Definition of communal in US English:



  • 1Shared by all members of a community; for common use.

    ‘a communal bathroom and kitchen’
    • ‘She rattled some cups about the communal kitchen instead and stuck the kettle on to boil.’
    • ‘Residents would share the use of communal facilities.’
    • ‘Water is then carried through the common parts in the communal pipework and into individual flats.’
    • ‘Most cooking is done in communal kitchens in the neighbourhood and purchased from street stalls that heave under bags of fruit and vegetables of all kinds.’
    • ‘It will create two more rooms for patients - to add to the four already in operation - two rooms for relatives, plus a communal kitchen and lounge area.’
    • ‘There was a communal bathroom down the hall and a kitchen on the first floor, not that anyone used it much.’
    • ‘There was a communal kitchen, but all the cupboards were bare.’
    • ‘Two people shared a room and the entire floor shared a communal bathroom and shower room.’
    • ‘The wart viral infection is a common occurrence in communal bathing, spa or health club facilities.’
    • ‘And the food service workers who scoured the commercial kitchens improvising communal meals for hundreds of those stranded.’
    • ‘If the claim is in respect of defects in the common parts or communal areas of a block of flats, the claim must be made by the Management Company or in Scotland, the Factor.’
    • ‘A door leads from the kitchen area into a communal corridor, while a staircase leads down to the sleeping accommodation.’
    • ‘When I was a teenager at boarding school, we had communal showers and bathrooms.’
    • ‘There is no cooking on the premises and the bathroom is communal.’
    • ‘The master bedroom sits to the rear and overlooks the communal garden, as do the bathroom and dining/kitchen.’
    • ‘A communal shower and bathroom served at least sixteen people.’
    • ‘A few minutes later, I walked down the hall to look at the communal bathroom and showers.’
    • ‘The communal kitchen will cater for patients in the hospice.’
    • ‘The family had to share communal facilities with neighbours and arguments were common.’
    • ‘There are a number of 3, 4 and 5 bedrooms apartments available with a communal kitchen, which are ideal for a group of friends.’
    shared, joint, common, general, public
    collective, cooperative, community, communalist, united, combined, pooled, mass
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    1. 1.1 Involving the sharing of work and property.
      ‘communal living’
      • ‘They shared all property and led a communal existence.’
      • ‘In the Faroes and St Kilda, the nesting grounds were communal property, so everyone had a stake in leaving enough birds to breed for next year.’
      • ‘But they share a commitment to communal living, group and individual therapy, and shared domestic and leisure activities.’
      • ‘He refers to communal work where members of the extended family and neighbours assist the family with its work.’
      • ‘A political ideology which aims for an ideal society characterized by common ownership and communal life.’
      • ‘In the much less densely populated northeastern region, a form of communal property ownership and communal farming survived into the twentieth century.’
      • ‘Mr Buttery is unmarried, and has always enjoyed communal living, he says.’
      • ‘Cape Verdeans have a communal attitude towards property and freely borrow and lend possessions.’
      • ‘This level of sharing is aimed at reinforcing the lessons of communal living.’
      • ‘It was almost as though a child were communal property, raised by all.’
      • ‘I mean, they're doing remarkably well this year and, in the spirit of communal living, allowing me to harvest their crop was the right thing to do.’
      • ‘Much of a council's work is implemented by a communal board composed of members appointed to reflect the council's political party composition.’
      • ‘They may have been part of a pre-Christian religious ritual or they may have been communal property in which corn or oats was pounded or ground.’
      • ‘I have found actual communal living to be a very positive experience and very good for my faith.’
      • ‘This stabilized the ownership of communal property, which in the late eighteenth century made up about 10 per cent of all land in northern France.’
      • ‘We live in houses, because we decided that communal living isn't exactly what we want to be engaged in.’
      • ‘They resolved problems through negotiations and added new perspectives to the dynamics of communal living.’
      • ‘In the past land was communal property that could not be sold or inherited.’
      • ‘They were founded on the noble ideal of shared communal living, which required active participation from all of them.’
      • ‘Mrs Silk stressed the point that it was an aim of theirs to promote and encourage integrated communal living and shared responsibility wherever possible.’
    2. 1.2 Relating to or done by a community.
      ‘communal achievement’
      • ‘They strengthened and gave us pride in our communal bonds.’
      • ‘The utopian society is a communal one, where all people are genuine equals.’
      • ‘It is clear that there is a network of belongingness, of social, communal relationships and of a set of identities that are important to us.’
      • ‘These people understand the value of collective work and the communal aspects of public communications.’
      • ‘This collection represents a communal plea for peace from those who have had little of it in their lives.’
      • ‘Underpinning the project's strong social and communal dimension is a measure of environmentally aware design.’
      • ‘They, for many years, have been working for social, political and communal harmony on national level.’
      • ‘According to the rules which provided for communal representation by separate electorates.’
      • ‘I like the communal, collaborative aspect of this.’
      • ‘Edith spent the next eight years teaching at a Dominican school for girls, where she enjoyed sharing the sisters' communal life.’
      • ‘Members of the O'Kelly family and people who shared his communal commitment will be present on Saturday.’
      • ‘In this spirit, members emphasize communal sharing, as in sharing food, giving gifts, and doing favors.’
      • ‘But this is a communal achievement, one that shows us a side of Belfast we never normally see.’
      • ‘A town is measured by its collective and communal intellect.’
      • ‘In a heroic society, the communal aspect of the feasting was an appropriate means of rewarding the prowess of the individual warriors.’
      • ‘The common man is not much concerned about communal issues.’
      • ‘Their positive common memory strengthens their communal resolve, and they begin to pray for Sethe.’
      • ‘It has planned a programme of district level meetings to mobilise public opinion in favour of democracy, communal harmony and peace.’
      • ‘All songs were film-based, focussing mainly on themes such as patriotism, communal harmony and social good.’
      • ‘Another role of the bard was as the repository and interpreter of the history of the people, a vital social function that maintained communal solidarity.’
      mass, general, collective, social, societal, collaborative, group, civil, public, civic
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  • 2(of conflict) between different communities, especially those having different religions or ethnic origins.

