The Oxford English Dictionary's definitions of "community"

community ko(hook)miu·niti (IPA ke|mju:nItI). Forms: 4-5 comunete, comynetee, -unite, -unyte, -unnete, comminite, 6 communytee, 6-7 -itie, 6- community. [a. OFr. com(m)uneté, com(m)unité:-L. communitat-em, f. commun-is common. ME. had two forms, the trisyllabic comunete, comounté (see commonty), and the 4-syllabic co(m)munité, which remained in closer formal connexion with the original Latin type. The L. word was merely a noun of quality from communis, meaning `fellowship, community of relations or feelings'; but in med.L. it was, like universitas, used concretely in the sense of `a body of fellows or fellow-townsmen', `universitas incolarum urbis vel oppidi,' and this was its earlier use in English: see II.]

I. As a quality or state.

1. a. The quality of appertaining to or being held by all in common; joint or common ownership, tenure, liability, etc.; as in community of goods.

1561 T. Norton Calvin's Inst. i. viii. (1634) 51 By community of power, he is the author of them.
1586 A. Day Eng. Secretary i. (1625) 123 The community of the mischiefe to all.
1624-47 Bp. Hall Rem. Wks. (1660) 161 One allows plurality, or community of Wives.
1645 Ussher Body Div. (1647) 285 Anabaptists, that hold community of goods.
1673 Lady's Calling Pref. 1 To rescue the whole sex..from the community of the blame.
1823 Lamb Elia Ser. ii. iii. (1865) 257, I have a community of feeling with my countrymen about [Shakspere's] Plays.
1841 D'Israeli Amen. Lit. (1867) 314 It was a community of studies, and a community of skill.
1875 Bryce Holy Rom. Emp. xxi. (ed. 5) 392 A state whose strength lies in the community of interests and feelings among its members.

b. Right of common. Obs.

1630 R. Johnson Kingd. & Commw; 79 Every Neighbour claimeth communitie to feed his Cattell.

2. Common character; quality in common; commonness, agreement, identity. nothing of community: nothing in common. community of interest: identity of interest, interests in common (spec. in Finance).

1587 Golding De Mornay ii. 18 Men, who ought euen naturally to be vnited, by the communitie of their kind.
1624 Wotton Archit. in Relig. Wotton. (1672) 21, I will first consider their Communities and then their Proprieties. Their Communities are Principally three. First they are all Round, etc.
1671 Grew Idea Philos. Hist. Plants §47 The Communities and Differences of the Contents of Vegetables;
1843 Wordsw. Pref. Note to Excursion Wks. 409/2 The points of community in their nature.
1876 M. Arnold Lit. & Dogma 154 The community of character which pervades them all.
1878 Morley Carlyle 165 Community of method, like misery, makes men acquainted with strange bed-fellows.
1883 J. R. Seeley Expans. Eng. i. 11 There are..three ties by which states are held together, community of race, community of religion, community of interest.
1889 E. Bellamy Looking Backward (ed. 17) xiii. 107 The sense of community of interest, international as well as national.
1930 Economist 23 Aug. 359/1 The old [French] system of `community of interest' (a system based on direct loans and other financial factors).
1934 Webster, Community of interest, any arrangement, as ownership of controlling amounts of stock by friendly interests, which insures permanent harmony of policy and management between different enterprises, without actual lease or consolidation.
1955 Times 9 May 8/6 Increased cooperation within the Balkan pact would establish a useful example of a fruitful and lively community of interest among peoples.

3. Social intercourse; fellowship, communion.

1570 T. Norton tr. Nowel's Catech. (1853) 196 While God reigneth by his Spirit in us, men have a certain community with God in this world.
C. 1610 Women Saints 182 There is no reason or law, that they should have any communitie or fellowship with vs.
1664 H. More Myst. Iniq. xvii. 63 Such gross..Corruptions in a Church would force the most serious Believers to forsake the Community thereof.
1818 Mrs. Shelley Frankenst. ix. (1865) 130 There can be no community between you and me; we are enemies.

