I'm talking about a large group experience. Depression for example is felt by millions, it's a shared experience that most of us can understand, but I'd like one word to describe the understanding we can feel for what ever the shared experience is because we've all experienced it. Empathetic, prevalent, pervasive, rampant, etc. are not really what I'm thinking of.

  • 3
    Just a note that depression is widespread but also often intensely private and isolating, so words like "common" or "shared" which suggest public or shared experience may seem a bit inappropriate in the context.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 6, 2020 at 14:27
  • @StuartF Are you suggesting that "depression" is an awkward topic for questions, answers, AND examples as such. If so, I will delete my answer below. I do not necessarily see it that way. Please clarify your admonition. I don't want to inadvertently be insensitive.
    – user22542
    Jun 8, 2022 at 18:03

5 Answers 5



regularly occurring within an area or community — Lexico

[Depression & stress as well as empathy, love, and sympathy are all endemic to nearly every culture; and there for people, world wide]


Why not use a group of words separated by hyphens? The problem with “single word” requests is that they often yield a word that few people know, so that the net effect in the average reader’s mind is confusion rather than enlightenment.

For example: when the war finally ended,John and Susan soon got over their everyone’s-in-the-same-boat sense of shared sacrifice, and moved back to their place on the Upper West Side. Bill went back to the garage in Poughkeepsie.


My first inclination was that the word you seek should be a variant of "community" - perhaps "communal" (adj.) or "communion" (n.), but upon re-reading your question I wanted to offer a few other possibilities. Both "identity" and/or "identify" convey a similar sense of human commonality. In fact, "commonality" itself could be used (with the focus being on a single (common) "defining experience".

The "depressed" feel a painful lack of communion that others do not likewise experience.

The "depressed" share a common identity based on their pain and yet others do not easily identify with them.

TFD - communal

TFD - communion

TFD - identity

TFD - identify


For large groups, these explanations work well. But for very small groups or just a couple or few acquaintances, "camaraderie" or "comradery" may suit communal sense of shared experience. Although, it would be a stretch to apply that to shared depression, I have seen patients revel in "camaraderie" or "comradery" around shared depressive experiences.

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    Sep 21, 2023 at 0:03
  • 1
    Do you mean camaraderie/comradery?
    – livresque
    Sep 21, 2023 at 0:10

I think that it depends on how grand you'd like to go, but I am sort of partial to universality.

  • 1
    Please add an explanation. as to why you think this word is suitable. Jun 8, 2022 at 11:09

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