short commons

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short commons pl (plural only)

  1. Meagre rations.
    • 1838, Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
      The master, in his cook's uniform, stationed himself at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him; the gruel was served out; and a long grace was said over the short commons.
    • 1869, Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
      Kitty, the cook, who took life 'aisy', kept him on short commons.