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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Several prosecutors warned that granting house arrest to certain mafia figures was unacceptable, even under the extraordinary circumstances of the devastating coronavirus outbreak. New York Times, "In Italy, Some Fear the Virus Is a Get-Out-of-Jail Card for Mafiosi," 13 May 2020 Department officials reviewing the Flynn case interviewed Bill Priestap, the former head of FBI counterintelligence, two days before making their extraordinary request to drop the case to Judge Emmet Sullivan. Adam Goldmanand Katie Benner, BostonGlobe.com, "Ex-FBI official is said to undercut Justice Dept. effort to drop Flynn case," 13 May 2020 The second stage of the Fed’s extraordinary rescue goes beyond liquidity. Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, "The Bailout Is Working — For the Rich," 10 May 2020 With the extraordinary circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic that has forced social distancing measures to contain it, one of the big questions this time of year is when and under what conditions graduation will occur. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Hargrave High graduation date set for June 27 Ford Park Arena in Beaumont," 8 May 2020 Bluntly put, no one knows for sure, especially in the extraordinary circumstances of an election-year pandemic. Christopher Devine, The Conversation, "For Biden, naming Cabinet before election would be a big risk," 7 May 2020 Each contains an assemblage of curiosities and treasures, including extraordinary geological specimens in one, most notably a 30-million-year-old sandstone formation. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best New Hotels in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central & South America: 2020 Hot List," 5 May 2020 Presented by Helen Castor, PhD, and filmed on location in England and France, this BBC series brings history to life by examining the reigns of seven extraordinary English queens. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "The Best British Shows and Movies to Stream If You Love The Royal Family," 4 May 2020 Containment Those Brits certainly have a knack for making taut, psychological thrillers about ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Indulge your morbid curiosity about the pandemic with these ten films," 3 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about extraordinary

Time Traveler for extraordinary

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for extraordinary

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extraordinary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extraordinary. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on extraordinary

What made you want to look up extraordinary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!