un·​usu·​al | \ˌən-ˈyü-zhə-wəl, -zhəl;-ˈyüzh-wəl\

Definition of unusual 

: not usual : uncommon, rare

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Other Words from unusual

unusually adverb
unusualness noun

Examples of unusual in a Sentence

It's not unusual for him to stay late at work. a scene of unusual beauty She has an unusual name.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Youngs inspired the Sharks with their story, and struck an unusual deal with all of them. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "This 'Shark Tank' Episode Honoring a Late 9/11 Firefighter Left Everyone in Tears," 22 Oct. 2018 The duration of this build-up, having begun in October 2017, is unusual. Sebastian Modak, Condé Nast Traveler, "Florida Hit By Worst 'Red Tide' Bloom in Over a Decade," 3 Aug. 2018 Disputes between the right and the left over immigration enforcement are nothing new — Harris is a Republican and Mohler a Democrat — but the congressman’s public questioning of another government official is unusual. Ian Duncan, baltimoresun.com, "U.S. Rep. Andy Harris alleges Baltimore County provides 'sanctuary' to immigrants, MS-13," 28 June 2018 Researchers think a lower temperature on our planet is unlikely—maybe a smidge lower with unusual conditions. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Scientists Record Earth's Lowest Temperature Ever. Here's How Cold It Got," 26 June 2018 Glitches of this nature aren’t unusual in open-world games: this year, a Watch Dogs 2 player found an area where NPCs will always hop over a set of stairs. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Red Dead Redemption 2 players find cursed road that always sets horses on fire," 1 Nov. 2018 Today is kind of an unusual transportation day—I’m flying to Dallas and back. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "How bike advocate Katie Deolloz gets around Austin," 19 Oct. 2018 In a somewhat unusual move, U.S. Rep. John B. Larson has endorsed Sen. Paul Doyle for state attorney general. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "U.S. Rep. Larson Endorses Sen. Doyle For State Attorney General," 5 July 2018 The suit, assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul Borman, alleges civil conspiracy and violation of the former inmates' constitutional rights against cruel and unusual punishment. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Lawsuit: Flint water crisis hit jail inmates especially hard," 26 June 2018

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

1579, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for unusual

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for unusual

The first known use of unusual was in 1579

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English Language Learners Definition of unusual

: not normal or usual

: different or strange in a way that attracts attention

: not commonly seen, heard, etc.


un·​usu·​al | \ˌən-ˈyü-zhə-wəl \

Kids Definition of unusual

: not done, found, used, experienced, or existing most of the time an unusual job an unusual odor

Other Words from unusual

unusually adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on unusual

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unusual

Spanish Central: Translation of unusual

Nglish: Translation of unusual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unusual for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unusual

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


a nest or breeding place

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