ordinary

1 of 2

adjective

or·​di·​nary ˈȯr-də-ˌner-ē How to pronounce ordinary (audio)
1
: of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events : routine, usual
an ordinary day
2
a
: 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
ordinariness noun

ordinary

2 of 2

noun

plural ordinaries
1
: 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.
2
a(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.
4
a
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)
Choose the Right Synonym for ordinary

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
While many key pieces of evidence, including TV and licensing contracts, have been redacted in antitrust litigation against the NCAA, FLSA cases are more about ordinary aspects of work, not confidential. Michael McCann, Sportico.com, 11 July 2024 Incredible Edible Flowers: Discover the vibrant world of growing your own edible flowers and explore the diverse array of flowers that can elevate your dishes from ordinary to extraordinary. Joe Rassel, Orlando Sentinel, 11 July 2024
Noun
Transform the ordinary into the extraordinary while keeping your tissues easily accessible in a fashionable and coordinated manner. Jessica Copeland, Rolling Stone, 31 Jan. 2024 See all Example Sentences for ordinary 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ordinary.' 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

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

First Known Use

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near ordinary

Cite this Entry

“Ordinary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ordinary. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

ordinary

1 of 2 noun
or·​di·​nary ˈȯrd-ᵊn-ˌer-ē How to pronounce ordinary (audio)
plural ordinaries
1
: regular or usual condition or course of things
nothing out of the ordinary
2
a
British : a meal served to any person at a fixed price
b
chiefly British : a restaurant serving regular meals

ordinary

2 of 2 adjective
1
: to be expected : normal, usual
ordinary problems
2
: neither good nor bad : average
an ordinary person
ordinarily
ˌȯrd-ᵊn-ˈer-ə-lē
adverb
ordinariness
ˈȯrd-ᵊn-ˌer-ē-nəs
noun

Legal Definition

ordinary

adjective
or·​di·​nary
: 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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