tong2 means 'common'


tong2 is composed of . The first component denotes 'a small area' and the second component is yi1 meaning 'one' while the last component is the character kou3 meaning 'mouth'. Mouths speaking as one has the connotation of 'same' or 'common'.

tong2shi4 means 'colleague' and literally translates as 'common'-'business'.

shi4 is from a hieroglyph with the following components  meaning 'flag', 'mouth' and 'hand' respectively. Combined we have 'under the flag there is a man doing a job using his hands and communicating verbally' i.e. 'business'.

xiang1tong2 means 'alike in appearance' and literally translates as 'appearance'-'common'.

xiang1 is composed of  where the first component is mu4 meaning 'tree' or 'wood' and the second component is mu4 meaning 'eyes' (original hieroglyph being ). The combined meaning was 'assessing a tree for use as timber'. Later extensions were 'appearance' and 'relationship'.