ordinary

noun
or·​di·​nary | \ˈȯr-də-ˌner-ē \
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

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Other Words from ordinary

Adjective

ordinarily \ˌȯr-​də-​ˈner-​ə-​lē \ adverb
ordinariness \ˈȯr-​də-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs \ 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

The prime minister is going to go around the country campaigning to ordinary people about it. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Why Brexit is tearing the United Kingdom apart," 27 Nov. 2018 One of the depressing aspects of the cultural debate sparked by the accusation against Brett Kavanaugh is that so many politicians, pundits and ordinary people have already made up their minds based on very limited information. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Rush to judgment: Pols, pundits picking sides on Kavanaugh accusation," 19 Sep. 2018 His rhetoric will be more down to earth and designed to help ordinary people understand what government is doing. Kenneth F. Greene, Washington Post, "What’s next for Mexico? Here are 5 things you need to know.," 6 July 2018 Overall, the level of disinformation wasn’t out of the ordinary, the official said. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "No Significant Foreign Interference Seen on Midterm Vote," 7 Nov. 2018 Get Started If the wiring in the box is dead and nothing appears out of the ordinary, loosen each terminal screw and remove the hooked wire from beneath the screwhead. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Wire a Light Switch," 17 Oct. 2018 On the surface, such a trip is hardly out of the ordinary. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Melania’s trip to Africa says a lot about US foreign policy under Trump," 9 Oct. 2018 Police also got in touch with Muhs and her husband, but told them this kind of thing isn’t completely out of the ordinary. Michael Bartiromo, Fox News, "North Dakota woman's Halloween decoration freaks out neighbors, prompts police response," 27 Sep. 2018 Starting a full-on non-profit didn’t seem at all out of the ordinary for the preteen. Macaela Mackenzie, Marie Claire, "When You're Sick, a Manicure Becomes a Link to Life Before the Hospital," 4 Sep. 2018

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

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

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Time Traveler for ordinary

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

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More Definitions for ordinary

ordinary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ordinary

: normal or usual : not unusual, different, or special

: neither very good nor very bad : not very impressive

ordinary

adjective
or·​di·​nary | \ˈȯr-də-ˌner-ē \

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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