One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1treated as plural People without special rank or position, usually viewed as an estate of the realm.‘a petition by the earls, barons, and commonalty of the realm’
- ‘He then addresses the commonalty in a speech, desiring them to proceed to a new election.’
- ‘To work out electoral procedures for the new city officers, a body of 80 persons was created to represent the commonalty.’
- ‘In the same year the bishop and the commonalty of the port of Hythe founded a hospital.’
- ‘The growing prestige of Parliament as an institution gave the aristocracy a powerful base from which to challenge the monarchy and defend itself against the commonalty.’
- 1.1 The general body of a group.‘the expression seems to be spreading from teenagers to the broad commonalty’
- ‘The Ordinances made provisions to ensure good workmanship, arranged conditions of work and required payments to be made to the Commonalty of London and to the alms box of the guild by all those entering the craft.’
- ‘It is clear, however, that while Shakespeare suggests linguistic community or commonalty in this scene and a leveling of differences, the power relationship remains vertical and hierarchical, with England and English on top.’
Middle English: from Old French comunalte, from medieval Latin communalitas, from Latin communis ‘common, general’ (see common).
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