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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a common aim (=an aim that people, countries etc share)
▪ We know the value of working closely together to pursue our common aims.
a common ancestor (=the same ancestor)
▪ Lions and house cats evolved from a common ancestor.
a common bond (=one that people share)
▪ They shared a common bond – a love of literature.
a common border (=that countries share)
▪ India and Pakistan each withdrew troops from their common border.
a common cause of sth
▪ Alcohol is the most common cause of road accidents.
a common characteristic (=that people or things share)
▪ Successful firms tend to have common characteristics.
a common concern (=one that many people share)
▪ Rising food prices are a common concern.
a common condition
▪ Depression is a very common condition.
a common culture (=one that societies or people share)
▪ Britain and America are united by a common culture.
a common enemy (=one shared by groups of people)
▪ We must work together against the common enemy.
a common error
▪ a common error which students often make when writing essays
a common expression
▪ 'Pig out' is a common expression meaning 'to eat a lot'.
a common feature
▪ Pine trees are a common feature of the Swedish landscape.
a common goal (=an aim shared by more than one person or organization)
▪ Iran and Turkey shared common goals in their handling of the refugee crisis.
a common language (=a language that more than one person or group speaks, so that they can understand each other)
▪ Most of the countries of South America share a common language: Spanish.
a common mistake
▪ A common mistake is to imagine that dogs think like humans.
a common objective (=one that people, countries etc share)
▪ Our employees have a sense of common objectives and their commitment is high.
a common origin (=a place or situation in which different things all started to exist)
▪ It may be that all life on Earth has a common origin.
a common phenomenon
▪ Cloudy water is a common phenomenon in new aquariums.
a common purpose (=one that people share)
▪ We were bound together by a common purpose.
a common sense approach
▪ We need a common sense approach to caring for the environment.
a common sense view
▪ Ross took the common sense view that it would be better to stay at home.
a common symptom
▪ By far the most common symptom of caffeine withdrawal is headache.
a common theme
▪ Death and rebirth is a common theme in Eliot’s poetry.
a common/an everyday event
▪ The death of a child was a common event in those days.
a common/familiar dilemma (=one that a lot of people have)
▪ Deciding whether to put an elderly parent in a nursing home is a common dilemma.
a common/general/widespread assumption
▪ There’s a common assumption that science is more difficult than other subjects.
a common/popular myth (=that many people believe)
▪ Contrary to popular myth, most road accidents are not the result of speeding.
a common/popular/widespread belief (=that a lot of people believe)
▪ There is a common belief that educational standards are declining.
a common/rare disorder
▪ Acne is a very common skin disorder.
a common/widespread/frequent complaint
▪ A common complaint of children is that parents do not listen to them.
a core/common curriculum (=the subjects that everyone must study because they are considered very important)
▪ There has been a lot of debate on the content of the core curriculum.
a lack of common sense
▪ Leaving the child alone in the car showed a lack of common sense.
a matter of common sense (=something that requires no more than common sense)
▪ Not driving too fast is just a matter of common sense.
a popular/common stereotype
▪ Current evidence indicates that older people are more healthy than popular stereotypes suggest.
an ounce of common sense (=a very small amount)
▪ Anyone with an ounce of common sense would have realised that was a silly thing to do.
be based on common sense
▪ The job doesn't require much training because it's based on common sense.
common cold
common courtesy
▪ It’s a matter of common courtesy to acknowledge letters.
common currency
▪ Words like ‘spliff’ and ‘blunt’ have become common currency.
common denominator
▪ The common denominator of both types of novel is the vulnerable threatened heroine.
common gossip (=gossip that everyone knows about)
▪ Rumours about her affairs had become common gossip.
common ground (=they do not share the same attitudes etc)
▪ Often parents and teenagers find they have little common ground.
common land
common law (=laws that have come from customs and the decisions of judges)
▪ In common law, if a house is rented out, it is expected that the house is safe to live in.
common law
common noun
common people
▪ Rice formed the staple food of the common people.
common room
common sense dictates sth
▪ Common sense dictates that you should avoid too much sun.
common sense dictates sth (=tells you something very clearly)
