Definition of common in English:



  • 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’
    • ‘The idea that if it's legal then it must be safe is a very common misconception.’
    • ‘‘Can't somebody do something about all this?’ was the common refrain.’
    • ‘Anemia is a very common cause of fatigue.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘On the radio they are saying the gale-force winds we've had today are common for this time of year.’
    • ‘However, the affordability of healthy food is difficult for the common masses.’
    • ‘In rural areas, it is common for three or more generations to live in the same household.’
    • ‘Upper respiratory infections are common at this time of year so try to tighten up on hygiene.’
    • ‘Wooden houses are common along the Caspian coast.’
    • ‘Reports indicate that it is common practice to lock students inside dormitories at night.’
    • ‘Today it is common to see men taking care of their children in public.’
    • ‘Stories like these have become increasingly common on college campuses.’
    • ‘Late financial statements, reports or tax returns are the most common occurrences.’
    • ‘Serious health problems are more common than people think.’
    • ‘It is fairly common for university students, either during or after their education, to go abroad to teach.’
    • ‘In some countries, especially developing countries, certain diseases are common among the people.’
    • ‘Depression is common in older adults, including those with Alzheimer's disease, and is often untreated.’
    • ‘Contact with hot items, chemicals or electricity are also fairly common causes of the burn injury.’
    • ‘Recurrent symptoms were particularly common in younger patients.’
    • ‘In the past it was common to find quite different spellings for the same locality.’
    • ‘When children fight, it is common for a general sense of tension to spread throughout the group.’
    usual, ordinary, customary, habitual, familiar, regular, frequent, repeated, recurrent, routine, everyday, daily, day-to-day, quotidian, standard, typical
    widespread, general, universal, popular, mainstream, prevalent, prevailing, rife, established, well established, conventional, traditional, traditionalist, orthodox, accepted
    View synonyms
    1. 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’
      • ‘Given that my horticultural expertise is limited to identifying about a dozen of the more common flowers, it's a curious choice.’
      • ‘My parents always had feeders up, so I knew what all the common birds were when I was relatively small.’
      • ‘Rats were very common in towns and cities and lead to the Black Death of 1348 to 1349.’
      • ‘Priority species such as the song thrush, ring plover and reed bunting birds are now common there.’
      • ‘On the M40 they have replaced the kestrel as the common bird of prey.’
      • ‘A fairly common species all over India, the barn owls have adapted well to our cities.’
      • ‘Grouse are common birds in Ontario forests and are one of the tastiest as well.’
      • ‘Three types of sharks are common in the area: the sand tiger shark, bull shark and scalloped hammerhead.’
      • ‘Grouse, ravens and buzzards may be seen, and red deer are common.’
      • ‘Crab spiders are common and occur in fairly high numbers on most crops and garden plants.’
      • ‘Acorns come from oak trees, which were a very common tree in Medieval England.’
      • ‘Rose, gladiolus, carnation and dahlia are some of the common flowers that are in style with customers.’
      • ‘The sighting of the black neck crane and several other rare and common birds in the area kept my spirit and interest buoyant.’
      • ‘One thing is certain the once common cuckoo is now very rare indeed.’
      • ‘The common weed Hypericum perforatum or St John's wort is an altogether friendlier type of plant.’
      • ‘Another diver in the party spotted a John Dory, and these appear to be quite common in the area.’
      • ‘Turtles are common, and the reef is packed with octopuses.’
      • ‘This large and beautiful shrub is so common in Alabama that we forget what a regional specialty it is.’
      • ‘One thing he's learned is that common weeds can treat everything from stomach aches to open wounds.’
      • ‘No experience is needed, although you need to be able to identify common trees and shrubs.’
    2. 1.2Denoting the most widespread or typical species of an animal or plant.
      ‘the common gull’
      • ‘Is this the start of some evolutionary change, where ducks replace the common pigeon?’
      • ‘While the common oak tree tends to have a broad frame, the pin oak has a more slender frame with a graceful framework of branchlets.’
      • ‘The Marsh Frog is a bit like the common frog but greener and its head is more pointed.’
      • ‘As black-headed and common gulls tend to feed on farmland, it seems likely that farmland is the origin of the outbreak.’
      • ‘The common mouse spider appears to be similar to the funnel web and responds to funnel web antivenom.’
      • ‘In my garden I am happily growing the common primrose, cultivated cowslips, and primulas.’
      • ‘The common fly already knows its way, in and out of the fly-bottle, and anywhere else it wants to go.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We here in the East are limited to the common crow, blue jay and, in the western part of our state, to the raven.’
    3. 1.3Ordinary; of ordinary qualities; without special rank or position.
      ‘the dwellings of common people’
      ‘a common soldier’
      • ‘Because it is difficult work then - not anyone of the rest of us normal common folks can understand Law.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Alert to the yearnings of the common man, they knew their security of position depended utterly on restraining the horde.’
      • ‘Despite their variety, some of the better memoirs come from the perspective of the common soldier.’
      • ‘Yet, because the common mass of humanity was so far beneath him, he had nothing but contempt for it.’
      • ‘Instead, in the supposed century of the common man, the poor man's king largely disappears from serious history.’
      • ‘It is, in a way, the only menace with multiple potentials to perturb the normal life of the common man.’
      • ‘It was clear from their dress that this was no common day.’
      • ‘We still think that we produce really high-quality product, but we also produce enough of it and cheap enough that common people can afford it.’
      • ‘The translation of the whole Bible into English for the common people began only with John Wycliffe.’
      • ‘Why isn't there a diet for the common folks who want results fast?’
      • ‘The bad news is that there will inevitably be job losses in the hundreds, if not thousands, among the ranks of common bank workers.’
      • ‘Should the poet suppress or remove subtleties of thought that are over the head of the common reader?’
      • ‘She is divided between the class system; she is both an educated reader and a common worker.’
      • ‘Life in the city for the common people is a relentless struggle to keep out of trouble and keep your head above water.’
      ordinary, normal, typical, average, unexceptional, run-of-the-mill, plain, simple
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4(of a quality) of a sort or level to be generally expected.
      ‘common decency’
      • ‘They depend upon the social concern and common decency of ordinary people.’
      • ‘Gordon Brown will get a lot more respect by forgetting the flags and getting on with a more familiar agenda of common decency.’
      • ‘Colin suggested that Mr Kenny consider sending him on a ‘crash course for basic manners and common courtesy.’’
      • ‘It is unfair to employers, too, whose interests are not overriding but are nonetheless owed common honesty.’
      • ‘She replied bluntly, not bothering with the common courtesy Elizabeth expected.’
      • ‘For them, common decency has no place in a fight for their cause.’
      general, collective, non-specific, inclusive, all-inclusive, all-encompassing, broad, comprehensive, blanket, umbrella, sweeping, universal, cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5Of the most familiar type.
      ‘the common or vernacular name’
      • ‘The box shows what other entries there are, and how the botanical species relate to common names.’
      • ‘Dioxin is the common name used to refer to the chemical tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin or TCDD.’
      • ‘I am not for the word becoming part of the common, everyday vernacular, but it still is.’
      • ‘Some complained that they found memorizing the scientific names and common names of 48 crops difficult for a freshman level class.’
      • ‘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.’
      familiar, widely known, popular, usual, everyday, customary, conventional, established
      View synonyms
  • 2Shared by, coming from, or done by two or more people, groups, or things.

