extraordinary

adjective

ex·​traor·​di·​nary ik-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē How to pronounce extraordinary (audio)
ˌek-strə-ˈȯr-
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
: employed for or sent on a special function or service
an ambassador extraordinary
extraordinarily
ik-ˌstrȯr-də-ˈner-ə-lē How to pronounce extraordinary (audio)
ˌek-strə-ˌȯr-
adverb
extraordinariness noun

Did you know?

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.”

Example Sentences

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 Turner did not get a national-team start until last year, but his performances have been extraordinary, with 15 shutouts in 22 games. Frank Dell'apa, BostonGlobe.com, 28 Nov. 2022 Largescale protests are exceedingly rare in China, where public expressions of dissent are routinely stifled — but a direct rebuke of Xi, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, is extraordinary. Time, 27 Nov. 2022 Largescale protests are exceedingly rare in China, where public expressions of dissent are routinely stifled — but a direct rebuke of Xi, the country’s most powerful leader in decades, is extraordinary. Dake Kang And Huizhong Wu, USA TODAY, 27 Nov. 2022 The superior resilience and steadfast strength of the Oxford Community navigating this journey of grief has been extraordinary. Freep.com, 27 Nov. 2022 The story of that temporary program — technically, a tax-credit expansion but more plainly a series of monthly checks to most families with children — was extraordinary in every way. Jason Deparle, New York Times, 25 Nov. 2022 And a case against a former president, obviously, would be extraordinary, would raise unique concerns. CBS News, 20 Nov. 2022 Real or fake, the sheen of effective altruism seems to have fooled plenty of people into thinking Bankman-Fried was extraordinary. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 18 Nov. 2022 The company’s numbers raise a lot of questions—how much of a role did resellers play, for example?—but the underlying takeaway seems correct: The breadth and intensity of Swift’s fandom right now is extraordinary. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 18 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near extraordinary

Cite this Entry

“Extraordinary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extraordinary. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

extraordinary

adjective

ex·​traor·​di·​nary ik-ˈstrȯrd-ᵊn-ˌer-ē How to pronounce extraordinary (audio)
ˌek-strə-ˈȯrd-
: so unusual as to be remarkable
extraordinarily
ik-ˌstrȯrd-ᵊn-ˈer-ə-lē
ˌek-strə-ˌȯrd-
adverb
extraordinariness
ik-ˈstrȯrd-ᵊn-ˌer-ē-nəs
ˌek-strə-ˈȯrd-
noun

Legal Definition

extraordinary

adjective

ex·​tra·​or·​di·​nary ek-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē, ˌek-strə-ˈȯr- How to pronounce extraordinary (audio)
1
a
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on extraordinary

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