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 The proposal also doesn’t address the root causes that limit affordable housing, from the extraordinary costs of construction to baroque planning procedures and neighborhood opposition. Gregory Barber, Wired, "In the Land of Big Tech Outposts, a Push for More Housing," 5 Feb. 2020 Reid's lyrics map the mundane and the extraordinary with rare and invigorating skill. TheWeek, "Danez Smith recommends their 6 favorite books," 2 Feb. 2020 The steps mark an extraordinary escalation of the administration’s response to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus that has sickened nearly 10,000 people around the world, mostly in China, and killed 213 there. Lev Facher, STAT, "U.S. declares public health emergency over coronavirus, bans travel from China by foreign nationals," 31 Jan. 2020 Its interior is pretty extraordinary, too: a two-story foyer makes for a grand entrance. Darla Guillen, Houston Chronicle, "Texas oilman Gene Van Dyke's River Oaks home price slashed by $5M," 23 Jan. 2020 Since 1978, the Kennedy Center Honors has upheld a tradition of recognizing the lifelong accomplishments and extraordinary talents of our nations' most-prestigious artists. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "How to catch this Louisville Orchestra pro at the 2019 Kennedy Center Honors on CBS," 12 Dec. 2019 In this new biography, unexpectedly published posthumously, Morris deploys those extraordinary talents again to sculpt a staggeringly grand likeness of the American genius Thomas Alva Edison. Washington Post, "Thomas Edison’s brilliant life, told in reverse," 27 Nov. 2019 Its distinguishing feature is a tolerance for inequality that derives from the way in which riches, in a meritocratic system, are earned by people of extraordinary talent. The Economist, "A scholar of inequality ponders the future of capitalism," 2 Nov. 2019 Oh, Adam Sandler your performance is extraordinary, your magic is real, buddy. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Adam Sandler Says Jennifer Aniston Is 'the Best' After She Praises Him in SAG Awards Speech," 20 Jan. 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

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extraordinary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extraordinary. Accessed 22 Feb. 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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