Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Common sense \Com"mon sense"\ See Common sense, under Sense.
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.]
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.
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.
Often met with; usual; frequent; customary.
Grief more than common grief.
Not distinguished or exceptional; inconspicuous; ordinary; plebeian; -- often in a depreciatory sense.
The honest, heart-felt enjoyment of common life.
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.
Profane; polluted. [Obs.]
What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
--Acts x. 15.
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.
A supposed sense which was held to be the common bond of all the others. [Obs.]
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.
Sense \Sense\, n. [L. sensus, from sentire, sensum, to perceive, to feel, from the same root as E. send; cf. OHG. sin sense, mind, sinnan to go, to journey, G. sinnen to meditate, to think: cf. F. sens. For the change of meaning cf. See, v. t. See Send, and cf. Assent, Consent, Scent, v. t., Sentence, Sentient.]
(Physiol.) A faculty, possessed by animals, of perceiving external objects by means of impressions made upon certain organs (sensory or sense organs) of the body, or of perceiving changes in the condition of the body; as, the senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. See Muscular sense, under Muscular, and Temperature sense, under Temperature.
Let fancy still my sense in Lethe steep.
What surmounts the reach Of human sense I shall delineate.
The traitor Sense recalls The soaring soul from rest.
Perception by the sensory organs of the body; sensation; sensibility; feeling.
In a living creature, though never so great, the sense and the affects of any one part of the body instantly make a transcursion through the whole.
Perception through the intellect; apprehension; recognition; understanding; discernment; appreciation.
This Basilius, having the quick sense of a lover.
--Sir P. Sidney.
High disdain from sense of injured merit.
Sound perception and reasoning; correct judgment; good mental capacity; understanding; also, that which is sound, true, or reasonable; rational meaning. ``He speaks sense.''
He raves; his words are loose As heaps of sand, and scattering wide from sense.
That which is felt or is held as a sentiment, view, or opinion; judgment; notion; opinion.
I speak my private but impartial sense With freedom.
The municipal council of the city had ceased to speak the sense of the citizens.
Meaning; import; signification; as, the true sense of words or phrases; the sense of a remark.
So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense.
--Neh. viii. 8.
I think 't was in another sense.
Moral perception or appreciation.
Some are so hardened in wickedness as to have no sense of the most friendly offices.
(Geom.) One of two opposite directions in which a line, surface, or volume, may be supposed to be described by the motion of a point, line, or surface. Common sense, according to Sir W. Hamilton:
``The complement of those cognitions or convictions which we receive from nature, which all men possess in common, and by which they test the truth of knowledge and the morality of actions.''
``The faculty of first principles.'' These two are the philosophical significations.
``Such ordinary complement of intelligence, that,if a person be deficient therein, he is accounted mad or foolish.''
When the substantive is emphasized: ``Native practical intelligence, natural prudence, mother wit, tact in behavior, acuteness in the observation of character, in contrast to habits of acquired learning or of speculation.''
Moral sense. See under Moral, (a) .
The inner sense, or The internal sense, capacity of the mind to be aware of its own states; consciousness; reflection. ``This source of ideas every man has wholly in himself, and though it be not sense, as having nothing to do with external objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called internal sense.''
Sense capsule (Anat.), one of the cartilaginous or bony cavities which inclose, more or less completely, the organs of smell, sight, and hearing.
Sense organ (Physiol.), a specially irritable mechanism by which some one natural force or form of energy is enabled to excite sensory nerves; as the eye, ear, an end bulb or tactile corpuscle, etc.
Sense organule (Anat.), one of the modified epithelial cells in or near which the fibers of the sensory nerves terminate.
Syn: Understanding; reason.
Usage: Sense, Understanding, Reason. Some philosophers have given a technical signification to these terms, which may here be stated. Sense is the mind's acting in the direct cognition either of material objects or of its own mental states. In the first case it is called the outer, in the second the inner, sense. Understanding is the logical faculty, i. e., the power of apprehending under general conceptions, or the power of classifying, arranging, and making deductions. Reason is the power of apprehending those first or fundamental truths or principles which are the conditions of all real and scientific knowledge, and which control the mind in all its processes of investigation and deduction. These distinctions are given, not as established, but simply because they often occur in writers of the present day.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
14c., originally the power of uniting mentally the impressions conveyed by the five physical senses, thus "ordinary understanding, without which one is foolish or insane" (Latin sensus communis, Greek koine aisthesis); meaning "good sense" is from 1726. Also, as an adjective, commonsense.
n. 1 (context obsolete English) An internal sense, formerly believed to be the sense by which information from the other five senses is understood and interpreted. 2 Ordinary sensible understanding; one's basic intelligence which allows for plain understanding and without which good decisions or judgments cannot be made.
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine in 1775–76 advocating independence from Great Britain to people in the Thirteen Colonies. Written in clear and persuasive prose, Paine marshaled moral and political arguments to encourage common people in the Colonies to fight for egalitarian government. It was published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution, and became an immediate sensation.
It was sold and distributed widely and read aloud at taverns and meeting places. In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best selling American title, and is still in print today.
Common Sense made public a persuasive and impassioned case for independence, which before the pamphlet had not yet been given serious intellectual consideration. He connected independence with common dissenting Protestant beliefs as a means to present a distinctly American political identity, structuring Common Sense as if it were a sermon. Historian Gordon S. Wood described Common Sense as "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire revolutionary era".
The text was translated into French by Antoine Gilbert Griffet de Labaume in 1790.
