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1 definition found
 for To be on short commons
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Commons \Com"mons\, n. pl.,
     1. The mass of the people, as distinguished from the titled
        classes or nobility; the commonalty; the common people.
        [1913 Webster]
              'T is like the commons, rude unpolished hinds,
              Could send such message to their sovereign. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
              The word commons in its present ordinary
              signification comprises all the people who are under
              the rank of peers.                    --Blackstone.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. The House of Commons, or lower house of the British
        Parliament, consisting of representatives elected by the
        qualified voters of counties, boroughs, and universities.
        [1913 Webster]
              It is agreed that the Commons were no part of the
              great council till some ages after the Conquest.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. Provisions; food; fare, -- as that provided at a common
        table in colleges and universities.
        [1913 Webster]
              Their commons, though but coarse, were nothing
              scant.                                --Dryden.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. A club or association for boarding at a common table, as
        in a college, the members sharing the expenses equally;
        as, to board in commons.
        [1913 Webster]
     5. A common; public pasture ground.
        [1913 Webster]
              To shake his ears, and graze in commons. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
     Doctors' Commons, a place near St. Paul's Churchyard in
        London where the doctors of civil law used to common
        together, and where were the ecclesiastical and admiralty
        courts and offices having jurisdiction of marriage
        licenses, divorces, registration of wills, etc.
     To be on short commons, to have a small allowance of food.
        [1913 Webster] Common sense

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