un·​usu·​al ˌən-ˈyü-zhə-wəl How to pronounce unusual (audio)
: not usual : uncommon, rare
unusually adverb
unusualness noun

Example Sentences

It's not unusual for him to stay late at work. a scene of unusual beauty She has an unusual name.
Recent Examples on the Web Attorneys say that asking executives to give up stock compensation is highly unusual. Emily Glazer, WSJ, 11 Nov. 2022 This month may seem extreme, but for Bitcoin the volatility isn’t too unusual compared to recent history. Simon Moore, Forbes, 10 Nov. 2022 Still more unusual, though, is the backstory of the actor playing him, Jeff Wilbusch. Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2022 The first thing to note is just how unusual such twin pairs are. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 8 Nov. 2022 Despite this state’s recent history of presidential cliffhangers, razor-thin elections for governor are extremely unusual. Craig Gilbert, Journal Sentinel, 7 Nov. 2022 But what happened on Saturday could border on cruel and unusual punishment for anyone that likes offensive football. Scooby Axson, USA TODAY, 6 Nov. 2022 Their taste was highly unusual in their peer group, where Top 40 pop ruled the day. Simon Vozick-levinson, Rolling Stone, 2 Nov. 2022 Some are classic activities for many Americans, while others are more unusual yet could be just the right fit for your people. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, 30 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of unusual was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near unusual

Cite this Entry

“Unusual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unusual. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



un·​usu·​al ˌən-ˈyüzh-(ə-)wəl How to pronounce unusual (audio)
: not usual : uncommon, rare
unusualness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on unusual

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.