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From Late Middle English communite,[1] borrowed from Old French communité, comunité, comunete (modern French communauté), from Classical Latin commūnitās (community; public spirit),[2] from commūnis (common, ordinary; of or for the community, public) + -itās (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *-teh₂ts (suffix forming nouns indicating a state of being)). Commūnis is derived from con- (prefix indicating a being or bringing together of several objects) (from cum (with), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *ḱóm (along, at, next to, with)) + mūnus (employment, office, service; burden, duty, obligation) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *mey- (to change, exchange)). Ostensibly equivalent to commune +‎ -ity. Doublet of communitas.



community (countable and uncountable, plural communities)

  1. (countable) A group sharing common characteristics, such as the same language, law, religion, or tradition.
    • 1586, Giraldus Cambrensis [i.e., Gerald of Wales], “The Irish Historie Composed and Written by Giraldus Cambrensis, [ ]”, in Iohn Hooker alias Vowell [i.e., John Hooker], transl., The Second Volume of Chronicles: [] , [s.l.]: [s.n.], →OCLC:
      [W]e are not borne to our ſelues alone, but the prince, the countrie, the parents, freends, wiues, children and familie, euerie of them doo claime an intereſt in vs, and to euerie of them we muſt be beneficiall: otherwiſe we doo degenerate from that communitie and ſocietie, which by ſuch offices by vs is to be conſtrued, & doo become moſt vnprofitable: []
    • 1814, William Wordsworth, The Excursion, being a Portion of The Recluse; a Poem, London: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, Paternoster-Row, →OCLC, book the fourth (Despondency Corrected), page 161:
      Nor wanting here, to entertain the thought, / Creatures, that in communities exist, / Less, at might seem, for general guardianship / Or through dependance upon mutual aid, / Than by participation of delight / And a strict love of fellowship, combined.
    • 1827, Henry Hallam, “On the English Constitution from Henry VII to Mary”, in The Constitutional History of England from the Accession of Henry VII to the Death of George II, volume I, Paris: Printed for L. Baudry, at the English, Italian, German and Spanish Library, No. 9, rue du Coq-Saint-Honoré; Lefèvre, bookseller, No. 8, rue de l'Éperon, →OCLC, page 17:
      Henry VII obtained from his first parliament a grant of tonnage and poundage during life, according to several precedents of former reigns. But when general subsidies were granted, the same people [] twice broke out into dangerous rebellions; and as these, however arising from such immediate discontent, were yet connected a good deal with the opinion of Henry's usurpation, and the claims of a pretender, it was a necessary policy to avoid too frequent imposition of burdens upon the poorer classes of the community.
    • 1891 March 15, Oscar Wilde, “The Soul of Man under Socialism”, in Oscar Wilde, William Morris, W[illiam] C[harles] Owen, The Soul of Man under Socialism, The Socialist Ideal—Art and The Coming Solidarity (The Humboldt Library of Science; no. 147), New York, N.Y.: The Humboldt Publishing Company, 28 Lafayette Place, →OCLC, pages 14–15:
      As one reads history—not in the expurgated editions written for schoolboys and passmen, but in the original authorities of each time—one is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted; and a community is infinitely more brutalized by the habitual employment of punishment, than it is by the occasional occurrence of crime.
    • 2005, Craig Dykstra, “Growing in Faith”, in Growing in the Life of Faith: Education and Christian Practices, 2nd edition, Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, →ISBN, page 40:
      The process of coming to faith and growing in the life of faith is fundamentally a process of participation. [] The Presbyterian Confession of 1967 says that "the new life takes shape in a community in which [human beings] know that God loves and accepts them in spite of what they are." In words that capture an older language, God uses the community of faith as "means of grace."
    • 2013 June 7, Joseph Stiglitz, “Globalisation is about taxes too”, in The Guardian Weekly[1], volume 188, number 26, archived from the original on 16 November 2016, page 19:
      It is time the international community faced the reality: we have an unmanageable, unfair, distortionary global tax regime. It is a tax system that is pivotal in creating the increasing inequality that marks most advanced countries today – with America standing out in the forefront and the UK not far behind.
  2. (countable) A residential or religious collective; a commune.
    • 1999, “Fourteenth Century: Before and After”, in Therese Boos Dykeman, editor, The Neglected Canon: Nine Women Philosophers: First to the Twentieth Century, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, →ISBN, page 73:
      The Beguines, an uncloistered religiously inspired woman's movement began about the year 1210 in Liége, Belgium. Generally the Beguines lived in community or in small cottages behind a wall. At times threatened as heretics, they were finally disbanded by the Reformation.
  3. (countable, ecology) A group of interdependent organisms inhabiting the same region and interacting with each other.
    • 1949, G[eorge] E[velyn] Hutchinson, E[dward] S[mith] Deevey, Jr., “Ecological Studies on Populations”, in George S. Avery, Jr., editor, Survey of Biological Progress, volume I, New York, N.Y.: Academic Press, page 325:
      Synecology has for the objects of its study, not individual organisms but biological communities, which are groups of organisms living in a given space, the properties of which space select a certain assemblage of organisms of definite autecological characteristics. Such communities are moreover not merely collections of organisms of restricted autecology, but tend to become organized by the biotic relationships that exist beteen the various individuals comprising the community.
  4. (countable, Internet) A group of people interacting by electronic means for educational, professional, social, or other purposes; a virtual community.
    • 2015, Sandy Baldwin, “I Read My Spam”, in The Internet Unconscious: On the Subject of Electronic Literature (International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics; 9), New York, N.Y., London: Bloomsbury Academic, →ISBN, section VI, page 89:
      Spam texts are encoded but no decryption is possible. There is no plaintext message. I find them wonderful, and read them as poetics, as odd fragments generative of narrtives and scenography. I find the process of their production wonderful as well. The texts are written to elude community standards and means of censorship, and at the same time to enter and impose themselves into the standards and means for the community to read itself.
