[ kom-uh-ner ]
/ ˈkɒm ə nər /


a common person, as distinguished from one with rank, status, etc.
  1. any person ranking below a peer; a person without a title of nobility.
  2. a member of the House of Commons.
  3. (at Oxford and some other universities) a student who pays for his or her commons and other expenses and is not supported by any scholarship or foundation.
a person who has a joint right in common land.

Origin of commoner

First recorded in 1275–1325, commoner is from the Middle English word cominer. See common, -er1

Definition for commoner (2 of 2)


[ kom-uhn ]
/ ˈkɒm ən /

adjective, com·mon·er, com·mon·est.


Origin of common

1250–1300; Middle English comun < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin commūnis common, presumably orig. “sharing common duties,” akin to mūnia duties of an office, mūnus task, duty, gift < a base *moin-, cognate with mean2; cf. com-, immune

Related forms

Can be confused

common mutual reciprocal (see usage note at mutual)

Synonym study

4. See general. 7–9. Common, vulgar, ordinary refer, often with derogatory connotations of cheapness or inferiority, to what is usual or most often experienced. Common applies to what is accustomed, usually experienced, or inferior, to the opposite of what is exclusive or aristocratic: The park is used by the common people. Vulgar properly means belonging to the people, or characteristic of common people; it connotes low taste, coarseness, or ill breeding: the vulgar view of things; vulgar in manners and speech. Ordinary refers to what is to be expected in the usual order of things; it means average or below average: That is a high price for something of such ordinary quality. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for commoner

British Dictionary definitions for commoner (1 of 2)


/ (ˈkɒmənə) /


a person who does not belong to the nobility
a person who has a right in or over common land jointly with another or others
British a student at a university or other institution who is not on a scholarship

British Dictionary definitions for commoner (2 of 2)


/ (ˈkɒmən) /



See also commons

Derived Forms

commonness, noun

Word Origin for common

C13: from Old French commun, from Latin commūnis general, universal
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

Idioms and Phrases with commoner


In addition to the idioms beginning with common

  • common cause
  • common ground
  • common touch, the

also see:

  • in common
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.