Definition of commonplace in English:



  • 1Not unusual; ordinary.

    ‘unemployment was commonplace in his trade’
    • ‘With all these commonplace conventions, what is it that makes the file outstanding?’
    • ‘The most commonplace events are also opportunities, life-determining choices made or not made.’
    • ‘Like it or not, sponsorship deals between companies and the athletic teams are very commonplace not only in the world of pro sports but at SFU as well.’
    • ‘The talent of the comic is to make commonplace events remarkable.’
    • ‘He insists that what he is doing is to configure the commonplace issues of ordinary life.’
    • ‘He soon discovered that death was a commonplace event.’
    • ‘This is Realism at its most powerful, turning a commonplace event into an historical one.’
    • ‘The survey showed committees were far more commonplace where trade unions had representation.’
    • ‘In Rome, assassination would have been a relatively commonplace event; especially for people of the higher class.’
    • ‘The loss of a job - a sadly commonplace event in today's turbulent economic climate - is not just a blow to the wallet, but a severe hit to the psyche.’
    • ‘Human rights violations are not some sort of other worldly event, they are sometimes very commonplace.’
    • ‘A vandalised car, all but ignored by passers-by, reflects how commonplace minor crime has become in small towns.’
    • ‘A commonplace event, one would assume on a hot day.’
    • ‘Using a computer is becoming more commonplace and sometimes is an absolute necessity for your child to complete his homework assignments.’
    • ‘It would only be a matter of time before electronic devices became commonplace objects in the classroom.’
    • ‘An everyday tale of a commonplace ballet company!’
    • ‘He advocated that literature should record the writer's affectionate response to ordinary phenomena and commonplace happenings.’
    • ‘It is also, we must never forget, made from joy and the celebration of simple and ordinary and commonplace things and events.’
    • ‘This is perfectly possible for even an ordinary club level sailor - it is quite commonplace not to have to qualify for an event.’
    • ‘None of the others had noticed the little scene; it was an event too commonplace to mark.’
    common, normal, usual, ordinary, familiar, routine, standard, everyday, day-to-day, daily, regular, frequent, habitual, conventional, typical, unexceptional, unremarkable
    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
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    1. 1.1Not interesting or original; trite.
      ‘the usual commonplace remarks’
      • ‘Our visitor bore every mark of being an average commonplace British tradesman, obese, pompous, and slow.’
      • ‘The seemingly forward question sounded very trite and commonplace in the blunt honest tone she used.’
      • ‘So much more interesting than the flat, filmed performances with irritating cutting that are now commonplace.’
      • ‘Yet measles, malnutrition and diarrhoea remain tediously commonplace causes of death in all too many parts of it in the first years of the twenty-first century.’
      • ‘If you think buffets are commonplace and boring, just try the beverage buffet.’
      • ‘After a few more exceedingly commonplace remarks of the same character, she gave me to write down a list of drugs that were to be taken.’
      • ‘Peace would be all too commonplace and boring, not to mention that it couldn't possibly involve the kind of firepower you're accustomed to.’
      • ‘Partly to reinforce the commonplace argument that there will always be a special cultural relationship between Scotland and England and that independence would not disrupt that.’
      • ‘These types of self-congratulatory remarks are commonplace and formulaic.’
      • ‘It had been fed to us for a long time, and therefore, we looked at it as a tedious and commonplace state of things.’
      • ‘The commonplace pessimistic argument points out that since low interest rates have been good for the economy, higher interest rates will be bad.’
      • ‘This approach in Chinese cinema, however, was entirely absent from the films screened in Sydney, which were bland and artistically commonplace works.’
      • ‘In a word, Liz will be quite a commonplace, average girl of the lower working-class…’
      • ‘He is never dull and even his more commonplace chapters are enlivened with fascinating detail or asides.’
      • ‘Now 60 years on, the process has been repeated, but reversed, as the commonplace colour of modern films returns to nostalgic black and white.’
      unexciting, boring, dull, tiresome, wearisome, tedious, dreary, tiring, flat, lifeless, monotonous, humdrum, uneventful, slow, unvaried, repetitious, colourless, bland, insipid, banal, dry, pedestrian, prosaic, hackneyed, trite, clichéd, stale
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  • 1A usual or ordinary thing.

    ‘bombing has become almost a commonplace of public life there’
    • ‘I thought they approved of that sort of thing - indeed, they want such scenes to be a commonplace in Her Majesty's Forces.’
    • ‘It used to be a commonplace that activities aimed at uncovering truth and knowledge set about the relatively simple tasks of making observations and recording results.’
    • ‘It had been a historical commonplace to view the long interval between Archimedes and Galileo as a period of unrelieved ignorance and superstition.’
    • ‘And before the vote it had been a commonplace to say that it was the most important election of our lifetimes.’
    • ‘The argument is in fact a commonplace of political science.’
    • ‘Dixon is the kind of ordinary hero who had become a commonplace of Ealing films during the war period.’
    • ‘The novelty of the new popular poetry is not its mass appeal; that was a commonplace in American culture in the late nineteenth century.’
    • ‘The latter, a commonplace in the West, is a new concept for the Japanese.’
    • ‘It has become a commonplace for playwrights to require actors to play several different parts, and at times a mere two actors is all that is needed to portray several dozen characters.’
    • ‘Then he makes a characteristic move: you see how he is able to invest the ordinary, the commonplace, with mystery.’
    • ‘It is a commonplace in Germany that elections are decided by the middle.’
    • ‘Answer: This is a commonplace at a badly run lab.’
    • ‘It's also one that mentions God as a source of inspiration: something that is rarely mentioned so plainly elsewhere but is a commonplace in country songs.’
    • ‘Whatever you are looking for we have it in the collection, from the endangered to the commonplace.’
    • ‘Matches between female boxers have become a commonplace - if not widely accepted - part of the sport.’
    • ‘It is a commonplace in the West that governments should be as democratic as possible.’
    • ‘His poetry and fiction celebrates the ordinary and commonplace, striving for a transformation that might well be magical.’
    • ‘This is a commonplace of life in the poorest neighbourhood in Vancouver.’
    • ‘The point is only driven home by seeing something that has become a commonplace represented as something surprising.’
    • ‘Tales of the commonplace, stories about the small things that make up our daily existence, can be fascinating.’
    everyday event, everyday thing
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    1. 1.1A trite saying or topic; a platitude.
      ‘it is a commonplace to talk of the young being alienated’
      • ‘It has become a commonplace to say of biographies of Plath that they take sides.’
      • ‘And what is perhaps the most troubling feature of her writing is her tendency to use commonplaces and cliches and undefined terms as if their meaning were indisputable and clear.’
      • ‘It's always good to have critical commonplaces questioned, even if you end up reaffirming them.’
      • ‘My only knowledge of francophone Caribbean literature consisted of a few commonplaces and catchphrases.’
      • ‘Alas, its open expression is now a commonplace.’
      • ‘So instead politicians almost uniformly retreat to the safety of the platitude and commonplace.’
      • ‘Sontag acknowledges that she is stating a commonplace when she notes the ‘erotic lure [of] things that are vile and repulsive’.’
      • ‘The final pages are full of journalistic commonplaces - ‘Western-style consumerism is unsustainable on a global scale’.’
      platitude, cliché, truism, banal saying, hackneyed saying, overworked saying, trite saying, stock phrase, old chestnut, banality, bromide
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  • 2A notable passage in a work copied into a commonplace book.


Mid 16th century (originally common place): translation of Latin locus communis, rendering Greek koinos topos general theme.