common sense


sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence.

Origin of common sense

1525–35; translation of Latin sēnsus commūnis, itself translation of Greek koinḕ aísthēsis
Related formscom·mon-sense, com·mon·sense, adjectivecom·mon·sen·si·cal, com·mon·sen·si·ble, adjectivecom·mon·sen·si·cal·ly, com·mon·sen·si·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for common sense

Contemporary Examples of common sense

Historical Examples of common sense

  • And can we expect the Father of us all to act in other than common-sense ways?

  • He must be kind with a common-sense kindness, loving with a common-sense love.

  • This was followed by a common-sense view of the whole situation.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • Now, what in the name of common-sense did you buy that lamp for which you have just hung?

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • The question is the usual plain, straightforward, common-sense question.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

British Dictionary definitions for common sense

common sense


plain ordinary good judgment; sound practical sense

adjective common-sense, common-sensical

inspired by or displaying sound practical sense
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

Word Origin and History for common sense

14c., originally the power of uniting mentally the impressions conveyed by the five physical senses, thus "ordinary understanding, without which one is foolish or insane" (Latin sensus communis, Greek koine aisthesis); meaning "good sense" is from 1726. Also, as an adjective, commonsense.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

common sense in Culture

Common Sense

(1776) A pamphlet written by Thomas Paine that called for the United States to declare independence from Britain immediately. Written in a brisk and pungent style, Common Sense had a tremendous impact and helped to persuade many Americans that they could successfully wage a war for their independence.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.