    ‘the two republics' common border’
    ‘problems common to both communities’
    • ‘Most boys my age I found to be a total mystery, and I could find little common interest.’
    • ‘Brazil shares common borders with 10 other countries in South America.’
    • ‘The partnership reflects our common heritage and position in Bradford.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But the problem is the lack of common agreement on just what the governments do regard as terrorism.’
    • ‘The Philippines lacks a common language and about eighty languages and dialects are spoken in the islands.’
    • ‘One problem which is also common to other isolated islands is a shortage of cold fresh water.’
    • ‘Thus we can say there is empirical support for the existence of the last common ancestor.’
    • ‘I wanted to run with the pack of cousins and friends in the common yard that connected all our properties.’
    • ‘A common thread through most of the stories is the support from the family.’
    • ‘In the event of an imminent threat of war, the two parties would take a common defense position.’
    • ‘This type of moral narrative appears to have been common to Near Eastern civilizations.’
    • ‘In civil cases, experts are now invited to work out common positions and identify areas of disagreement before they go into court.’
    • ‘Finding a common enemy is the simplest way to unite a people.’
    • ‘The similarity exists but is not likely to be an indication of common ancestry.’
    • ‘He seemed to me to be really old, but even in death to be lacking in that common frailty I tended to view all the elderly as possessing.’
    • ‘The European Union is supposed to have a common foreign policy.’
    • ‘I regret that in our own country there has been a lamentable lack of interest in our common European inheritance.’
    • ‘Now, I'd probably get bored by our lack of common interests and go out with a librarian instead.’
    collective, communal, community, public, popular, general
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Belonging to or involving the whole of a community or the public at large.
      ‘common land’
      • ‘Not a nation founded on race but on a common culture, respects and language.’
      • ‘On the tenth it was decreed that all common lands might be redistributed among inhabitants of the communities where they were situated.’
      • ‘From this perspective, culture is seen as the lifeline of communities with a common tradition.’
      • ‘There were no community initiatives to develop common properties.’
      • ‘In fact, these bikers are committing offences of driving on common land and causing a public nuisance, which can both carry up to six months in prison.’
      • ‘The first measures to divide the common lands among local communities were taken in the late 1780s.’
      • ‘If we really want to create a common culture, we need to ask the awkward questions of what our society believes in and be prepared to fight for hearts and minds.’
      • ‘George offered a principle for distinguishing individual rights from common rights.’
      • ‘There would still be a public institutional complex ruling authoritatively on the common affairs of the community.’
      • ‘They are wilfully ignoring the vital creative role of the public domain in reinvigorating our common culture.’
      • ‘This is surely appropriate for common land which should be for the use of all the community, not just a minority of car-owning commuters.’
      • ‘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.’
      collective, communal, community, public, popular, general
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Mathematics Belonging to two or more quantities.
      • ‘Euclid's Elements is full of algorithms for geometry, including one to find the greatest common divisor of two numbers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I don't know how to do the least common multiple and the least common denominator.’
      • ‘In fact, there will not be a Fibonacci number as a common factor between two neighbouring Fibonacci's for the same reason.’
  • 3British Showing a lack of taste and refinement supposedly typical of the lower classes; vulgar.

