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adjective ex·traor·di·nary \ik-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē, ˌek-strə-ˈȯr-\

Simple Definition of extraordinary

  • : very unusual : very different from what is normal or ordinary

  • : extremely good or impressive

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of extraordinary

  1. 1 a :  going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary <extraordinary powers> b :  exceptional to a very marked extent <extraordinary beauty> c of a financial transaction :  nonrecurring

  2. 2 :  employed for or sent on a special function or service <an ambassador extraordinary>


play \ik-ˌstrȯr-də-ˈner-ə-lē, ˌek-strə-ˌȯr-\ adverb


play \ik-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē-nəs, ˌek-strə-ˈȯr-\ noun

Examples of extraordinary in a sentence

  1. A polymer based on the elastic protein that enables fleas to perform their extraordinary jumping feats has been synthesized. The material … is, perhaps unsurprisingly, rubbery and highly resilient; indeed, some of its properties exceed those of a material used to make bouncy balls for the playground. —Rosamund Daw, Nature, 13 Oct. 2005

  2. Jimi Hendrix is one of those extraordinary hubs of music where everybody lands at some point. Every musician passes through Hendrix International Airport eventually. … He is the common denominator of every style of contemporary music. —John Mayer, Rolling Stone, 15 Apr. 2004

  3. Like the eighteenth-century Scots, whose similar borderland situation stimulated an extraordinary renaissance in letters, natural science, and social science, the Americans' ambivalent identities led them to the interstices of metropolitan thought where were found new views and new approaches to the old. —Bernard Bailyn, To Begin the World Anew, 2003

  4. Books can even have merits that are owed to their lack of literary quality: Agatha Christie's whodunits display an extraordinary ingenuity in their plotting, but the beauty of the puzzle requires cardboard characters and total implausibility in motives and reasons. —Richard Jenkyns, New Republic, 28 Jan. 2002

  5. The researchers made an extraordinary discovery.

  6. The race is an extraordinary event.

What is the Difference Between extraordinary and extra ordinary?

Prefixes can be tricky things, often carrying meanings that differ from what one might expect. Additionally, some prefixes are spelled like independent English words, yet may have meanings that are different from those words. Such is the case with the word extra and the prefix extra-.

The word extra is used as a noun, adjective, and an adverb. When used as a separate word, as in the sentence “It was an extra ordinary day,” “extra” is functioning as an adverb meaning “very.” An “extra ordinary day” is a day that is very ordinary. In contrast, the prefix extra- means “outside or beyond.” Attached to “ordinary,” in “It was an extraordinary day,” the meaning changes markedly, to “It was a day beyond ordinary.”

Origin and Etymology of extraordinary

Middle English extraordinarie, from Latin extraordinarius, from extra ordinem out of course, from extra + ordinem, accusative of ordin-, ordo order

First Known Use: 15th century

EXTRAORDINARY Defined for Kids


adjective ex·traor·di·nary \ik-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē, ˌek-strə-ˈȯr-\

Definition of extraordinary for Students

  1. :  so unusual as to be remarkable <She has extraordinary talent.>


\ik-ˌstrȯr-də-ˈner-ə-lē, ˌek-strə-ˌȯr-də-ˈner-\ adverb

Law Dictionary


adjective ex·tra·or·di·nary \ek-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē, ˌek-strə-ˈȯr-\

Legal Definition of extraordinary

  1. 1a :  going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary; specifically :  of, relating to, or having the nature of a proceeding or action not normally required by law or not prescribed for the regular administration of law <an extraordinary session of the legislature> <granted extraordinary relief> — compare ordinary b :  of or relating to a financial transaction that is not expected to be repeated <an extraordinary charge against earnings> <an extraordinary gain>

  2. 2 :  employed for or sent on a special function or service <an ambassador extraordinary>

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a dwelling place or home

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