adjective atyp·i·cal \ (ˌ)ā-ˈti-pi-kəl \
Updated on: 8 Apr 2018
: not typical : irregular, unusual
  • an atypical form of a disease
  • atypical weather for this area


play \ˌā-ˌti-pə-ˈka-lə-tē\ noun


play \(ˌ)ā-ˈti-pi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of atypical in a Sentence

  1. the postal service delivered the package with atypical speed

  2. since that's an atypical response for an infant, you might want to have her hearing tested

Recent Examples of atypical from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'atypical.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of atypical

ATYPICAL Defined for English Language Learners


  • : not typical : not usual or normal

ATYPICAL Defined for Kids


adjective atyp·i·cal \ ˈā-ˈti-pi-kəl \
: not usual or normal: not typical
  • an atypical case



Medical Dictionary



adjective atyp·i·cal \ (ˈ)ā-ˈtip-i-kəl \
1 : not typical : not like the usual or normal type
  • The procedure, ductal lavage, washes cells from the milk ducts, where 95 percent of breast cancers start. Tests can then be performed to look for atypical or abnormal cells.
  • —Judith GrochThe New York Times20 Nov. 2001
  • The results of treatment of patients with gallstones are less successful in individuals with atypical pain patterns or painless dyspepsia …
  • The Journal of the American Medical Association24 Feb. 1993
  • In some patients with atypical dysgenesis, the smear may show slight proliferation.
  • —George L Wied et al.Compendium on Diagnostic Cytology1976
2 : relating to or being an antipsychotic drug (such as aripiprazole and risperidone) that tends to produce fewer adverse side effects on movement (such as akathisia or dyskinesia) than previously used antipsychotic drugs (such as haloperidol)
  • Atypical antipsychotics work more precisely, manipulating both dopamine and serotonin and suppressing symptoms without causing so many associated problems.
  • —Jeffrey KlugerTime19 Aug. 2002
  • Although studies indicated that the atypical drugs are similar to the conventional drugs in reducing psychotic symptoms and produce few neurologic effects, the evidence of their superior efficacy has been neither consistent nor robust …
  • —Jeffrey A. Lieberman et al.The New England Journal of Medicine22 Sept. 2005


\(ˈ)ā-ˈtip-i-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
    • Atypically depressed patients often show a different clinical picture from those with “classical” major depression.
    • —Ronald PiesThe New York Times31 July 2007



: an atypical antipsychotic drug ((see 1atypical 2))
  • Her 24-year-old daughter, diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1993, had problems with two types of atypicals before a third proved successful.
  • —Stephaan HarrisUSA Today28 June 1999

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to speak or write verbosely and windily

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