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

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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.
Recent Examples on the Web Leverkusen came too close to something extraordinary not to have some regret. Rory Smith, New York Times, 24 May 2024 Gomes shot this extraordinary film in an extraordinary way. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 22 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for extraordinary 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'extraordinary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 30 May. 2024.

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

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