common - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    happening frequently, or existing in large amounts or numbers

    Mergers and takeovers have become increasingly common in recent years.

    The most common criticism was that he was always late.

    Today smog is a common occurrence in many major cities.

    it is common for someone/something to do something:

    It was common for children to play in the street.

    1. a.
      [only before noun] used in the names of birds and animals when there are more of them than related birds and animals
  2. 2
    used, done, or shared by two or more people

    a group of people descended from a common ancestor

    common language:

    She was Swiss and I am from Vietnam, so French was our common language.

    common to:

    These issues are common to all our clients.

  3. 3
    [only before noun] ordinary, with no special status or rank

    a common soldier/criminal

    the common man:

    This is true both for the philosopher and the common man.

    the common people:

    In the fifteenth century the common people could neither read nor write.

  4. 4
    reaching the standard that you normally expect from most ordinary people
    common courtesy:

    It would only be common courtesy to return their hospitality.

    common decency:

    Why didn’t you have the common decency to inform your uncle of where you were going?

  5. 5
    old-fashioned an insulting way of describing someone from a low social class

    He’s such a common little man.

See also