▪ Common sense dictates that you should avoid handling wild animals.
common sense prevails (=is strong enough to make you do the sensible thing)
▪ Eventually common sense prevailed and they reached an agreement.
common sense prevails/reason prevails (=a sensible decision is made)
▪ He considered lying, but then common sense prevailed.
common sense suggests sth
▪ People don't always do what common sense suggests.
common sense tells you/me etc sth
▪ Common sense tells me that I should get more sleep.
common thread
▪ a common thread running within his work
▪ common childhood diseases
▪ These plants are common in British gardens.
▪ Here you will see most of the common species of African wildlife.
common/human/public decency (=standards of behaviour that are expected of everyone)
▪ The film was banned on the grounds of public decency.
common/shared humanity
▪ We must never forget our common humanity.
defy common sense (=not be sensible)
▪ The proposed change in the law defies common sense.
frequent/rare/common occurrence
▪ Laughter was a rare occurrence in his classroom.
▪ Flooding in the area is a common occurrence.
have common sense
▪ Some people are brilliant thinkers, but they have no common sense.
House of Commons
lowest common denominator
▪ Television quiz shows often seem to target the lowest common denominator.
popular/common misconception
▪ There is a popular misconception that too much exercise is bad for you.
show common sense
▪ His attitude shows no common sense at all.
simple/plain/basic/sheer common sense (=very obviously sensible)
▪ Locking your doors at night is simple common sense.
sound common sense (=sensible and reliable)
▪ These ideas contained much sound common sense.
the common coldformal
▪ There are hundreds of viruses that cause the common cold.
use your common sense
▪ If something goes wrong, just use your common sense.
as common as muck
be common/standard/normal practice
▪ It is normal practice for the definitive sale and purchase agreement to be drafted by the acquirer's solicitors.
▪ It is normal practice for the heads to specify that each party will be responsible for the costs of its own advisers.
▪ It is normal practice for the purchaser to order a survey for two reasons.
▪ It is normal practice for the vendor to disclose various documents to the purchaser as part of the disclosure exercise.
▪ Motorcycles would be kept out by barriers at each end - this is normal practice for cycle/pedestrian paths.
▪ The first is the wide variation in specification and finish that are standard practice in the motor industry.
▪ This is standard practice, but such an event is unlikely.
▪ Whatever the circumstances, it is standard practice in embryo transfer to introduce several embryos at a time.
have/make common cause (with/against sb)
in common parlance
next biggest/most common etc
the Common Market
the Commons
the House of Commons
the common/general good
▪ He was the mandatory of his people, the trustee of the general good.
▪ Surely that is to the general good.
the lowest common denominator
▪ They produce trashy TV programs that appeal to the lowest common denominator.
▪ A common reason for not hiring someone is their lack of writing skills.
▪ Dating agencies try to match people with similar personalities and common interests.
▪ Flatheads are a common type of fish and good to eat.
▪ Foxes are common in the area.
▪ Foxes are very common around here.
▪ It's a common mathematical error.
▪ It's becoming more and more common for women to keep their family name when they marry.
▪ It's very common for older children to feel jealous after the birth of a baby.
▪ Jones is a very common name in Britain.
▪ Luckily we all had a common language, English, which meant we could communicate with each other.
▪ Malaria is particularly common near swamps where mosquitoes can breed.
▪ Many of the more common forms of cancer can be treated successfully if detected early.
▪ Monkeys and apes are so similar that it is reasonable to say they have a common ancestor.
▪ My daughter says politics is boring, which is a common attitude among teenagers.
▪ Olson is a very common last name in Minnesota.
▪ Personal computers are nearly as common in American homes as televisions.
▪ Petty theft and pickpocketing are becoming increasingly common in the city centre.
▪ Students and faculty are working toward a common goal.
▪ The Allies worked to defeat a common enemy.
▪ The condition is most common among women aged 18 to 24.
as common as muck
have/make common cause (with/against sb)
in common parlance
next biggest/most common etc
the Common Market
the Commons
the House of Commons
the common/general good
▪ He was the mandatory of his people, the trustee of the general good.
▪ Surely that is to the general good.
the lowest common denominator
▪ They produce trashy TV programs that appeal to the lowest common denominator.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Common \Com"mon\, v. i.

