9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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
  • Surely such a commonplace comparison gives startling vividness to the innate idea.
  • The unlikely is commonplace in television movies and dramas.
  • Performance-related pay is the norm, and redundancy commonplace.
  • They're breakable, contain toxic material, and are becoming increasingly commonplace.
  • Small particles are commonplace in industrial processes, and charging is a perennial problem.
  • Lines at the grocery store might become as obsolete as milkmen, if a new tag that seeks to replace bar codes becomes commonplace.
  • What was once unusual has become increasingly commonplace.
  • Fighting over mating and any food the pack finds is commonplace.
  • Diseases such as asthma should be incredibly uncommon, yet are disturbingly commonplace these days.
  • Four of the plays are as literal as they are commonplace.
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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