English

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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Calque of Middle French sens commun and its source, Latin sēnsus commūnis,[1] itself a calque of Ancient Greek κοινὴ αἴσθησις (koinḕ aísthēsis).

Noun

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common sense (uncountable)

  1. Ordinary sensible understanding; one's basic intelligence which allows for plain understanding and without which good decisions or judgments cannot be made.
    • 1776, Horace Walpole, Letter to Sir Horace Mann:
      To act with common sense, according to the moment, is the best wisdom I know; and the best philosophy, to do one's duties, take the world as it comes, submit respectfully to one's lot, bless the goodness that has given us so much happiness with it, whatever it is, and despise affectation.
    • 2018, Kristin Lawless, Formerly known as food, →ISBN, page 52:
      While there are not yet studies to prove it, common sense tells us that a stressed and sick animal is not an ideal candidate to eventually make a healthy meal.
    • 2022, Douglas W. Maynard, Jason Turowetz, “Autistic Intelligence as Uncommon Sense”, in Autistic Intelligence – Interaction, Individuality, and the Challenges of Diagnosis, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, →DOI, →ISBN, page 81:
      Common sense, by contrast to self-attentiveness, involves other-attentiveness, as a person pays attention to the social world around them and to the structure of tacit meanings that others impart through the use of utterances and embodied conduct. […] Common sense as other-attentiveness means that a participant pays attention to another’s world as a condition for bespeaking one’s own.
  2. (philosophy) One of the four interior senses; the one by which information from the five exterior senses is understood and interpreted.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], “Of the Inward Senses”, in The Anatomy of Melancholy, [], Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] John Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition 1, section 1, member 2, subsection 7, page 35:
      This common ſenſe is the Iudge or Moderator of the reſt, by whom we diſcerne all differences of obiects; for by mine eye I doe not knowe that I ſee, or by mine eare that I heare, but by my common ſenſe, []

Synonyms

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Derived terms

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Translations

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See also

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References

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  1. ^ common sense, n. and adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.

Further reading

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