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)unité:-L. communitat-em, f.
ME. had two forms, the trisyllabic comunete, comounté
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.]
a quality or state.
The quality of appertaining to or being held by all in common; joint or
common ownership, tenure, liability, etc.; as in community of
- 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.
Bp. Hall Rem. Wks. (1660) 161 One allows plurality, or community of
- 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
- 1875 Bryce Holy Rom. Emp. xxi. (ed. 5) 392 A
state whose strength lies in the community of interests and feelings among
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).
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 1605 Bloudy Bk. B iij,
Under this title of honor..to 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 1797 Godwin Enquirer i.
vi. 50 The literary world is an immense community.
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.
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.
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
- 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 religious society, a monastic body.
Chambers Cycl. s.v., Communities are of two kinds, ecclesiastic and
laic: the first are either secular, as chapters of cathedral and collegiate
- 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
community..is a community,-a successful attempt, that is, to organise
industry on a grand scale.
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
- 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
- 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;
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.
- 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.]
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.
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,
- 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.
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,..community centres and the like.
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
- 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.
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;
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
- 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
- 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
- 1923 Sackbut Nov. 115 The Town Hall, where the
weekly Community Singing was advertised to be held.
(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