ordinary

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

Definition of ordinary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(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.
2 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.
3 : the regular or customary condition or course of things usually used in the phrase out of the ordinary We haven't done anything out of the ordinary.
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 1 sense 1b)

ordinary

adjective

Definition of ordinary (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ordinary

Adjective

ordinarily \ ˌȯr-​də-​ˈner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce ordinarily (audio) \ adverb
ordinariness \ ˈȯr-​də-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce ordinariness (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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

What makes Arctic adventure narratives so readable are their depictions of people pushed to the extremes, facing likely death, and how ordinary and extraordinary individuals respond in such moments. Colin Dickey, The New Republic, "The Secrets in Greenland’s Ice," 11 July 2019 And the plot of The Nickel Boys tolerates no fissures in the fabric of ordinary reality; no surreal intrusions complicate the grim progress of this story. Ron Charles, Dallas News, "In Colson Whitehead's 'The Nickel Boys,' an idealistic black teen learns a harsh reality," 9 July 2019 Needless to say, the shipping address the scammers provided wasn’t an actual Navy installation, but an ordinary office space. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "A massive international email scam netted $3 million worth of top-secret US military equipment," 9 July 2019 These findings suggest that there is plenty of room for Democrats to make the argument that, whatever the headline figures say, Trump’s economic policies aren’t benefiting ordinary Americans. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Three Key Questions About Trump and the Economy," 9 July 2019 It is believed to be Wright's first Usonian house, designed to be attractive and affordable for people of ordinary income. Jim Higgins, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Frank Lloyd Wright's Wisconsin buildings Taliesin, Jacobs House added to World Heritage List," 8 July 2019 Now three mathematicians have proved that when a certain type of randomness is tuned perfectly, intricate geometric shapes emerge in plain sight — like a map revealed on an ordinary floor. Quanta Magazine, "Random Surfaces Hide an Intricate Order," 2 July 2019 One attraction is a high proportion of food vendors compared with ordinary malls. Shwanika Narayan, SFChronicle.com, "The Japan Center Malls are doing well. Why is their future uncertain?," 30 June 2019 Our ordinary couple are happier in each other’s presence, playing sudoku when parties get in their way. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Ordinary World Outshines the High Life In Ed Sheeran's 'Beautiful People' Music Video: Watch," 28 June 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of ordinary

Noun

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ordinary

Noun

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

Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ordinary

ordinary

adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ordinary

What made you want to look up ordinary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!