    derogatory ‘she's so common’
    • ‘These days, however, Labour ministers probably make tycoons feel positively common.’
    • ‘Cliff is just too common to be accepted into a world dominated by the likes of long-standing regional bowls champion Ray Smith.’
    • ‘Oh, nothing would surprise them when it came to that common little harlot.’
    • ‘They don't look any different from regular clerks or salesmen, with their plain clothes and common haircuts.’
    • ‘Any more of those f-words and God forbid they might start thinking about letting rough common children into these private tennis clubs.’
    • ‘Then, from our comfortable seats, we raised a glass at the ranks of common buses.’
    • ‘Tales of playing bridge and how dreadfully common the South of France has become for holidays conclude with the observation that ‘scientists are the new rock and roll stars’.’
    • ‘Bryan was a vulgar and common man, a cad undiluted.’
    • ‘Smoking is also quite tacky, it makes you look cheap and common.’
    • ‘It's almost as common and vulgar as chewing gum while you're serving customers.’
    uncouth, vulgar, coarse, rough, unsavoury, boorish, rude, impolite, ill-mannered, unladylike, ungentlemanly, ill-bred, uncivilized, unsophisticated, unrefined, philistine, primitive, savage, brutish, oafish, gross
    View synonyms
  • 4Grammar
    (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.

    1. 4.1(in English) denoting a noun that refers to individuals of either sex (e.g. teacher).
  • 5Prosody
    (of a syllable) able to be either short or long.

