Definition of common adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈkɒmən//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈkɑːmən//
    (commoner, commonest) more common and most common are more frequent
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  1. 1  happening often; existing in large numbers or in many places Jackson is a common English name. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in this country. Some birds which were once a common sight are now becoming rare. a common spelling mistake Allergies to milk are quite common in childhood. opposite uncommon
  2. 2  [usually before noun] common (to somebody/something) shared by or belonging to two or more people or by the people in a group They share a common interest in photography. basic features which are common to all human languages We are working together for a common purpose. common ownership of the land This decision was taken for the common good (= the advantage of everyone). It is, by common consent, Scotland's prettiest coast (= everyone agrees that it is).
  3. 3  [only before noun] ordinary; not unusual or special the common garden frog Shakespeare's work was popular among the common people in his day. In most people's eyes she was nothing more than a common criminal. You'd think he'd have the common courtesy to apologize (= this would be the polite behaviour that people would expect). It's only common decency to let her know what's happening (= people would expect it).
  4. 4(British English, disapproving) typical of somebody from a low social class and not having good manners She thought he was very common and uneducated.
  5. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French comun (adjective), from Latin communis.Extra examples I don’t like Sandra. She seems a bit common to me. I have nothing in common with Jane. I wish you wouldn’t use that word—it sounds so common. India, in common with= like many other countries, has experienced major changes over the last 100 years. Stomach pain is very common in children. These problems now seem fairly common. This attitude is common to most young men in the armed services. Don’t use that word, it’s awfully common. He’s as common as muck, but he’s a got a lot of posh friends. I wanted a recording of the common cuckoo. In most people’s eyes she was nothing more than a common criminal. It is, by common consent, Scotland’s prettiest coast. It’s a common enough situation, I know. It’s only common decency to let her know what’s happening. Jones and Davies are common Welsh names. Oats were the staple food of the common people. Polite letters of rejection are a matter of common courtesy. Some basic features are common to all human languages. The disease is very common in young horses. The fungus is a common sight in woodlands at this time of year. The most common complaint from patients was about poor communication. This decision was taken for the common good. common courtesy/​decency common gulls/​frogs/​ragwort common people/​soldiers/​criminalsIdioms
    be common/public knowledge
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    to be something that everyone knows, especially in a particular community or group Their relationship is common knowledge.
    common or garden (British English) (North American English garden-variety)
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    (informal) ordinary; with no special features
    the ability of a powerful or famous person to talk to and understand ordinary people
    make common cause with somebody
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    (formal) to be united with somebody about something that you both agree on, believe in or wish to achieve
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: common