  1. To converse together; to discourse; to confer. [Obs.]

    Embassadors were sent upon both parts, and divers means of entreaty were commoned of.

  2. To participate. [Obs.]
    --Sir T. More.

  3. To have a joint right with others in common ground.

  4. To board together; to eat at a table in common.


Common \Com"mon\, n.

  1. The people; the community. [Obs.] ``The weal o' the common.''

  2. An inclosed or uninclosed tract of ground for pleasure, for pasturage, etc., the use of which belongs to the public; or to a number of persons.

  3. (Law) The right of taking a profit in the land of another, in common either with the owner or with other persons; -- so called from the community of interest which arises between the claimant of the right and the owner of the soil, or between the claimants and other commoners entitled to the same right.

    Common appendant, a right belonging to the owners or occupiers of arable land to put commonable beasts upon the waste land in the manor where they dwell.

    Common appurtenant, a similar right applying to lands in other manors, or extending to other beasts, besides those which are generally commonable, as hogs.

    Common because of vicinage or Common because of neighborhood, the right of the inhabitants of each of two townships, lying contiguous to each other, which have usually intercommoned with one another, to let their beasts stray into the other's fields. -

    Common in gross or Common at large, a common annexed to a man's person, being granted to him and his heirs by deed; or it may be claimed by prescriptive right, as by a parson of a church or other corporation sole.

    Common of estovers, the right of taking wood from another's estate.

    Common of pasture, the right of feeding beasts on the land of another.

    Common of piscary, the right of fishing in waters belonging to another.

    Common of turbary, the right of digging turf upon the ground of another.


Common \Com"mon\, a. [Compar. Commoner; superl. Commonest.] [OE. commun, comon, OF. comun, F. commun, fr. L. communis; com- + munis ready to be of service; cf. Skr. mi to make fast, set up, build, Goth. gamains common, G. gemein, and E. mean low, common. Cf. Immunity, Commune, n. & v.]

  1. Belonging or relating equally, or similarly, to more than one; as, you and I have a common interest in the property.

    Though life and sense be common to men and brutes.
    --Sir M. Hale.

  2. Belonging to or shared by, affecting or serving, all the members of a class, considered together; general; public; as, properties common to all plants; the common schools; the Book of Common Prayer.

    Such actions as the common good requireth.

    The common enemy of man.

  3. Often met with; usual; frequent; customary.

    Grief more than common grief.

  4. Not distinguished or exceptional; inconspicuous; ordinary; plebeian; -- often in a depreciatory sense.

    The honest, heart-felt enjoyment of common life.
    --W. Irving.

    This fact was infamous And ill beseeming any common man, Much more a knight, a captain and a leader.

    Above the vulgar flight of common souls.
    --A. Murphy.

  5. Profane; polluted. [Obs.]

    What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
    --Acts x. 15.

  6. Given to habits of lewdness; prostitute. A dame who herself was common. --L'Estrange. Common bar (Law) Same as Blank bar, under Blank. Common barrator (Law), one who makes a business of instigating litigation. Common Bench, a name sometimes given to the English Court of Common Pleas. Common brawler (Law), one addicted to public brawling and quarreling. See Brawler. Common carrier (Law), one who undertakes the office of carrying (goods or persons) for hire. Such a carrier is bound to carry in all cases when he has accommodation, and when his fixed price is tendered, and he is liable for all losses and injuries to the goods, except those which happen in consequence of the act of God, or of the enemies of the country, or of the owner of the property himself. Common chord (Mus.), a chord consisting of the fundamental tone, with its third and fifth. Common council, the representative (legislative) body, or the lower branch of the representative body, of a city or other municipal corporation. Common crier, the crier of a town or city. Common divisor (Math.), a number or quantity that divides two or more numbers or quantities without a remainder; a common measure. Common gender (Gram.), the gender comprising words that may be of either the masculine or the feminine gender. Common law, a system of jurisprudence developing under the guidance of the courts so as to apply a consistent and reasonable rule to each litigated case. It may be superseded by statute, but unless superseded it controls. --Wharton. Note: It is by others defined as the unwritten law (especially of England), the law that receives its binding force from immemorial usage and universal reception, as ascertained and expressed in the judgments of the courts. This term is often used in contradistinction from statute law. Many use it to designate a law common to the whole country. It is also used to designate the whole body of English (or other) law, as distinguished from its subdivisions, local, civil, admiralty, equity, etc. See Law. Common lawyer, one versed in common law. Common lewdness (Law), the habitual performance of lewd acts in public. Common multiple (Arith.) See under Multiple. Common noun (Gram.), the name of any one of a class of objects, as distinguished from a proper noun (the name of a particular person or thing). Common nuisance (Law), that which is deleterious to the health or comfort or sense of decency of the community at large. Common pleas, one of the three superior courts of common law at Westminster, presided over by a chief justice and four puisne judges. Its jurisdiction is confined to civil matters. Courts bearing this title exist in several of the United States, having, however, in some cases, both civil and criminal jurisdiction extending over the whole State. In other States the jurisdiction of the common pleas is limited to a county, and it is sometimes called a county court. Its powers are generally defined by statute. Common prayer, the liturgy of the Church of England, or of the Protestant Episcopal church of the United States, which all its clergy are enjoined to use. It is contained in the Book of Common Prayer. Common school, a school maintained at the public expense, and open to all. Common scold (Law), a woman addicted to scolding indiscriminately, in public. Common seal, a seal adopted and used by a corporation. Common sense.

