Definition of commons in US English:


plural noun

  • 1US A dining hall in a residential school or college.

    • ‘Will didn't reply so Kylie pulled him up and dragged him to a private corner of the commons.’
    • ‘Once they were gathered at a table in the dining commons, the debate continued.’
    • ‘An insertion into the campus's historic ‘collegiate Gothic’ fabric, this dining hall and commons provides a new locus for a residential community.’
    • ‘Jacob asked as soon as they were outside the dining commons.’
    • ‘After eating at the dining commons, Jacob skated across campus to Tivrusky Hall, the main lecture room for chemistry classes.’
    • ‘Cassida says you're an idiot for forgetting that she hates the dining commons and can't eat there anyway.’
    • ‘The five of us made our way further in, past the metal doors that opened up into the gym from the commons.’
    • ‘There was something really weird about the flames, aside from the fact that they were inside the dining commons and couldn't be seen from outside.’
    • ‘A short while later, the two of them sat at a table in the dining commons with their trays.’
    • ‘The commons can be used for dining, casual study, presentations, and community meetings.’
    • ‘I really don't want my last memory of this place for a week to be the dining commons.’
    • ‘The group was headed for the commons by way of the back hallways, at the other end of school from whence PK, Marissa, Melinda, and Brian had been chased.’
    • ‘Fifteen minutes later, the two of them sat down at a table in the dining commons.’
  • 2treated as singular Land or resources belonging to or affecting the whole of a community.

    • ‘I always get nervous when people talk about privatizing the commons.’
    • ‘But who are these locals, and what are the roots of their belief that only they, not the nation at large, should control the public commons surrounding their communities?’
    • ‘The loss of a public commons in broadcasting must be counted as one of the twentieth century's great civic and cultural losses.’
    • ‘But to make this vision a reality, the devices need a slice of the spectrum that would form a virtual park or an airwaves commons where equipment makers and others could experiment.’
    • ‘But the property rights system described here is not, strictly speaking, a commons.’
    • ‘There are numerous documented examples of self-governing commons in which people work as a collective unit and respect the scarcity value of the resource.’
    • ‘It goes down easily on the left to depict broadcasting or medical research, the Internet or schooling, as a commons in need of public management.’
    • ‘The question became one of limits - to what extent is the commons common property?’
    • ‘In a later passage Menger seems to recognize problems that might be associated with air and water pollution or the tragedy of the commons where the resource in question is generally viewed as a noneconomic or free good.’
    • ‘Scaring the people to death works, but it also corrodes the public commons.’
    • ‘But this is the conclusion reached by each and every rational herdsman sharing a commons.’
    • ‘The tricky bit is dividing the commons up into the proper chunks of property to insure that the greatest number of people can still use it at a fair price.’
    • ‘The political battle over WiFi shapes up as a classic match between private interests and the commons.’
    • ‘My colleague Peter Barnes has proposed in his book, Who Owns The Sky?, a solution to global warming based on the reality that the sky is a commons and therefore belongs to all of us.’
    • ‘A commons in medieval Britain consisted of pastureland that was shared in common by a number of the herdsmen of a village.’
    • ‘I am not, but what the member's case does highlight is the danger of allowing more private ownership of the foreshore and seabed, as she is proposing, when her party started off proposing that it should be held in the commons.’
    • ‘He sees Linux as the public OS platform and Wi-Fi as the public network commons.’
    • ‘Some commons are public institutions such as libraries, museums, schools and government agencies.’
    • ‘If faculty hope to reinvigorate a public commons of ideas, knowledge, and learning, they will have to deal with the fact that the profit motive may not be their only antagonist.’
    • ‘We will work to define and achieve a wireless commons built using open spectrum, and able to connect people everywhere.’
    • ‘Linux gave us a way to do exactly that with operating systems and by helping us create the worldwide commons we call the Net.’
    • ‘Communities dependent upon the commons do not have social regulations and that group ownership is an inferior solution.’
    • ‘One issue, the division of community commons, led to some disputes, and the outbreak of localized rebellions.’
    • ‘I do not own these ideas, nor do I own our institutions - they are a public commons to be debated in and argued over.’
    • ‘The knowledge commons should be established as a global resource not one that should, or needs to be, carved up for individual gain.’
    • ‘We need to keep this in mind while we pursue our defense of what little commons we have left today.’
    • ‘The streets are the commons - they belong to the people but we let them be completely taken over by commercialism and the automobile.’
    • ‘Competitive nation-states are abandoning natural resources protection and privatizing their ecological commons.’
    • ‘Science is a commons in a more familiar economic sense as well.’
    • ‘By its very nature, every bit of a language belongs to the commons, and it is perfectly clear that Kasner intended googol to become part of the English language.’
    • ‘Traditionally, most of the native communities regarded their territories as commons and had never seen a need for documents such as deeds and plats (a type of land, or lot map).’
    • ‘One is through international environmental agreements; the other is unilateral sanctions imposed by responsible commons users upon abusers.’
    • ‘Briefly stated, the tragedy of the commons occurs when a group holds a resource, but each of the individual members has an incentive to overuse it.’
    • ‘Because the Web is a public place; it's the commons; it's where public communities gather; it's utterly uncontained.’
    • ‘Further, many believe that patenting genes is more about discovery than invention, and is therefore privatising what should remain in the public commons.’
    • ‘Natural resource commons and the social and ecological impacts associated with their loss have received a good deal of study by ecologists and resource managers.’
    nourishment, sustenance, nutriment, subsistence, fare, bread, daily bread
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  • 3

    1. 3.1historical The common people regarded as a part of a political system, especially in Britain.
      • ‘Early modern scholars often go too far in ignoring the existence of divergent interests between commons and elites, focusing only on vertical rather than horizontal linkages.’
      • ‘First he takes a common for a wife then tries to convince the council of elders to adopt the concept of allowing the commons responsibilities in the government.’
      • ‘He disbelieves the commons who testified that the gentry willingly took command, shared their grievances, and led them on.’
  • 4archaic Provisions shared in common; rations.

    food, food and drink, fare, cooking, cuisine, sustenance, nutriment, nourishment, nutrition
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Middle English: plural of common.