com·mon·wealth /-ˌwɛlθ ||ˌwɛltθ/
1. A state; a body politic consisting of a certain number of men, united, by compact or tacit agreement, under one form of government and system of laws.
The trappings of a monarchy would set up an ordinary commonwealth. --Milton.
Note: ☞ This term is applied to governments which are considered as free or popular, but rarely, or improperly, to an absolute government. The word signifies, strictly, the common well-being or happiness; and hence, a form of government in which the general welfare is regarded rather than the welfare of any class.
2. The whole body of people in a state; the public.
3. Eng. Hist. Specifically, the form of government established on the death of Charles I., in 1649, which existed under Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard, ending with the abdication of the latter in 1659.
Syn: -- State; realm; republic.
n 1: the official name of some states in the United States
(Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and Virginia and
Kentucky) and associated territories (Puerto Rico)
2: a politically organized body of people under a single
government; "the state has elected a new president";
"African nations"; "students who had come to the nation's
capitol"; "the country's largest manufacturer"; "an
industrialized land" [syn: state, nation, country, land,
res publica, body politic]
3: a world organization of autonomous states that are united in
allegiance to a central power but are not subordinate to
it or to one another
4: a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body
of citizens who can elect people to represent them [syn: democracy,
republic] [ant: autocracy]