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

Others are extraordinary, like the outpouring of support for the victims of the shootings in Tucson last year. Karina Bland, azcentral, "My love affair with Arizona began on a hot July runway. Now I know I'm home," 10 June 2019 Ted Cruz and John Cornyn distance themselves now is extraordinary. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Red light cameras' fate, Abbott's denial, Ted Cruz on Mexico tariffs, Robert E. Lee statue sold," 6 June 2019 These agencies are full of people from everyday backgrounds doing the most extraordinary work to keep us safe. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince William Reveals He's Gone Undercover with UK Spy Agencies," 7 Apr. 2019 Here Gehry and his client Michael Eisner, both great storytellers in different vocabularies, talk about their work together, which has resulted in one of the most extraordinary small buildings of our time. David Netto, Town & Country, "Frank Gehry Built a Tiny House for Michael Eisner," 19 Mar. 2019 The heavier, more substantial glass is what gives Murano glass its extraordinary reflective quality. Elizabeth Pash, House Beautiful, "How to Spot Genuine Murano Glass," 24 May 2019 As predicted, some pretty extraordinary events start happening. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Netflix Just Released the Trailer for the New Christmas Movie 'The Holiday Calendar'," 23 Oct. 2018 The straightforward narrative pins Pearl’s personal revolution to the extraordinary twin events that bookend her summer. SFChronicle.com, "World premiere musical ‘Walk on the Moon’ in S.F. mostly captures spirit of 1969," 16 June 2018 But extraordinary in the sense, often, of being special, glamorous. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "How Indya Moore Prepped for Her Shining Met Gala Moment," 8 May 2019

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

Statistics for extraordinary

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for extraordinary

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for extraordinary

extraordinary

adjective

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

incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!