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From Old Latin co(m)moinis, from Proto-Italic *kommoinis, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱom-moy-ni-s, from *mey- (to change).

Cognate with Proto-Germanic *gamainiz (shared, communal; common), related to immūnis, mūnia, mūnis, mūnus (compare Proto-Italic *moinos (service)).



commūnis (neuter commūne, comparative commūnior, adverb commūniter); third-declension two-termination adjective

  1. common, commonplace, ordinary, general, universal, shared, shared alike, of both sides, belonging to two or more together
    Synonym: (common, ordinary) vulgāris
    • 29 BCE – 19 BCE, Virgil, Aeneid 2.573–574:
      “[...] Troiae et patriae commūnis Erīnys,
      abdiderat sēsē atque ārīs invīsa sedēbat.”
      “[Helen,] the common Fury of Troy and of her homeland, had hidden herself and was cowering unseen beside the altars.”
      (See: Erinys.)
  2. of or for the community, public
  3. democratic; representing the common sentiment
  4. (of manners) familiar, accessible, courteous
  5. (grammar) having both qualities of a subdivided category, such as a verb with both an active and a passive meaning, or a syllable being either long or short.


Third-declension two-termination adjective.

Number Singular Plural
Case / Gender Masc./Fem. Neuter Masc./Fem. Neuter
Nominative commūnis commūne commūnēs commūnia
Genitive commūnis commūnium
Dative commūnī commūnibus
Accusative commūnem commūne commūnēs
Ablative commūnī commūnibus
Vocative commūnis commūne commūnēs commūnia

Derived terms[edit]



  • communis”, in Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short (1879) A Latin Dictionary, Oxford: Clarendon Press
  • communis”, in Charlton T. Lewis (1891) An Elementary Latin Dictionary, New York: Harper & Brothers
  • communis in Charles du Fresne du Cange’s Glossarium Mediæ et Infimæ Latinitatis (augmented edition with additions by D. P. Carpenterius, Adelungius and others, edited by Léopold Favre, 1883–1887)
  • communis in Gaffiot, Félix (1934) Dictionnaire illustré latin-français, Hachette.
  • Carl Meißner, Henry William Auden (1894) Latin Phrase-Book[1], London: Macmillan and Co.
    • to considerably (in no way) further the common good: multum (nihil) ad communem utilitatem afferre
    • to accommodate something to the standard of the popular intelligence: ad intellegentiam communem or popularem accommodare aliquid
    • to express oneself in popular language: ad vulgarem sensum or ad communem opinionem orationem accommodare (Off. 2. 10. 35)
    • (ambiguous) we know from experience: usu rerum (vitae, vitae communis) edocti sumus
    • (ambiguous) unanimously: uno, communi, summo or omnium consensu (Tusc. 1. 15. 35)
    • (ambiguous) the ordinary usage of language, everyday speech: communis sermonis consuetudo
    • (ambiguous) to be always considering what people think: multum communi hominum opinioni tribuere