  • 6Law
    (of a crime) of lesser severity.

    ‘common assault’
    • ‘The exceptional categories plainly apply to offences more serious than common assault, but no court has ever decided how far they go.’
    • ‘Tring admitted a series of offences, including common assault, threatening behaviour, theft and criminal damage.’
    • ‘A GMP spokesman said the crime falls under the common assault category, a conviction for which could lead up to five years in jail.’
    • ‘A life is precious, and unlike a common theft, once taken, it can never be given back.’
    • ‘He was charged with affray and common assault rather than violent disorder and was jailed for six months.’


  • 1A piece of open land for public use.

    ‘we spent the morning tramping over the common looking for flowers’
    • ‘Therefore, George advocated allowing landowners to keep a small percentage of the land rent, mainly to avoid the prospect of having all unimproved land revert to the commons.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When we were living in wagons on the commons we had a bullet come through a windscreen.’
    • ‘Many of the parks and commons have Management Groups made up of local users.’
    • ‘There were, though, efforts to assert property rights within the commons and, apparently, to remove some trees from the commons.’
    • ‘Whenever the local lairds tried to graze their beasts on the Selkirk commons hundreds of folk would turn out to drive them off.’
    • ‘The various reactions to the perceived enclosure of the commons summarized above come at the problem from different angles.’
    • ‘In fact, it is a business that in our view involves people in businesses being able to make a private profit from an activity conducted on, and in, the public commons.’
    • ‘Maybe it is time that the Council reviewed the laws that govern our parks and commons.’
    • ‘In Lincolnshire people opposing encroachments on rights of commons emphasized the law of the land as the basis of their claim.’
    • ‘It is about allocating space on the commons or in public areas.’
    • ‘The actuality is a privatisation of the commons.’
    • ‘It says the council's primary role is to maintain the commons as a public amenity, rather than restore the area as a heathland habitat.’
    • ‘The council is responsible for maintaining more than 100 parks, open spaces, commons and woodlands which attract around five million visitors a year.’
    • ‘Miller was tacitly in favour of the open landscape, if his vivid and often sentimental descriptions of the surrounding open fields, commons and wastes are anything to go by.’
    • ‘It will be designed to protect its amenities and preserve its open nature as a public common.’
    • ‘Regan said: ‘Men are often robbed and attacked while using London's parks and commons.’’
    • ‘Some things would be free, such as fruit from trees planted on the commons.’
    • ‘If you open up the commons for everyone to graze their sheep, one person is going to go get their whole flock.’
    • ‘The general parceling out led to the disappearance of the commons when the land not divided among landowners was given to the crown.’
  • 2British informal Common sense.

    • ‘Have a bit of common.’
    • ‘It comes down to being sage, and using a bit of common, really.’
    good sense, sense, sensibleness, native wit, native intelligence, mother wit, wit, judgement, sound judgement, level-headedness, prudence, discernment, acumen, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, canniness, astuteness, shrewdness, judiciousness, wisdom, insight, intuition, intuitiveness, perceptiveness, perspicacity, vision, understanding, intelligence, reason, powers of reasoning
    View synonyms
  • 3(in the Christian Church) a form of service used for each of a group of occasions.

  • 4English Law
    A person's right over another's land, e.g. for pasturage or mineral extraction.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Forest's designation as a National Park will not affect the rights of common, the New Forest Acts or the role of the verderers, who manage the commoning system.’
    • ‘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.’


  • common currency

    • 1A system of money shared by two or more countries.

      • ‘A common currency removes a significant barrier to free competition across national borders.’
      • ‘The mere creation of a common currency does not provide the basis for the harmonious development of economic life across the continent.’
      • ‘The first time the British specifically approached the question of joining a common currency was in 1979.’
      • ‘The decision at Maastricht to adopt a common currency was momentous.’
      • ‘In West Africa, leaders have set a new target date for the introduction of a common currency.’
      • ‘Both leaders noted their now common currency, the euro.’
      • ‘You have to make them all match up to a common currency.’
      • ‘I should be happy to see a common currency.’
      • ‘The euro became the common currency unit for 304 million Europeans.’
      • ‘In a monetary union the participating countries have either entirely fixed exchange rates or a common currency.’
    • 2Something shared by different groups.

