1. The people of a nation or state; the body politic.
2. A nation or state governed by the people; a republic.
a. Used to refer to some US states, namely, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
b. Used to refer to a self-governing, autonomous political unit voluntarily associated with the United States, namely, Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands.
4. often Commonwealth The Commonwealth of Nations.
5. The English state and government from the death of Charles I in 1649 to the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, including the Protectorate of 1653 to 1659.
6. Archaic The public good; commonweal.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.