adj. & n.
adj. (commoner, commonest) 1 a occurring often (a common mistake). b ordinary; of ordinary qualities; without special rank or position (no common mind; common soldier; the common people). 2 a shared by, coming from, or done by, more than one (common knowledge; by common consent; our common benefit). b belonging to, open to, or affecting, the whole community or the public (common land). 3 derog. low-class; vulgar; inferior (a common little man). 4 of the most familiar type (common cold; common nightshade). 5 Math. belonging to two or more quantities (common denominator; common factor). 6 Gram. (of gender) referring to individuals of either sex (e.g. teacher). 7 Prosody (of a syllable) that may be either short or long. 8 Mus. having two or four beats, esp. four crotchets, in a bar. 9 Law (of a crime) of lesser importance (cf. GRAND, PETTY).
n. 1 a piece of open public land, esp. in a village or town. 2 sl. = common sense; (use your common). 3 Eccl. a service used for each of a group of occasions. 4 (in full right of common) Law a person's right over another's land, e.g. for pasturage. common carrier a person or firm undertaking to transport any goods or person in a specified category. common chord Mus. any note with its major or minor third and perfect fifth. common crier see CRIER. common denominator see DENOMINATOR. Common Era the Christian era. common ground a point or argument accepted by both sides in a dispute. common jury a jury with members of no particular social standing (cf. special jury). common law law derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than statutes (cf. case-law (see CASE(1)), statute law). common-law husband (or wife) a partner in a marriage recognized by common law, esp. after a period of cohabitation. Common Market the European Economic Community. common metre a hymn stanza of four lines with 8, 6, 8, and 6 syllables. common noun (or name) Gram. a name denoting a class of objects or a concept as opposed to a particular individual (e.g. boy, chocolate, beauty). common or garden colloq. ordinary. Common Prayer the Church of England liturgy orig. set forth in the Book of Common Prayer of Edward VI (1549). common-room 1 a room in some colleges, schools, etc., which members may use for relaxation or work. 2 the members who use this. common salt see SALT. common seal the official seal of a corporate body. common sense sound practical sense, esp. in everyday matters. Common Serjeant see SERJEANT. common soldier see SOLDIER. common stock US = ordinary shares. common weal public welfare. common year see YEAR 2. in common 1 in joint use; shared. 2 of joint interest (have little in common). in common with in the same way as. least (or lowest) common denominator, multiple see DENOMINATOR, MULTIPLE. out of the common unusual. commonly adv. commonness n.
[ ME f. OF comun f. L communis ]