      ‘a shared humanity is the common currency’
      • ‘Given the limitations of all terminologies in common currency there is a difficulty about how best to proceed.’
      • ‘At the hub is the hairdresser, doing what they love, surrounded by their friends in a world where compliments are common currency.’
      • ‘A generation later this reproach no longer had any common currency.’
      • ‘In an arena like this, full of intelligent storytellers, ideas seem to be a common currency.’
      • ‘Images of all imaginable sorts are the common currency of the internet-connected business place.’
      • ‘Also sports is a common currency of casual conversation for many people in the U.S., especially men.’
      • ‘Celebrities are also common currency in our socially fractured world.’
      • ‘Coincidentally, that sort of language is common currency in Middle East conflict.’
      • ‘The esthetic issues that uniquely fascinated Daniel Spoerri four decades ago are today common currency.’
      • ‘The idea that many people making small changes can bring major shifts is now common currency.’
  • common form

    • What is usually done; accepted procedure.

      ‘it is nowadays common form to acknowledge Pound's generosity to other writers’
      • ‘As the will has already been proved in common form, Miss Borden would have to commence a probate action to challenge it.’
      • ‘The hitherto unformulated idea of a profession of journalism takes shape in clauses which assume what was then becoming common form.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘A country is a group of people who have realised they have enough in common to band together for the common good.’
      • ‘Any such move would be ‘in the interests of the common good of the local community’.’
      • ‘Laws protecting the common good are now running to catch up with private interest.’
      • ‘Mr Mahon noted that the trustees of the site put the common good to the forefront and promised them a development they could be proud of.’
      • ‘At present they are making too many sacrifices for the common good.’
      • ‘We must show our commitment to the common good, which is bigger than any person or any party.’
      • ‘If I desire the common good, it is for the benefit of my religion or my country or my republic.’
      • ‘She felt, in the interest of the common good, the area should be retained as a green area.’
      • ‘I view our relationship as one of strong allies and friends working together for the common good.’
      • ‘We have to remember that fundamental social problems grow out of a lack of commitment to the common good.’
  • common ground

    • Opinions or interests shared by each of two or more parties.

      ‘artists from different cultural backgrounds found common ground’
      • ‘The common ground we all share is our concern for the well-being of the children in our care.’
      • ‘It assumes a multiplicity of class views, not just one class view though there may be much common ground.’
      • ‘Shadia smiled at the two, glad that they had found some common ground on which to grow a friendship.’
      • ‘I'm only on the first chapter, but it's interesting how much common ground we have.’
      • ‘They show what could be achieved when organisations share their objectives and find common ground.’
      • ‘The common ground between the three parties is one of democratic reform.’
      • ‘White and Robeson share further common ground in that both have played Othello.’
      • ‘In the main you can usually find common ground with people and establish a decent relationship.’
      • ‘What's interesting is that all these women can read the same magazine and find some common ground.’
      • ‘Let me report just a little bit about some common ground that has begun to emerge in my hometown.’
  • common knowledge

    • Something known by most people.

      ‘it's common knowledge that no one has yet found a cure for cancer’
      • ‘These facts are common knowledge among Canadians from coast to coast to coast.’
      • ‘When she was given bail, her family expressed concern that if her bail address became common knowledge she could be attacked.’
      • ‘It was common knowledge among the staff that Emma had an insane crush on Ben.’
      • ‘Broccoli and almonds are chock full of calcium, but this does not seem to be common knowledge.’
      • ‘This would create the impression that the lie was in fact common knowledge across the state.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Contrary to common knowledge Bruce is actually a very nice and accommodating rock star!’
      • ‘Shortly after the incident became common knowledge at the program, she ran away.’
      • ‘He was adopted by his uncle and that's about the extent of his personal life that is common knowledge.’
  • common or garden

    • informal Of the usual or ordinary type.