4. Life in association with others; society, the social state.

1652 Shirley Brothers iv. i, Confined To cells, and unfrequented woods, they knew not The fierce vexation of community.
1712 Steele Spect. No. 522 P1 [Marriage] is the foundation of community, and the chief band of society.
1880 Hyde Clarke in Nature 203 The dog, either in community (commonly called wild) or in the domesticated state.

5. a. Commonness, ordinary occurrence. Obs.

1596 Shaks. 1 Hen. IV, iii. ii. 77 Seene but with such Eyes, As sicke and blunted with Communitie, Affoord no extraordinarie Gaze, Such as is bent on Sunne-like Maiestie.
1604 Drayton Owle 155 Happie's that sight the secret'st things can spye, By seeming purblind to Communitie.
1646 Sir T. Browne Pseud. Ep. 340 The community of this fruit [the apple].

b. Common character, vulgarity. Obs.

1605 Bloudy Bk. B iij, Under this title of maske his deedes of vice..and with the very sounde of Knight to boulster out the community of his ryots.

II. A body of individuals.

6. The body of those having common or equal rights or rank, as distinguished from the privileged classes; the body of commons; the commonalty.

1375 Barbour Bruce xx. 128* And all the lordis at thar war And als of the Comminite Maid hym manrent and fewte.
C. 1380 Wyclif Sel. Wks. III. 148 A gode comynate makes hom have gode heddis.
1572 Lament. Lady Scotl. in Sc. Poems 16th C. II. 247 Barrouns and nobilitie That dois oppres my pure communitie.
1700 Tyrrell Hist. Eng. II. 983 The Commons or Community also chose Twelve Persons to represent them.

7. A body of people organized into a political, municipal, or social unity: a. A state or commonwealth.

C. 1380 Wyclif Sel. Wks. III. 342 Þer is oon emperour and oon hede in a comunnete;
1474 Caxton Chesse 91 To prynces and them that gouerne the thynges of the comunete.
1578 T. N. tr. Conq. W. India 115 Certifying likewise that those with whome hee had foughte were of other communities.
1689 Burnet Tracts I. 68 The other Communities of this League bought their Liberties from several Bishops.
1769 Robertson Chas. V, I. i. 66 Europe was broken into many separate communities.
1815 Elphinstone Acc. Caubul (1842) II. 27 It is probable the number of independent communities is still more considerable.

b. A body of men living in the same locality.

A. 1600 Hooker Eccl. Pol. vii. xxii. §7 No mortal man, or community of men, hath right of propriety in them;
1711 Steele Spect. No. 49 P3 Those little Communities which we express by the word Neighbourhoods.
1774 J. Bryant Mythol. I. 63 Number of sacred hearths; each of which constituted a community or parish.
1873 Stubbs Const. Hist. I. xi. 407 During the Norman period London appears to have been a collection of small communities, manors, parishes, church-sokens, and guilds, held and governed in the usual way.
1884 Gladstone in Standard 29 Feb. 2/4 Many of the towns which, under the name of towns, are represented in this House, are really rural communities.

c. Often applied to those members of a civil community, who have certain circumstances of nativity, religion, or pursuit, common to them, but not shared by those among whom they live; as the British or Chinese community in a foreign city, the mercantile community everywhere, the Roman Catholic community in a Protestant city, etc., the Jewish community in London, familiarly known to its members as `The Community'.

1797 Godwin Enquirer i. vi. 50 The literary world is an immense community.
1856 Emerson Eng. Traits, The `Times' Wks. (Bohn) II. 117 Exposing frauds which threatened the commercial community.
1860 Motley Netherl. (1868) I. iii. 77 The Dutch community of the reformed religion in London subscribed 9005 florins.
1888 Amy Levy Reuben Sachs i. 2 One born and bred in the Jewish community.
1888 Amy Levy Reuben Sachs v. 48 That section of the Community which attaches importance to the observation of the Mosaic and Rabbinical laws in various minute points.
1888 Amy Levy Reuben Sachs vi. 69 The Community had come back in a body from country and seaside, in time for the impending religious festivals.

d. the community: the people of a country (or district) as a whole; the general body to which all alike belong, the public.