    1. A supposed sense which was held to be the common bond of all the others. [Obs.]

    2. Sound judgment. See under Sense.

      Common time (Mus.), that variety of time in which the measure consists of two or of four equal portions.

      In common, equally with another, or with others; owned, shared, or used, in community with others; affecting or affected equally.

      Out of the common, uncommon; extraordinary.

      Tenant in common, one holding real or personal property in common with others, having distinct but undivided interests. See Joint tenant, under Joint.

      To make common cause with, to join or ally one's self with.

      Syn: General; public; popular; national; universal; frequent; ordinary; customary; usual; familiar; habitual; vulgar; mean; trite; stale; threadbare; commonplace. See Mutual, Ordinary, General.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, "belonging to all, general," from Old French comun "common, general, free, open, public" (9c., Modern French commun), from Latin communis "in common, public, shared by all or many; general, not specific; familiar, not pretentious," from PIE *ko-moin-i- "held in common," compound adjective formed from *ko- "together" + *moi-n-, suffixed form of root *mei- (1) "change, exchange" (see mutable), hence literally "shared by all."\n

\nSecond element of the compound also is the source of Latin munia "duties, public duties, functions," those related to munia "office." Perhaps reinforced in Old French by the Germanic form of PIE *ko-moin-i- (compare Old English gemæne "common, public, general, universal;" see mean (adj.)), which came to French via Frankish.\n

\nUsed disparagingly of women and criminals since c.1300. Common pleas is 13c., from Anglo-French communs plets, hearing civil actions by one subject against another as opposed to pleas of the crown. Common prayer is contrasted with private prayer. Common stock is attested from 1888.


late 15c., "land held in common," from common (adj.). Commons "the third estate of the English people as represented in Parliament," is from late 14c. Latin communis also served as a noun meaning "common property, state, commonwealth."

  1. mutual; shared by more than one. n. 1 mutual good, shared by more than one. 2 A tract of land in common ownership; common land. v

  2. 1 (context obsolete English) To communicate (something). 2 (context obsolete English) To converse, talk. 3 (context obsolete English) To have sex. 4 (context obsolete English) To participate. 5 (context obsolete English) To have a joint right with others in common ground. 6 (context obsolete English) To board together; to eat at a table in common.

  1. adj. belonging to or participated in by a community as a whole; public; "for the common good"; "common lands are set aside for use by all members of a community" [ant: individual]

  2. of no special distinction or quality; widely known or commonly encountered; average or ordinary or usual; "the common man"; "a common sailor"; "the common cold"; "a common nuisance"; "followed common procedure"; "it is common knowledge that she lives alone"; "the common housefly"; "a common brand of soap" [ant: uncommon]

  3. common to or shared by two or more parties; "a common friend"; "the mutual interests of management and labor" [syn: mutual]

  4. commonly encountered; "a common (or familiar) complaint"; "the usual greeting" [syn: usual]

  5. being or characteristic of or appropriate to everyday language; "common parlance"; "a vernacular term"; "vernacular speakers"; "the vulgar tongue of the masses"; "the technical and vulgar names for an animal species" [syn: vernacular, vulgar]

  6. of or associated with the great masses of people; "the common people in those days suffered greatly"; "behavior that branded him as common"; "his square plebeian nose"; "a vulgar and objectionable person"; "the unwashed masses" [syn: plebeian, vulgar, unwashed]

  7. of low or inferior quality or value; "of what coarse metal ye are molded"- Shakespeare; "produced...the common cloths used by the poorer population" [syn: coarse]

  8. lacking refinement or cultivation or taste; "he had coarse manners but a first-rate mind"; "behavior that branded him as common"; "an untutored and uncouth human being"; "an uncouth soldier--a real tough guy"; "appealing to the vulgar taste for violence"; "the vulgar display of the newly rich" [syn: coarse, rough-cut, uncouth, vulgar]

  9. to be expected; standard; "common decency"


n. a piece of open land for recreational use in an urban area; "they went for a walk in the park" [syn: park, commons, green]


COMMON is the largest association of users of IBM midrange computers and IBM-compatible technology in the world. The users' group is a private, not-for-profit organization that provides education, tools, resources and networking opportunities for IBM i users.