      ‘a common or garden family saloon car’
      • ‘As has been uttered a thousand times it is not your common or garden Scottish golf course.’
      • ‘If you feel that the red varieties are a bit common or garden, choose Peach Melba, which has bright yellow flowers blotched with red.’
      • ‘Thinking he had common or garden flu, his family dosed him with aspirin and tucked him up in bed.’
      • ‘Can you not be trusted to make these decisions that everyday, common or garden human beings make?’
      • ‘However for the majority of mobile phone users, the common or garden variety of telephone handset that is available from any good electrical retailer will do just as well.’
      • ‘My wife asked for cheese and biscuits for £3.85, and this wasn't your common or garden cheddar or Brie.’
      • ‘I mean, are these common or garden mildly psychotic impulses, or are they going to progress?’
      • ‘The owner, Ian Schrager, describes the hotel as a ‘boutique’ in order to delineate his establishment from the other common or garden luxury hotels.’
      • ‘Let's start with the common or garden variety of discrimination that happens in our school and workplaces, even on our sporting fields - bullying.’
      • ‘Simply take one common or garden, household bucket - clean.’
      ordinary, run-of-the-mill, middle-of-the-road, mainstream, unremarkable, unexceptional, undistinguished, uninspired, unexciting, unmemorable, forgettable, indifferent, average, so-so, mediocre, pedestrian, prosaic, lacklustre, dull, bland, uninteresting, mundane, everyday, quotidian, humdrum, hackneyed, trite, banal, clichéd, predictable, overused, overdone, overworked, stale, worn out, time-worn, tired, unoriginal, derivative
      View synonyms
  • common property

    • 1A thing or things held jointly.

      ‘the atmosphere is the common property of every nation on earth’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Under what conditions do people engage actively in building rights to common property and by so doing increase biodiversity?’
      • ‘He wants to see the women's cooperative, which has already built a greenhouse on common property, succeed in selling their vegetables.’
      • ‘A 1967 United Nations resolution deems the universe and all heavenly bodies therein as ‘our common property which cannot be made national property’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Fisheries and common land grazing are overexploited because they are either common property, or open access, owned by all.’
      • ‘The English incorporated Roman concepts of common property and public rights into both the Magna Charta and the English common law.’
      • ‘Most grievous was the damage done when governments took over common property, causing the breakdown of sophisticated community-based regulations and institutions.’
      • ‘He also explores the circumstances in which the privatization of previously common property might be feasible and legitimate.’
      1. 1.1Something known by most people.
        ‘the general theory of climate change has now become common property’
        • ‘In making its collections and knowledge about them common property, a museum like the British Museum realises its value.’
        • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Civil rights groups are still searching for a common thread to unite progressives in a struggle for racial justice.’
      • ‘Families are working with investigators to find any common threads in the women's lives.’
      • ‘Stories from all kinds of different cultures have common threads running through them.’
      • ‘The common thread in most of the cases: bioscience gone evil.’
      • ‘I don't find any scriptural authority for finding common thread.’
      • ‘A common thread across all 3 cities was disproportionate praise.’
      • ‘The blatant lack of cooperation only complicated the inexperienced Cabinet's ability to devise a common thread of economic policymaking.’
      • ‘History is whole - he is unable to excommunicate himself from the common thread.’
      • ‘A lack of accountability to the people is the common thread between them.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Made-for-media photo ops are the aim of this game, but politicians long ago lost the common touch, the ability to relate to everyday people.’
      • ‘He is a wooden, boring, uninspiring, unconvincing orator, who completely lacked the common touch or any real ability to communicate with voters.’
      • ‘She is, it said, the ‘darling of the Edinburgh chattering classes’ and, as such, ‘may lack the common touch which is needed to attain truly mass appeal’.’
      • ‘He was one of those unique people who became very successful but never lost the common touch.’
      • ‘Another millionaire playboy - Forbes put his personal wealth at $225 million - still has the common touch.’
      • ‘He has that common touch that many politicians lack.’
      • ‘All were undoubtedly taken by the President's amiable nature and her remarkable ability for the common touch among young and old alike.’
      • ‘If the Party is to have universal appeal, and to win back the floating vote, (desperate to find a straw to cling to), we need someone with the common touch.’
      • ‘Mick Hurley was held in genuinely high esteem by his work colleagues, being noted as a considerate and approachable man who had the gift of the common touch.’
      • ‘Unlike some religious and other leaders, the late pontiff never lost the common touch - a quality which distinguishes great leaders from poor ones.’
  • 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’
      • ‘To our contemporary ears this list is quite various; it is hard to think that they all have any interesting characteristics in common.’
      • ‘What soon emerges is that these two women have an eerie amount in common.’
      • ‘Although leadership styles vary, depending upon the situation, all good leaders have certain characteristics in common.’
      • ‘Although drawn from different sectors, they have a surprising amount in common that sets them apart from the simply ‘very good‘.’
      • ‘However, tubers and rhizomes have several characteristics in common.’
      • ‘At the two extremities of our continent, the Bulgarian and French peoples share common values and have many features in common.’
      • ‘Although these microorganisms have diverse taxonomic classifications, they do have several characteristics in common.’
      • ‘We have tons in common, share a rather twisted sense of humor, and just get on so well together.’
      • ‘Older employees, having interests in common, formed one group, and the younger employees formed another.’
      • ‘Valerie added: ‘It helps that we both play as it means we have interests in common to share.’’
  • in common