    • 2015, Aaron M. Duncan, “Shifting the Scene to Cyberspace: Internet Poker and the Rise of Tom Dwan”, in Gambling with the Myth of the American Dream (Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society), New York, N.Y., Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge, →ISBN:
      Online gaming communities develop their own language, history, routines, and relationships. The online poker community is no different, developing its own culture distinct from the traditional poker community. One asp[ect that differentiates internet poker from other online gaming communities is the presence of money, creating what [Edward] Castronova et al. (2009) refer to as a virtual economic system complete with its own rules and forces.
  5. (uncountable) The condition of having certain attitudes and interests in common.
    • 2006, James G[eorge] Samra, “The Role of the Local Community in the Maturation Process”, in Being Conformed to Christ in Community: A Study of Maturity, Maturation and the Local Church in the Undisputed Pauline Epistles (Library of New Testament Studies; 320), paperback edition, London, New York, N.Y.: T&T Clark, published 2008, →ISBN, section 6.1 (Introduction), page 133:
      We hope to demonstrate that Paul understood the local community to be the sphere in which and the means through which the five components of the maturation process were facilitated, thus concluding that Paul expected believers to be confirmed to Christ in community.
    • 2018, Bronwyn T. Williams, “A Sense of Where You Are: Literacy, Place, and Mobility”, in Literacy Practices and Perceptions of Agency: Composing Identities, New York, N.Y., Abingdon, Oxon.: Routledge, →ISBN, page 128:
      Writing groups and community writing spaces can provide that vitally important space for writing as well as potential benefits of support and accountability if people have the chance to talk about writing. Even if all that happens, however, is that people have a space to write in community with each other, the result is usually that writing becomes contagious.
  6. (countable, obsolete) Common enjoyment or possession; participation.
    a community of goods
    • 1689, [John Locke], “Of Adam’s Title to Sovereignty by Donation, Gen[esis] 1.28”, in Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, the False Principles, and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, and His Followers, are Detected and Overthrown. The Latter is an Essay Concerning the True Original, Extent, and End of Civil Government, London: Printed for Awnsham Churchill, at the Black Swan in Ave-Mary-Lane, by Amen-Corner, published 1690, →OCLC; republished London: Printed for Awnsham and John Churchill, at the Black Swan in Pater-Noster-Row, 1698, →OCLC, page 39:
      To conclude, this Text is ſo far from proving Adam Sole Proprietor, that on the contrary, it is a Confirmation of the Original Community of all Things amongſt the Sons of Men, which appearing from this Donation of God, as well as other places of Scripture; the Sovraignty of Adam, built upon his Private Dominion, muſt fall, not having any Foundation to ſupport it.
    • 1819 October 9, [Washington Irving], “The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. No. III. The Wife.”, in The Literary Gazette, and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, etc., volume III, number 142, London: Printed by William Pople, No. 67, Chancery Lane; published for the proprietors, at the Literary Gazette office, Strand; sold also by Bell and Bradfute, Edinburgh; John Cumming, Dublin; and all other booksellers, newsmen, &c., →OCLC, page 649, column 1:
      Besides, you are depriving yourself of the comforts of her sympathy; and not merely that, but also endangering the only bond that can keep hearts together—an unreserved community of thought and feeling.
  7. (uncountable, obsolete) Common character; likeness.
    • 1797, John Wilde, Sequel to an Address to the Lately Formed Society of the Friends of the People, Edinburgh: Printed for Peter Hill; and T[homas] Cadell, Jun. and W. Davies, London, →OCLC, page 1:
      We are now in the ninth year of the anarchy of France. [] A diſpoſition to peace has been diſplayed, without conſideration of the royal family of France. The natural horror at the effuſion of blood cannot be too ſtrong, and might of itſelf perſuade us to any ſort of peace; but it is a great queſtion, whether in this we ſhould loſe our natural horror at crime. Peace with France cannot be friendſhip with France. There can be no community between us and them, unleſs by allying ourſelves with murder, and ſanctioning and ſharing in the pillage of thieves.
    • 1864, Herbert Spencer, “Growth”, in The Principles of Biology (A System of Synthetic Philosophy; II), volume I, London, Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate, 14, Henrietta Steet, Covent Garden, London; and 20, South Frederick Street, Edinburgh, →OCLC, part II (The Inductions of Biology), § 43, pages 107–108:
      The essential community of nature between organic growth and inorganic growth, is, however, most clearly seen on observing that they both result in the same way. The segregation of different kinds of detritus from each other, as well as from the water carrying them, and their aggregation into distinct strata, is but an instance of a universl tendency towards the union of like units and the parting of unlike units [].
  8. (uncountable, obsolete) Commonness; frequency.
  9. (Wales, countable) A local area within a county or county borough which is the lowest tier of local government, usually represented by a community council or town council, which is generally equivalent to a civil parish in England.

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Terms related to community


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  • community”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.
  • community in Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary, edited by The Keywords Project, Colin MacCabe, Holly Yanacek, 2018.
  • "community" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 75.
  • community”, in The Century Dictionary [], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
  1. ^ commū̆nitẹ̄, n.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007, retrieved 20 November 2017.
  2. ^ community, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.

Further reading[edit]



Borrowed from English community.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkɔˈmjunɪti/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: com‧mu‧ni‧ty


community f or m (plural community's)

  1. community, particularly a virtual community or a group of people sharing common interests