[ kuh-men-suh l ]
/ kəˈmɛn səl /


eating together at the same table.
Ecology. (of an animal, plant, fungus, etc.) living with, on, or in another, without injury to either.
Sociology. (of a person or group) not competing while residing in or occupying the same area as another individual or group having independent or different values or customs.


a companion at table.
Ecology. a commensal organism.

Origin of commensal

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word commēnsālis. See com-, mensal2


com·men·sal·ism, nouncom·men·sal·i·ty [kom-en-sal-i-tee] /ˌkɒm ɛnˈsæl ɪ ti/, nouncom·men·sal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for commensal

British Dictionary definitions for commensal

/ (kəˈmɛnsəl) /


(of two different species of plant or animal) living in close association, such that one species benefits without harming the other
rare of or relating to eating together, esp at the same tablecommensal pleasures


a commensal plant or animal
rare a companion at table

Derived forms of commensal

commensalism, nouncommensality (ˌkɒmɛnˈsælɪtɪ), nouncommensally, adverb

Word Origin for commensal

C14: from Medieval Latin commensālis, from Latin com- together + mensa table
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for commensal

[ kə-mĕnsəl ]


Of, relating to, or characterized by a symbiotic relationship in which one species is benefited while the other is unaffected.


An organism participating in a symbiotic relationship in which one species derives some benefit while the other is unaffected.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.