Definitions for common era

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word common era

Princeton's WordNet

  1. Christian era, Common era(adverb)

    the time period beginning with the supposed year of Christ's birth

  2. CE, C.E., Common Era(adverb)

    of the period coinciding with the Christian era; preferred by some writers who are not Christians

    "in 200 CE"


  1. Common Era(ProperNoun)

    the method of numbering years whereby the current internationally recognized year is on the Gregorian calendar; secular equivalent of anno Domini and the Christian Era.

  2. Origin: Originally Vulgar Era. The English phrase "common Era" appears at least as early as 1708, and by 1715 is used synonymously with "Christian Era" and "Vulgar Era".


  1. Common Era

    Common Era, abbreviated as CE, is an alternative naming of the traditional calendar era, Anno Domini. BCE is the abbreviation for Before the Common/Current/Christian Era. The CE/BCE designation uses the year-numbering system introduced by the 6th-century Christian monk Dionysius Exiguus, who started the Anno Domini designation, intending the beginning of the life of Jesus to be the reference date. Neither notation includes a year zero, and the two notations are numerically equivalent; thus "2013 CE" corresponds to "AD 2013" and "399 BCE" corresponds to "399 BC". The expression "Common Era" can be found as early as 1708 in English, and traced back to Latin usage among European Christians to 1615, as vulgaris aerae, and to 1635 in English as Vulgar Era. At those times, the expressions were all used interchangeably with "Christian Era", and "vulgar" meant "not regal" rather than "crudely indecent". Use of the CE abbreviation was introduced by Jewish academics in the mid-19th century. Since the later 20th century, use of CE and BCE has been popularized in academic and scientific publications, and more generally by publishers emphasizing secularism or sensitivity to non-Christians.

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