Definition of commonwealth noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkɒmənwelθ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkɑːmənwelθ//
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  1. 1the Commonwealth an organization consisting of the United Kingdom and other countries, including most of the countries that used to be part of the British Empire a member of the Commonwealth Commonwealth countries Culture The British Commonwealth of Nations was set up in 1931 and has been known simply as the Commonwealth since 1949. Members of the Commonwealth have special links with the UK and with each other and agree to work together towards world peace, the encouragement of trade, the defence of democracy and improvements in human rights, health and education. It also encourages joint cultural and sporting events, particularly the Commonwealth Games. The British king or queen is the head of the Commonwealth and the senior official is the Secretary-General. A meeting of heads of government of all Commonwealth countries takes place every two years and is organized by the Commonwealth Secretariat, which is based in London. The second Monday in March is celebrated in many member countries as Commonwealth Day.
  2. 2(also the Commonwealth) used in the official names of, and to refer to, some states of the US (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia) the Commonwealth of Virginia The city and the Commonwealth have lost a great leader.
  3. 3(North American English) an independent country that is strongly connected to the US Puerto Rico remains a US commonwealth, not a state.
  4. 4(also Commonwealth) used in the names of some groups of countries or states that have chosen to be politically linked with each other the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
  5. 5the Commonwealth a period (1649–60) in English history when the country was governed without a king or queen. For the first four years after the death of King Charles I, the country was governed by the House of Commons. Then in 1653 the army gave power to Oliver Cromwell with the title of Lord Protector. The years 1653–9 are therefore known as the Protectorate . The Commonwealth ended with the the Restoration of King Charles II.
  6. Word Originlate Middle English (originally as two words, denoting public welfare): from common + wealth.Extra examples She says that she will retire from athletics after next year’s Commonwealth Games. The city and Commonwealth have lost a great leader. There is an annual meeting of Commonwealth heads of government. We want to create a commonwealth of democratic, self-governing countries.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: commonwealth