    ‘violent communal riots’
    • ‘In total, nearly 7,000 people have died in communal conflicts since 1999.’
    • ‘He argued that the attacks were not religiously motivated but designed to destabilize the country by creating communal conflicts.’
    • ‘Very often the officers blame lower ranks of the force for their inability to control communal conflict effectively.’
    • ‘Angry, powerless people turned to communal social violence when they felt there was no legal recourse available to them.’
    • ‘This event was preceded by a period of communal strife, brought under control with assistance from British troops.’
    • ‘Thirty-seven years later, in 1986, Hindus were permitted to worship there once again, sparking off nation-wide communal clashes.’
    • ‘In East Belfast, as you mentioned, that has been an area which for many, many years has suffered under communal conflict.’
    • ‘As the protest movement waned, the military deliberately fomented communal conflict as a means of reasserting its authority.’
    • ‘Fifty-five years of rule under the national bourgeoisie has created a cauldron of ethnic and communal strife, poverty and illiteracy.’
    • ‘Plus, such deadlines can encourage massive communal violence.’
    • ‘Only two weeks ago, a communal conflict broke out killing five people and injuring a dozen others.’
    • ‘But in 1714, when communal riots broke out, they also acquired a religious identity.’
    • ‘The communal clashes have erupted sporadically since January 1998, claiming 28 lives.’
    • ‘Contained in the impasse over the formation of a new government are the seeds of a descent into communal conflict and civil war.’
    • ‘But the Pakistani president is no more able than his predecessors to solve the country's underlying ethnic and communal tensions.’
    • ‘You certainly can't say this was communal conflict among naturally violent people.’
    • ‘This is especially true where human suffering is caused by communal conflict.’
    • ‘The constituting of enquiry commissions has become a common feature after each communal flare-up.’
    • ‘Separate communal clashes on Friday and Saturday in the towns left several people injured and dozens of houses and ships damaged.’
    • ‘Intelligence failure is very common phenomenon in any major communal violence.’


Early 19th century (in the sense ‘relating to a commune, especially the Paris Commune’): from French, from late Latin communalis, from communis (see common).