1789 Bentham Princ. Legisl. xviii. §2 The good of the community cannot require that any act should be made an offence which is not liable in some way or other to be detrimental to the community;
1814 Scott Wav. xxxii, Mercy to a criminal may be gross injustice to the community.
1832 Ht. Martineau Hill & Valley ii. 26 Such men become..a burden to the community.

e. A body of nations acknowledging unity of purpose or common interests. (Esp. in the titles of international organizations, as European Defence Community, European Economic Community.)

1952 Ann. Reg. 1951 167 The process of building up the Atlantic community to which the Western world was dedicated.
1959 Listener 16 Apr. 656/2 It certainly is the purpose of the Common Market to give every preference to the goods produced within the Community.
1961 New Left Rev. July-Aug. 5/2 The joint, Community-wide exploitation of the new markets.

8. spec. A body of persons living together, and practising, more or less, community of goods.

a. A religious society, a monastic body.

1727-51 Chambers Cycl. s.v., Communities are of two kinds, ecclesiastic and laic: the first are either secular, as chapters of cathedral and collegiate churches, etc.
1820 Scott Monast. i, A more inexpiable crime in the eyes of the Abbot and Community of Saint Mary's.
1850 Mrs. Jameson Leg. Monast. Ord. (1863) 119 To introduce some order into his community.

b. A socialistic or communistic society, such as those founded by Owen.

1844 Emerson Lect., New Eng. Ref. Wks. (Bohn) I. 264 Following, or advancing beyond the ideas of St. Simon, of Fourier, and of Owen, three communities have already been formed in Massachusetts.
1874 R. D. Owen Threading my Way 255 New Harmony therefore is not now a community.
1890 Spect. 27 Sept., The Mormon a community,-a successful attempt, that is, to organise industry on a grand scale.

9. transf. and fig. a. of gregarious animals. spec. in Ecology. A group of plants or animals growing or living together in natural conditions or inhabiting a specified area.

1746-7 Hervey Medit. (1818) 168 This frugal community are wisely employed in..collecting a copious stock of the most balmy treasures.
1814 Wordsw. Excurs. iv. 446 Creatures that in communities exist..The gilded summer flies.
1883 H. J. Rice tr. Moebius's Oyster Culture in Rep. U.S. Fish Comm. 1880 723 If, at any time, one of the external conditions of life should deviate..from its ordinary mean, the entire biocönose, or community, would be transformed;
1899 Natural Science XIV. 114 In English we have named these unions or communities `Plant Associations'.
1909 Warming Oecology of Plants xxvi. 91 The term `community' implies a diversity but at the same time a certain organized uniformity in the units.
1923 J. S. Huxley Ess. Biologist ii. 90, I have here been using the community to denote the simple aggregate unit which from the beginning has played such an important part biologically in human evolution, not merely as denoting the sum of individuals considered separately.
1931 J. Phillips in Jrnl. Ecol. XIX. 2 Plants and animals are inter-related, co-acting constituents of an integrated biotic community.
1957 [see biocoenosis].

b. of things: A cluster, a combination. Obs.

1541 R. Copland Galyen's Terapeutyke 2 C j b, The communytees of vlceres that last longe tyme that are vncurable. [Cf. Galen Therap. iv. iv, ai koinothtej ai twn xroniwn elkwn.]

10. A common prostitute. Obs.

1606 Sir G. Goosecappe i. iv. in Bullen O. Pl. III. 26 One of these painted communities, that are ravisht with Coaches and upper hands.

