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[kom-uh n-pleys] /ˈkɒm ənˌpleɪs/
ordinary; undistinguished or uninteresting; without individuality:
a commonplace person.
trite; hackneyed; platitudinous:
a commonplace remark.
a well-known, customary, or obvious remark; a trite or uninteresting saying.
anything common, ordinary, or uninteresting.
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 forms
commonplacely, adverb
commonplaceness, noun
uncommonplace, adjective
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. 3. cliché, bromide, platitude, stereotype. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for commonplace
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Finally, there was the pressing necessity of putting food into his mouth, a commonplace but still cogent consideration.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • It is a curious question why sacred song should so often be dull and commonplace.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Tis a short feast and a long famine, said a northern liveyere, quite cheerfully; to him it was just a commonplace fact of life.

    Dr. Grenfell's Parish Norman Duncan
  • The "missing fourth side" of the room is a commonplace recognized by all.

    The Dramatic Values in Plautus Wilton Wallace Blancke
  • A word, or a gesture, which in ordinary living would be commonplace, acquired a meaning and a significance all its own.

    The Lost Wagon James Arthur Kjelgaard
British Dictionary definitions for commonplace


ordinary; everyday: commonplace duties
dull and obvious; trite: commonplace prose
something dull and trite, esp a remark; platitude; truism
a passage in a book marked for inclusion in a commonplace book, etc
an ordinary or common thing
Derived Forms
commonplaceness, noun
Word Origin
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
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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
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