extraordinary

adjective
ex·​traor·​di·​nary | \ ik-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē How to pronounce extraordinary (audio) , ˌek-strə-ˈȯr- \

Definition of extraordinary

1a : 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 : employed for or sent on a special function or service an ambassador extraordinary

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Other Words from extraordinary

extraordinarily \ ik-​ˌstrȯr-​də-​ˈner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce extraordinarily (audio) , ˌek-​strə-​ˌȯr-​ \ adverb
extraordinariness \ ik-​ˈstrȯr-​də-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce extraordinariness (audio) , ˌek-​strə-​ˈȯr-​ \ noun

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.”

Examples of extraordinary in a Sentence

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 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 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 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 The researchers made an extraordinary discovery. The race is an extraordinary event.
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Recent Examples on the Web Yet in the same way an extraordinary spring has brought public, corporate and philanthropic leaders quickly forward to deal firmly with unprecedented challenges in remarkable ways. David L. Johnson, The Indianapolis Star, "Extraordinary spring brings leaders forward in remarkable ways," 28 May 2020 But spaceflight is governed by unforgiving physics, requiring extraordinary amounts of energy to escape gravity. Christian Davenport, Anchorage Daily News, "Flying astronauts has always been risky. No wonder NASA and SpaceX are on edge today.," 27 May 2020 But, ultimately, their extraordinary talent overshadows everything. Aimee Lewis, CNN, "Magnus Carlsen: 'My emotions are usually outside my body and that's not what you usually connect to a chess player.'," 27 May 2020 Further Reading With a simple and cheap rocket, Virgin Orbit aims for the extraordinaryThis was the company's first attempt to ignite LauncherOne. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Virgin Orbit loses its first rocket shortly after engine ignition," 25 May 2020 With the extraordinary performance of optical atomic clocks, a redefinition of the second now seems inevitable. Andrew Ludlow, The Conversation, "Pairing lasers with microwaves makes mind-bogglingly accurate electronic clocks – a potential boon for GPS, cell phones and radar," 22 May 2020 The injustice of the singular act of the shooting is magnified by a collective acceptance and defense of the shooter’s extraordinary alarm. David French, Time, "How Unreasonable Fear Costs Some Black Americans Their Life," 21 May 2020 Even China’s extraordinary quarantine of Wuhan merely delayed the virus from reaching other parts of the mainland by three to five days. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "We Live in a Patchwork Pandemic Now," 20 May 2020 In a new paper in Nature Scientific Reports, our research team documented and interpreted an extraordinary site in northern Tanzania called Engare Sero, where hundreds of human footprints were preserved in volcanic ash many thousands of years ago. Popular Science, "Prehistoric footprints reveal how ancient men and women divided labor," 20 May 2020

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

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First Known Use of extraordinary

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for extraordinary

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

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Time Traveler for extraordinary

Time Traveler

The first known use of extraordinary was in the 15th century

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Statistics for extraordinary

Last Updated

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extraordinary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extraordinary. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for extraordinary

extraordinary

adjective
How to pronounce extraordinary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of extraordinary

: very unusual : very different from what is normal or ordinary
: extremely good or impressive

extraordinary

adjective
ex·​traor·​di·​nary | \ ik-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē How to pronounce extraordinary (audio) , ˌek-strə-ˈȯr- \

Kids Definition of extraordinary

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

Other Words from extraordinary

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

extraordinary

adjective
ex·​tra·​or·​di·​nary | \ ek-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē, ˌek-strə-ˈȯr- How to pronounce extraordinary (audio) \

Legal Definition of extraordinary

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 : employed for or sent on a special function or service an ambassador extraordinary

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Comments on extraordinary

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