11. attrib., as community care, feeling, life, living, spirit, theatre; community centre (orig. U.S.), a building or an organization providing social, recreational, and educational facilities for a neighbourhood; community chest U.S., a fund made up of individual donations to meet the needs for charity and social welfare work in a community; community college (orig. U.S.) (see quot. 1959); community home, an institution for young offenders and children taken into the care of a local authority; cf. approved school s.v. approved ppl. a. 5; community service order, a court order that a convicted offender perform a stipulated number of hours of unpaid work for the community or an individual; community singing, organized singing in chorus by large groups or gatherings of people; so community song, etc.

1966 Lancet 24 Dec. 1409/1 How did the creators of community-care programmes go so badly astray?
1968 Brit. Med. Bull. XXIV. 194/2 Community care has emphasized the need to standardize and expand the medical vocabulary in directions outside the immediate disease situation.
1915 Nat. Educ. Assoc. U.S., Proc. 53rd Meeting 687 (heading) Community center work.
1931 Economist 10 Jan. 57/2 The widely varying agencies for meeting distress, scattered as they are among religious orders, centres and the like.
1934 Discovery Dec. 358/2 These Grith Fyrd Camps are permanent community centres, each of which accommodates, all the year round, young men up to fifty in number.
1959 Manch. Guardian 7 Aug. 5/2 A village hall..provides a community centre for concerts, whist drives, dances.
1921 Rural Organiz. (U.S.) 103 Some form of country-wide community chest.
1964 S. M. Miller in I. L. Horowitz New Sociol. 308 Securing representation on Community Chests and the like.
1959 C. V. Good Dict. Educ. (ed. 2) 108 College, community, an educational institution offering instruction for persons beyond the age of the normal secondary school pupil, in a program geared particularly to the needs and interests of the local area.
1962 F. Rudolph Amer. College & Univ; 487 In 40 states 160 community colleges developed out of one-time normal schools.
1969 Northern Territory News 11 July 7/3 And why call it a community college? It's just stopping short. What we should get is a university college, with technical training facilities.
1931 H. Read Meaning of Art ii. 49 Hitherto the highest form of community-feeling has been religious.
1969 Children & Young Persons Act c.54 § 36(1) The children's regional planning committee..shall prepare..a plan..for the provision and maintenance of homes, to be known as community homes, for the accommodation and maintenance of children in the care of the relevant authorities;
1977 Times Educ. Suppl. 21 Oct. 1/3 But when it comes to higher-level policy it seems clear that lumping all sorts of children into euphemistically named `community homes' is bound to leave many perfectly normal but unlucky children with a stigma they have done nothing to deserve.
1982 Observer 5 Sept. 25/7 The prison became..approved school. This is now a dirty word-two dirty words-so it's community home these days.
1919 M. Shaw Brit. Hymn Festival Bk. Pref., Community hymn singing is very much in evidence to-day.
1879 Baring-Gould Germany II. 152 It was impossible for the Ursulines to accept conditions which would have broken up their community life.
1951 R. Firth Elem. Social Organiz. iii. 119 The Maori social system, with..its characteristic community life.
1959 Manch. Guardian 11 Aug. 5/1 Jordans is a monument to two causes-Quakerism and community living.
1972 Criminal Justice Act i. §15 (1) Where a person who has attained the age of seventeen is convicted of an offence punishable with imprisonment, the court by or before which he is convicted may..make an order (in this Act referred to as `a community service order') requiring him to perform unpaid work in accordance with the subsequent provisions of this Act;
1980 Oxf. Compan. Law 259/1 Community service order, an order which a court may make, instead of dealing with an offender in any other way, requiring him to perform a specified number of hours of unpaid work.
1922 S. Lewis Babbitt vi. 74 Ryland wore spats, he wrote long letters about City Planning and Community Singing.
1923 Sackbut Nov. 115 The Town Hall, where the weekly Community Singing was advertised to be held.
1927 (title) Labour community song book.
1943 J. S. Huxley TVA xii. 105 A real community spirit has developed in the new town.
1929 S. Cheney Theatre xxii. 501 The little theatres, and the larger community theatres built on the foundations they laid.

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