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noun or·di·nary \ˈȯr-də-ˌner-ē\

Definition of ordinary



  1. 1 a (1) :  a prelate exercising original jurisdiction over a specified territory or group (2) :  a clergyman appointed formerly in England to attend condemned criminals b :  a judge of probate in some states of the United States

  2. 2 often capitalized :  the parts of the Mass that do not vary from day to day

  3. 3 :  the regular or customary condition or course of things —usually used in the phrase out of the ordinary

  4. 4 a British :  a meal served to all comers at a fixed price b chiefly British :  a tavern or eating house serving regular meals

  5. 5 :  a common heraldic charge (as the bend) of simple form

Origin and Etymology of ordinary

Middle English ordinarie, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin ordinarius, from Latin ordinarius, adjective

First Known Use: 14th century



adjective or·di·nary

Simple Definition of ordinary

  • : normal or usual : not unusual, different, or special

  • : neither very good nor very bad : not very impressive

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ordinary

  1. 1 :  of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events :  routine, usual <an ordinary day>

  2. 2 :  having or constituting immediate or original jurisdiction; also :  belonging to such jurisdiction

  3. 3 a :  of common quality, rank, or ability <an ordinary teenager> b :  deficient in quality :  poor, inferior <ordinary wine>


play \ˌȯr-də-ˈner-ə-lē\ adverb


play \ˈȯr-də-ˌner-ē-nəs\ noun

Examples of ordinary in a sentence

  1. They've had the ordinary problems associated with starting a new business.

  2. My wife thought our guide was strange, but he seemed perfectly ordinary to me.

  3. The meal was ordinary and uninspired.

Origin and Etymology of ordinary

Middle English ordinarie, from Latin ordinarius, from ordin-, ordo order

First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of ordinary

common, ordinary, plain, familiar, popular, vulgar mean generally met with and not in any way special, strange, or unusual. common implies usual everyday quality or frequency of occurrence <a common error> <lacked common honesty> and may additionally suggest inferiority or coarseness <common manners>. ordinary stresses conformance in quality or kind with the regular order of things <an ordinary pleasant summer day> <a very ordinary sort of man>. plain is likely to suggest homely simplicity <plain hard-working people>. familiar stresses the fact of being generally known and easily recognized <a familiar melody>. popular applies to what is accepted by or prevalent among people in general sometimes in contrast to upper classes or special groups <a writer of popular romances>. vulgar, otherwise similar to popular, is likely to carry derogatory connotations (as of inferiority or coarseness) <souvenirs designed to appeal to the vulgar taste>.

ORDINARY Defined for Kids



adjective or·di·nary \ˈȯr-də-ˌner-ē\

Definition of ordinary for Students

  1. 1 :  to be expected :  normal, usual <an ordinary day>

  2. 2 :  neither good nor bad :  average <I was an ordinary student.> <They're just ordinary people.>

  3. 3 :  not very good :  mediocre <She gave a very ordinary speech.>



noun or·di·nary

Definition of ordinary for Students

  1. :  the conditions or events that are usual or normal <It's nothing out of the ordinary.>

Law Dictionary


adjective or·di·nary

Legal Definition of ordinary

  1. :  of a kind to be expected from the average person or in the normal course of events; broadly :  of a common kind or degree <an ordinary proceeding> — compare extraordinary

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