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

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 The rain stopped, the show and party were extraordinary. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "Choose Used! In Honor of Earth Day, 8 Fashion Insiders Model Their Oldest, Most Treasured Clothes," 22 Apr. 2019 Clean lines and vast expanses of glass create the perfect envelope for extraordinary works by Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso. Steven Stolman, House Beautiful, "Sunnylands: The California Mansion That Has Hosted Frank Sinatra, Queen Elizabeth, and More," 18 Apr. 2019 The very special dad in question, Michael, has been a lifelong Liverpool fan, but his daughter put him forward for the award on account of his extraordinary efforts as a father. SI.com, "WATCH: The Heartwarming Moment as Robbie Fowler Springs a Surprise for Father's Day," 16 June 2018 Beaver Creek in the winter is an extraordinary experience. Discover Magazine, "The Great Snow of Beaver Creek," 3 Oct. 2018 That experience galvanized her extraordinary life’s work for decades to come. Carolyn Todd, Allure, "The History and Evolution of Birth Control in America," 12 July 2018 But even now that the extraordinary power of the human brain is starting to be revealed, the mystical view of inspiration remains. Daniel Glaser, A-LIST, "Out of Your Mind," 1 July 2018 And while the wildlife sightings are extraordinary on game drives, even better is the view from the camp's infinity pool, where elephants splash and wildebeest graze a stone’s throw away. Paul Rubio, Condé Nast Traveler, "8 Places to Go for Father's Day," 8 June 2018

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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Statistics for extraordinary

Last Updated

18 May 2019

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Time Traveler for extraordinary

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

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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

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Comments on extraordinary

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