I want to say that railways is most commonly used form of transport in the country. Am I using the word "ubiquitous" correctly to convey the meaning?

City X is not accessible directly by rail (which is ubiquitous in the country / most commonly used mode of long distance transport in the country) and is known for its extreme climate.

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    Literally, ubiquitous means everywhere. So if some city is not accessible directly by rail, saying that rail is ubiquitous is a contradiction. Nov 29, 2016 at 11:34
  • Nonsense, @PeterShor. Everywhere is one of the meanings of ubiquitous, but not the only one.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 29, 2016 at 12:58
  • @Colin: that's why I said "literally". It comes from the Latin word ubique, meaning everywhere. And the meaning widespread is a metaphorical extension of the meaning everywhere. (Similarly, everywhere can also mean widespread.) Nov 29, 2016 at 13:18
  • And I would say that that is an example of the Etymological fallacy, @PeterShor. What a word comes from tells you nothing reliable about its meaning.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 29, 2016 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Ubiquitous simply means “common”, not necessarily “most common”.

Therefore, if you want to convey that people won’t have any trouble finding a train to catch, than ubiquitous would work just fine.

On the other hand, if you want to say that people travel by train more than by any other transport, then you should use most common.

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