Common Sense is an American reggae and alternative rock band from Orange County, California. They are known for playing in the Mercury Mariner commercial. Since their formation in 1987, they have released five albums under their own label, Common Sense Records. They perform periodically at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, California, and have, in the past, been members of the summer music and sports festival, Warped Tour.
They are also known for making the Chicago rapper formerly known as Common Sense, change his name to Common over legal issues.
Common Sense was a monthly political magazine named after the pamphlet by Thomas Paine and published in the United States between 1932 and 1946.
Common Sense was founded in 1932 by two Yale University graduates, Selden Rodman, and Alfred Bingham, son of United States Senator Hiram Bingham III. It was positioned to the left of liberalism but critical of Communism, with its contributors often being democratic socialists of one kind or another. Politically the magazine tended to support progressive, left-of-center, independent political action in farmer-labor parties.
The magazine attracted a broad range of contributors, largely but not exclusively from the independent left, including Roger N. Baldwin, Carleton Beals, V. F. Calverton, John Chamberlain, Stuart Chase, Miriam Allen DeFord, Lawrence Dennis, John Dewey, John Dos Passos, Theodore Dreiser, John T. Flynn, J. B. S. Hardman, Morris Hillquit, Sidney Hook, Jay Lovestone, H. L. Mencken, Dwight Macdonald, Lewis Mumford, A. J. Muste, James Rorty, Howard Scott, Upton Sinclair, Mary Heaton Vorse, Mary McCarthy, Charles W. Yost, Stephen Spender, and Edmund Wilson.
In his book The Politics of Upheaval, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. stated that during the early New Deal years of the Great Depression, Common Sense became "the most lively and interesting forum of radical discussion in the country." In 1946 the magazine was absorbed by The American Mercury.
Common Sense, subtitled "A new constitution for Britain" is a book written by the British Labour politician Tony Benn and the journalist Andrew Hood.
The Common Sense series included thirteen political books published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in the United Kingdom during the early 1960s. They were intended to provide a general objective background on a particular topic and were addressed at the general reader who did not have specialised knowledge of the field. They were generally well received.
Common sense refers to beliefs or propositions that seem to many people to be prudent and sound in judgment without dependence upon esoteric knowledge.
Common Sense may also refer to:
Common Sense is the fourth album by American folk singer and songwriter John Prine, released in 1975.
Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge things, which is shared by ("common to") nearly all people and can reasonably be expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.
The everyday understanding of common sense is derived from philosophical discussion involving several European languages. Related terms in other languages include Latin , Greek (koinē aísthēsis), and French , but these are not straightforward translations in all contexts. Similarly in English, there are different shades of meaning, implying more or less education and wisdom: "good sense" is sometimes seen as equivalent to "common sense", and sometimes not.
"Common sense" has at least two specifically philosophical meanings. One is a capability of the animal soul (Greek psukhē) proposed by Aristotle, which enables different individual senses to collectively perceive the characteristics of physical things such as movement and size, which all physical things have in different combinations, allowing people and other animals to distinguish and identify physical things. This common sense is distinct from basic sensory perception and from human rational thinking, but cooperates with both. The second special use of the term is Roman-influenced and is used for the natural human sensitivity for other humans and the community. Just like the everyday meaning, both of these refer to a type of basic awareness and ability to judge which most people are expected to share naturally, even if they can not explain why.
All these meanings of "common sense", including the everyday one, are inter-connected in a complex history and have evolved during important political and philosophical debates in modern western civilisation, notably concerning science, politics and economics. The interplay between the meanings has come to be particularly notable in English, as opposed to other western European languages, and the English term has become international.
In modern times the term "common sense" has frequently been used for rhetorical effect, sometimes pejorative, and sometimes appealed to positively, as an authority. It can be negatively equated to vulgar prejudice and superstition, or on the contrary it is often positively contrasted to them as a standard for good taste and as the source of the most basic axioms needed for science and logic. This began with Descartes' criticism of it, and what came to be known as the dispute between " rationalism" and " empiricism". In the opening line of one of his most famous books, Discourse on Method, Descartes established the most common modern meaning, and its controversies, when he stated that everyone has a similar and sufficient amount of common sense (bon sens), but it is rarely used well. Therefore, a skeptical logical method described by Descartes needs to be followed and common sense should not be overly relied upon. Part I of the Discourse on Method. NOTE: The term in French is "bon sens" sometimes translated as "good sense". The opening lines in English translation read:
"Good Sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess. And in this it is not likely that all are mistaken: the conviction is rather to be held as testifying that the power of judging aright and of distinguishing Truth from Error, which is properly what is called Good Sense or Reason, is by nature equal in all men; and that the diversity of our opinions, consequently, does not arise from some being endowed with a larger share of Reason than others, but solely from this, that we conduct our thoughts along different ways, and do not fix our attention on the same objects. For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellencies, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it."
In the ensuing 18th century Enlightenment, common sense came to be seen more positively as the basis for modern thinking. It was contrasted to metaphysics, which was, like Cartesianism, associated with the ancien régime. Thomas Paine's polemical pamphlet Common Sense (1776) has been described as the most influential political pamphlet of the 18th century, affecting both the American and French revolutions. Today, the concept of common sense, and how it should best be used, remains linked to many of the most perennial topics in epistemology and ethics, with special focus often directed at the philosophy of the modern social sciences.
Usage examples of "common sense".
It means we trust people to use their own common sense instead of relying on other people to tell them what to do.