• (Canada, America) IPA: /ˈkɑmənˌwɛlθ/
  • (Australia) IPA: /ˈkɔmənˌwɛlθ/
  • (New Zealand) IPA: /ˈkɒmənˌwelθ/
  • (British) IPA: /ˈkɒmənˌwɛlθ/

commonwealth (plural commonwealths)

  1. (obsolete) The well-being of a community.
  2. The entirety of a (secular) society, a polity, a state.
    • c. 1526, Tyndale's Bible, Ephesians 12:2
      Remeber I saye yt ye were at that tyme wt oute Christ and were reputed aliantes from the comen welth [πολιτεία] of Israel and were straugers fro the testamentes of promes and had no hope and were with out god in this worlde.
    • 1610-11, William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act II Scene 1
      I'th' commonwealth I would by contraries
      Execute all things, for no kind of traffic
      Would I admit; no name of magistrate;
      Letters should not be known; riches, poverty,
      And use of service, none; contract, succession,
      Bourn, bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none;
      No use of metal, corn, or wine, or oil;
      No occupation, all men idle, all,
      And women too, but innocent and pure;
      No sovereignty——
  3. Republic. Often capitalized, as Commonwealth.
    • 1649, Act of the Long Parliament
      Be it declared and enacted by this present Parliament and by the Authoritie of the same That the People of England and of all the Dominions and Territoryes thereunto belonging are and shall be and are hereby constituted, made, established, and confirmed to be a Commonwealth and free State And shall from henceforth be Governed as a Commonwealth and Free State by the supreame Authoritie of this Nation, the Representatives of the People in Parliam[ent] and by such as they shall appoint and constitute as Officers and Ministers under them for the good of the People and that without any King or House of Lords.
Related terms Translations
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈkɒmənˌwelθ/
  • (RP, dated) IPA: /ˈkɔːmənˌwelθ/
  • (GA)
    • IPA: /ˈkɑmənˌwɛlθ/
Proper noun
  1. The Commonwealth of Nations, a loose confederation of nations based around the former British Empire.
    Mozambique joined the Commonwealth in 1995, although it had not been a part of the British Empire.
    As a Commonwealth citizen, you are eligible to vote in United Kingdom elections.
  2. (Great Britain) The Commonwealth of England, which existed from 1649 to 1660, under Cromwell.
  3. (Australia) Australia, the Commonwealth of Australia, often referring to its federal government.
    Mr. Martin was found guilty of defrauding the Commonwealth by making false welfare claims.
  4. (in Kentucky) Kentucky, the Commonwealth of Kentucky, often referring to its government.
  5. (in Massachusetts) Massachusetts, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, often referring to its government.
  6. (in Pennsylvania) Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, often referring to its government.
  7. (in Virginia) Virginia, the Commonwealth of Virginia, often referring to its government.

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