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  1. ordinary; undistinguished or uninteresting; without individuality: a commonplace person.
  2. trite; hackneyed; platitudinous: a commonplace remark.
  1. a well-known, customary, or obvious remark; a trite or uninteresting saying.
  2. anything common, ordinary, or uninteresting.
  3. Archaic. a place or passage in a book or writing noted as important for reference or quotation.

Origin of commonplace

1525–35; translation of Latin locus commūnis, itself translation of Greek koinòs tópos
Related formscom·mon·place·ly, adverbcom·mon·place·ness, nounun·com·mon·place, adjective

Synonyms for commonplace

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Synonym study

2. Commonplace, banal, hackneyed, stereotyped, trite describe words, remarks, and styles of expression that are lifeless and uninteresting. Commonplace characterizes thought that is dull, ordinary, and platitudinous: commonplace and boring. Something is banal that seems inane, insipid, and pointless: a heavy-handed and banal affirmation of the obvious. Hackneyed characterizes something that seems stale and worn out through overuse: a hackneyed comparison. Stereotyped emphasizes the fact that situations felt to be similar invariably call for the same thought in exactly the same form and the same words: so stereotyped as to seem automatic. Trite describes something that was originally striking and apt, but which has become so well-known and been so commonly used that all interest has been worn out of it: true but trite. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for commonplace


  1. ordinary; everydaycommonplace duties
  2. dull and obvious; tritecommonplace prose
  1. something dull and trite, esp a remark; platitude; truism
  2. a passage in a book marked for inclusion in a commonplace book, etc
  3. an ordinary or common thing
Derived Formscommonplaceness, noun

Word Origin for commonplace

C16: translation of Latin locus commūnis argument of wide application, translation of Greek koinos topos
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 commonplace

1540s, "a statement generally accepted," literal translation of Latin locus communis, from Greek koinos topos "general topic." See common (adj.) + place (n.). The adjectival sense of "having nothing original" dates from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper