un·​usu·​al | \ ˌən-ˈyü-zhə-wəl How to pronounce unusual (audio) , -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

Although the dead have largely been older, the wider outbreak is unusual in hitting young and otherwise healthy people. The Economist, "A deadly outbreak casts a dark cloud over e-cigarettes," 14 Sep. 2019 Both of these actions, said Maddow, were highly unusual and enough to arouse suspicion of malfeasance. John Hirschauer, National Review, "Rachel Maddow’s Turnberry Tale," 12 Sep. 2019 Earlier this year, in the midst of a court case over a Chandler family whose children had been taken by the state, a judge issued an unusual set of orders and a ruling. John D'anna, Arizona Republic, "A judge ruled The Republic had violated a court order in a controversial DCS case. Now, he has reversed that ruling," 12 Sep. 2019 Fans quickly noticed that Beckham was wearing a watch during actual game action, which is pretty unusual for any contact sport. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Odell Beckham Jr. is wearing a $350K Richard Mille watch during his Browns debut," 8 Sep. 2019 And while the manner of this woman's death is quite unusual, there are other, more common risks of raising chickens. Aj Willingham, CNN, "A woman was pecked to death by a rooster, pathologists say," 6 Sep. 2019 The actual new information that the memo disclosed was a description of how the president had, in highly unusual fashion, tried to end the investigation into Michael Flynn. Marcy Wheeler, The New Republic, "How Trump’s Justice Department Screwed James Comey," 30 Aug. 2019 The highly unusual wing arrangement gives a fighter jet a high angle of attack at low speeds, enabling it to change direction quickly. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "After 12 Years, Russia’s Forward-Swept Fighter Makes a Surprise Appearance," 28 Aug. 2019 Her 2016 lawsuit claims DOC officials were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Prison officials who denied surgery to a transgender inmate are immune from damages in her lawsuit," 20 Aug. 2019

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

14 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for unusual

The first known use of unusual was in 1579

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More Definitions for unusual



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 How to pronounce unusual (audio) \

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

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