    • 1In joint use or possession; shared.

      ‘a sect that had wives in common’
      • ‘We didn't share many friends in common, just some very distant acquaintances.’
      • ‘We loose sight of the fact that we are all human with far more in common than we sometimes care to acknowledge.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A couple of weeks ago two writers with seemingly very little in common happened to meet.’
      • ‘During the months and years that followed, Edwina and I discovered many interests in common.’
      • ‘The one thing they held in common was a singular interest in the top end of the game, and not our guild.’
      • ‘In its simplest sense, the word community implies people with something in common.’
      • ‘I will make no assumptions that friends with things in common will get on with each other.’
      • ‘For many years, Mrs Murphy was an asthmatic and that gave us something else in common.’
      1. 1.1Held or owned by two or more people each having undivided possession but with distinct, separately transferable interests.
        • ‘The property is to be taken in the joint names of himself and his wife. They will be tenants 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.’
        • ‘Bearing this in mind, we now look at joint tenancies and tenancies in common.’
        • ‘The parties are clearly involved in business with a view to profit, but was there is an agreement between the corporations to carry on business in common?’
  • in common with

    • In the same way as.

      ‘in common with other officers I had to undertake guard duties’
      • ‘It used to be called Beowulf Crescent but the name was changed years ago, in common with many other streets in York.’
      • ‘Tomato leaves, in common with most higher plants, use sucrose as the major form of transported carbon.’
      • ‘Suddenly, in common with the other black-shirted forwards, he looked exhausted.’
      • ‘The government is expected to turn to the right - in common with much of Europe.’
      • ‘Seems I've run out of things to say about events in the Middle East, in common with most people it would appear.’
      • ‘I must admit, in common with Britney, I've never felt sexy in any of my clothes.’
      • ‘Kennet District Council, in common with other councils, was given a housing allocation.’
      • ‘HIV is here to stay, and in common with every other virus in the world, we've no idea how to even begin curing it.’
      • ‘The Chinese, in common with many other cultures, like to send the corpse on its way with gifts placed in the coffin.’
      • ‘The organization, in common with other train companies, is often the subject of bad press.’
  • out of the common

    • Rarely occurring; unusual.

      ‘it is odd, yes, but not so out of the common’
      • ‘She was never at a loss for words out of the common, and an increasing deafness made her find talking easier than listening.’
      • ‘Nothing sharpens the wits so much as a passion out of the common.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Something out of the common was happening but I felt the need to stop it anyway.’
      unusual, uncommon, atypical, untypical, non-typical, unrepresentative, rare, isolated, irregular, anomalous, deviant, deviating, divergent, wayward, aberrant, freak, freakish
      View synonyms


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