Meaning of COMMON in English

I. com ‧ mon 1 S1 W1 /ˈkɒmən $ ˈkɑː-/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: commun , from Latin communis ]

1 . HAPPENING OFTEN happening often and to many people or in many places OPP rare :

Heart disease is one of the commonest causes of death.

common among

Bad dreams are fairly common among children.

it’s common for somebody to do something

It’s common for new fathers to feel jealous of the baby.

► Do not say ‘It is common that ... ’ Say ‘It is common for ... ’ :

It is common for children to be afraid (NOT It is common that children are afraid) of the dark.

2 . A LOT existing in large numbers OPP rare :

Daisies are very common flowers.

3 . SAME/SIMILAR [usually before noun, no comparative] common aims, beliefs, ideas etc are shared by several people or groups:

people working towards a common goal

countries that share a common language

common to

a theme that is common to all her novels

4 . common ground facts, features, or beliefs that are shared by people or things that are very different

common ground between

There is a great deal of common ground between management and trade unions on this issue.

5 . SHARED BY EVERYONE [no comparative] belonging to or shared by everyone in a society

common to

These problems are common to all societies.

Joe was chosen as captain by common consent (=with everyone’s agreement) .

6 . common knowledge something everyone knows:

It is common knowledge that travel broadens the mind.

7 . the common good the advantage of everyone:

They work together for the common good.

8 . common practice a usual or accepted way of doing things:

It was common practice for families to attend church together.

9 . ORDINARY [only before noun, no comparative] ordinary and not special in any way:

common salt

The 20th century was called the century of the common man (=ordinary people) .

He insists that he is a revolutionary, not a common criminal.

10 . common courtesy/decency/politeness a polite way of behaving that you expect from people:

It would be common courtesy to return their hospitality.

11 . common or garden British English ordinary SYN garden-variety American English :

a common or garden dispute

12 . make/find common cause (with/against somebody) formal to join with other people or groups in order to achieve something:

France and Russia made common cause against Britain.

13 . common touch the ability of someone in a position of power or authority to talk to and understand ordinary people – used to show approval:

He’s made it to the top without losing the common touch.

14 . SOCIAL CLASS British English old-fashioned an offensive word used for describing someone from a low social class

• • •


▪ common if something is common, there are a lot of them:

Jones is a very common name in Great Britain.


Foxes are common in the area.


Personal computers are nearly as common in American homes as televisions.

▪ widespread happening in a lot of places or done by a lot of people:

Racism is much more widespread than people imagine.


The report claimed that the problem of police brutality was widespread.


the widespread availability of antibiotics

▪ commonplace [not before noun] especially written common in a particular place or time – used especially when saying that this seems surprising or unusual:

Crimes such as robbery are commonplace in big cities.


Expensive foreign cars are commonplace in this Chicago suburb.

▪ prevalent formal common in a place or among a group of people – used especially about illnesses, problems, or ideas:

Flu is most prevalent during the winter months.


Depression remains one of the most prevalent health disorders in the US.


This belief is more prevalent among men than women.

▪ rife /raɪf/ [not before noun] very common – used about illnesses or problems:

AIDS is rife in some parts of the world.

▪ ubiquitous /juːˈbɪkwətəs, juːˈbɪkwɪtəs/ formal very common and seen in many different places – often used humorously in written descriptions:

He was carrying the ubiquitous MP3 player.


In Britain, CCTV cameras are ubiquitous.

▪ something is everywhere especially spoken used when saying that you can see something a lot in many different places:

Images of the dictator were everywhere.


Microchips seem to be everywhere these days – even in washing machines.


One of the first things you notice in Amsterdam are the bicycles – they’re everywhere.

II. common 2 BrE AmE noun

1 . have something in common (with somebody) to have the same interests, attitudes etc as someone else:

I found I had a lot in common with these people.

four women with almost nothing in common

2 . have something in common (with something) if objects or ideas have something in common, they share the same features:

The two games have much in common.

3 . in common with somebody/something in the same way as someone or something else:

In common with a lot of other countries, we’re in an economic recession.

4 . [countable] a large area of open land in a town or village that people walk or play sport on:

Boston Common

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.