get on with or appeal to ordinary people: he was an intimate of Lord Beaverbrook yet kept the common touch
More example sentences
  • He has that common touch that many politicians lack.
  • He is a wooden, boring, uninspiring, unconvincing orator, who completely lacked the common touch or any real ability to communicate with voters.
  • All were undoubtedly taken by the President's amiable nature and her remarkable ability for the common touch among young and old alike.

have something in common

Have a specified amount or degree of shared interests or characteristics: they had one thing in common, an obsession with rock and roll
More example sentences
  • Valerie added: ‘It helps that we both play as it means we have interests in common to share.’
  • At the two extremities of our continent, the Bulgarian and French peoples share common values and have many features in common.
  • To our contemporary ears this list is quite various; it is hard to think that they all have any interesting characteristics in common.

in common

In joint use or possession; shared: a sect that had wives in common
More example sentences
  • They share something in common - all of them are best friends and all of them keep blogs.
  • One thing maybe we do share in common, coming from our part of the world, is individuality.
  • We didn't share many friends in common, just some very distant acquaintances.
Law 11.1 Held or owned by two or more people each having undivided possession but with distinct, separately transferable interests.
Example sentences
  • Bearing this in mind, we now look at joint tenancies and tenancies in common.
  • If you own it as tenants in common, you can stipulate what share each party owns.
  • They should arrange to own the house as tenants in common, rather than as joint tenants.

in common with

In the same way as: in common with other officers I had to undertake guard duties
More example sentences
  • Seems I've run out of things to say about events in the Middle East, in common with most people it would appear.
  • Tomato leaves, in common with most higher plants, use sucrose as the major form of transported carbon.
  • I must admit, in common with Britney, I've never felt sexy in any of my clothes.

out of the common

British Rarely occurring; unusual: it is odd, yes, but not so out of the common
More example sentences
  • She was never at a loss for words out of the common, and an increasing deafness made her find talking easier than listening.
  • I am sure it was something quite out of the common.
  • But I couldn't let her go with the knowledge that something out of the common was happening.



Pronunciation: /ˈkɒmənnəs/
Example sentences
  • WordCount presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonness.
  • Despite the apparent commonness of blonde hair, which accounts for a third of British women, Tobin said only about 3% were naturally blonde.
  • The very commonness of assumed aliases in the data suggests that taking on a new identity was not difficult in a nation of people increasingly ‘on the move.’


Middle English: from Old French comun (adjective), from Latin communis.

Words that rhyme with common


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: com¦mon

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