Common (horse)

Common (1888–1912) was a British Thoroughbred racehorse and sire. In a career that lasted from May to September 1891 he ran five times and won four races. He became the fifth, and the most lighty-raced horse to win the English Triple Crown by winning the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, the Derby at Epsom and the St Leger at Doncaster.

Common (rapper)

Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. (born March 13, 1972), better known by his stage name Common (formerly Common Sense), is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, film producer and poet from Chicago, Illinois. Common debuted in 1992 with the album Can I Borrow a Dollar? and maintained a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians. In 2011, Common launched Think Common Entertainment, his own record label imprint, and, in the past, has released music under various other labels such as Relativity, Geffen and GOOD Music, among others.

Common's first major-label album, Like Water for Chocolate, received widespread critical acclaim and tremendous commercial success. His first Grammy Award was in 2003, winning Best R&B Song for " Love of My Life", with Erykah Badu. Its popularity was matched by May 2005's Be, which was nominated for Best Rap Album, at the 2006 Grammy Awards. Common was awarded his second Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, for "Southside" (featuring Kanye West), from his July 2007 album Finding Forever. His best-of album, Thisisme Then: The Best of Common, was released on November 27, 2007.

Common won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his song " Glory" from the 2014 film Selma, in which he co-starred as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel. Common's acting career also includes starring significant roles in the films Smokin' Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, Wanted, Terminator Salvation, Date Night, Just Wright, Happy Feet Two, New Year's Eve and Run All Night. He also narrated the award-winning documentary Bouncing Cats, about one man's efforts to improve the lives of children in Uganda through hip-hop/b-boy culture. He starred as Elam Ferguson on the AMC western television series Hell on Wheels.

Common (liturgy)

The common or common of saints (Latin: commune sanctorum) is a part of the Christian liturgy that consists of texts common to an entire category of saints, such as apostles or martyrs. The term is used in contrast to the ordinary, which is that part of the liturgy that is reasonably constant, or at least selected without regard to date, and to the proper, which is the part of the liturgy that varies according to the date, either representing an observance within the liturgical year, or of a particular saint or significant event.

Commons contain collects, psalms, readings from scripture, prefaces, and other portions of services that are common to a category of saints. This contrasts with propers, which contain the same elements as commons, but are tailored to specific occasions or feasts. Commons may be used to celebrate lesser feasts and observances in the Church calendar.

Common (film)

Common is a 2014 BBC One 90-minute made-for-television drama, written by Jimmy McGovern, directed by David Blair and starring Michelle Fairley, Nico Mirallegro and Michael Gambon. It seeks to question some of the issues and challenges raised by England's common purpose legal doctrine.

Usage examples of "common".

Now a band of such common men, with perhaps a few uncommon ones hidden among them, was being marched into that temple.

By common consent of the entire profession they are among the ablest judges who ever sat on the Supreme Bench.

Two of the cadavers Larch had worked with in medical school had been victims of a rather common household aborticide of the time: turpentine.

In the small hours the common room slowly emptied as even those who had rooms abovestairs staggered off to find their beds.

Its odour is lemon-like, and depends on a volatile essential oil which consists chiefly of absinthol, and is common to the other Wormwoods.

That this should be so accords both with common sense and the customary understanding of the legal profession.

Shortly after Britain formally applied for membership in the European Common Market, a meeting of the Commonwealth Economic Con-, sultative Council was convened at Accra, in Ghana, to explore the difficulties to Commonwealth trade that might arise.

A mild analgesic in common use is acetylsalicylic acid, better known by what was originally a trade-name, aspirin.

His aggressive appearance was further enhanced by a trait common among achondroplastic dwarfs: because their tubular bones are shortened, their muscle mass is concentrated, creating an impression of considerable strength.

It is a common practice with assayers to carry the first attack of the sample with acids to dryness, and to take up with a fresh portion of acid.

It denied, in the second place, that there is any principle of law, common or otherwise, which pervades the Union except such as are embodied in the Constitution and the acts of Congress.

Passing through New York, Adams bought two copies of a small anonymous pamphlet, newly published under the title Common Sense.

WHAT NEITHER JOHN DICKINSON nor John Adams nor anyone could have anticipated was the stunning effect of Common Sense.

By the time Adams had resumed his place in Congress a month later, Common Sense had gone into a third edition and was sweeping the colonies.

Friends in Massachusetts reported to Adams that because of Common Sense the clamor for a declaration of independence was never greater.