ordinary

adjective
or·​di·​nary | \ ˈȯr-də-ˌner-ē How to pronounce ordinary (audio) \

Definition of ordinary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events : routine, usual an ordinary day
2a : of common quality, rank, or ability an ordinary teenager
b : deficient in quality : poor, inferior ordinary wine
3 : having or constituting immediate or original jurisdiction also : belonging to such jurisdiction

ordinary

noun
plural ordinaries

Definition of ordinary (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the regular or customary condition or course of things usually used in the phrase out of the ordinaryWe haven't done anything out of the ordinary.
2a(1) : a prelate exercising original jurisdiction over a specified territory or group The ordinary of a diocese is a bishop.
(2) : a clergyman appointed formerly in England to attend condemned criminals
b : a judge of probate in some states of the U.S.
3 often capitalized : the parts of the Mass that do not vary from day to day The "Our Father" is part of the ordinary of the Mass.
4a British : a meal served to all comers at a fixed price
b chiefly British : a tavern or eating house serving regular meals
5 : a common heraldic charge (such as the bend) of simple form (see charge entry 2 sense 7a)

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Other Words from ordinary

Adjective

ordinariness \ ˈȯr-​də-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce ordinary (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for ordinary

Adjective

common, ordinary, plain, familiar, popular, vulgar mean generally met with and not in any way special, strange, or unusual. common implies usual everyday quality or frequency of occurrence a common error lacked common honesty and may additionally suggest inferiority or coarseness. common manners ordinary stresses conformance in quality or kind with the regular order of things. an ordinary pleasant summer day a very ordinary sort of man plain is likely to suggest homely simplicity. plain hard-working people familiar stresses the fact of being generally known and easily recognized. a familiar melody popular applies to what is accepted by or prevalent among people in general sometimes in contrast to upper classes or special groups. a writer of popular romances vulgar, otherwise similar to popular, is likely to carry derogatory connotations (as of inferiority or coarseness). souvenirs designed to appeal to the vulgar taste

Examples of ordinary in a Sentence

Adjective They've had the ordinary problems associated with starting a new business. My wife thought our guide was strange, but he seemed perfectly ordinary to me. The meal was ordinary and uninspired.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Even among ordinary people, an individual’s desire to participate in day-to-day activities such as church services and dining out is enough cause to hector him for contracting the coronavirus. Ellen Carmichael, National Review, "Journalists’ Behavior over Luke Letlow’s Passing Is Abhorrent — and Telling," 30 Dec. 2020 But as more digital tools like drones and smartphones have entered the hands of ordinary people, projects looking to involve the outdoor-recreating public to collect data are getting more ambitious and diverse. Marcello Rossi, Smithsonian Magazine, "24 Ways To Turn Outdoor Passions Into Citizen Science," 29 Dec. 2020 Within a few years, most daily newspapers had copied the idea, regularly reserving space for columns by politicians, religious leaders, experts of various kinds, and ordinary people with an interesting point of view. Washington Post, "How the dusty old op-ed pages became the red-hot outrage-generating machine of 2020," 28 Dec. 2020 Still, some Democrats argue that not pursuing a criminal investigation of Trump would amount to special treatment that no ordinary citizen would receive. Billy House, Fortune, "For Biden’s DOJ, a question looms: should Trump be prosecuted?," 9 Nov. 2020 But then, as now, many ordinary people loved the holiday, making Christmas difficult to stamp out. Maria Sachiko Cecire, Smithsonian Magazine, "Christmas Wasn’t Always the Kid-Friendly Gift Extravaganza We Know Today," 23 Dec. 2020 But the authorities were less responsive to concerns about the companies’ size and clout, even as the businesses reached deeper into the lives of ordinary people in China than the American internet giants have elsewhere. Raymond Zhong, New York Times, "With Alibaba Investigation, China Gets Tougher on Tech," 23 Dec. 2020 The hope is that the CCB will develop informal procedures that ordinary people can navigate without help from an attorney. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Congress creates new copyright court that could make trolling easier," 22 Dec. 2020 They are transformed from ordinary people into symbols of this country’s injustice, symbols onto which so much meaning other than their own is projected. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "Longreads Best of 2020: Profiles," 17 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ordinary.' 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 ordinary

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a(1)

History and Etymology for ordinary

Adjective

Middle English ordinarie, from Latin ordinarius, from ordin-, ordo order

Noun

Middle English ordinarie, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin ordinarius, from Latin ordinarius, adjective

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Time Traveler for ordinary

Time Traveler

The first known use of ordinary was in the 14th century

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Statistics for ordinary

Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ordinary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ordinary. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for ordinary

ordinary

adjective
How to pronounce ordinary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ordinary

: normal or usual : not unusual, different, or special
disapproving : neither very good nor very bad : not very impressive

ordinary

adjective
or·​di·​nary | \ ˈȯr-də-ˌner-ē How to pronounce ordinary (audio) \

Kids Definition of ordinary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to be expected : normal, usual an ordinary day
2 : neither good nor bad : average I was an ordinary student. They're just ordinary people.
3 : not very good : mediocre She gave a very ordinary speech.

ordinary

noun

Kids Definition of ordinary (Entry 2 of 2)

: the conditions or events that are usual or normal It's nothing out of the ordinary.

ordinary

adjective
or·​di·​nary

Legal Definition of ordinary

: of a kind to be expected from the average person or in the normal course of events broadly : of a common kind or degree an ordinary proceeding — compare extraordinary

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