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 This orientation is unusual in the tech world, although its right-wing analogue, libertarianism, is pervasive. Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, "Taking Back Our Privacy," 19 Oct. 2020 But a mass expulsion like the one currently envisioned is unusual. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "After Teacher’s Decapitation, France Unleashes a Broad Crackdown on ‘the Enemy Within’," 19 Oct. 2020 Pauses to investigate side effects aren’t unusual in vaccine trials, which require a high safety bar because they’re taken by healthy people. John Lauerman, Bloomberg.com, "Ailments in Covid-19 Trials Raise Questions About Vaccine Method," 17 Oct. 2020 While researchers' understanding of the long-term impacts of the coronavirus have developed since January, other viruses suggest a prolonged illness is not unusual. Emily Woodruff, NOLA.com, "The 'long-haulers': Why 'presumed recovered' doesn't mean you're done with the coronavirus," 17 Oct. 2020 Service issues aren’t unusual for large tech platforms and often are resolved quickly. Sarah E. Needleman, WSJ, "Twitter Suffered Widespread Service Disruption, Says There Is No Evidence of Security Breach or Hack," 16 Oct. 2020 Enrollment is already down 8% nationwide — unusual during a recession — and the economic impact could be significant. Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY, "COVID is pushing these college students to drop out. That could devastate the economy and their lives.," 16 Oct. 2020 Italy without its beloved calcetto—pickup soccer game—would have seemed a cruel and unusual punishment not long ago. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "As COVID cases spike in Europe, Italy stands out—but this time for doing things right," 15 Oct. 2020 None of this is unusual for this time of year in Wisconsin, Wood said. Joe Taschler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Snow may show up across northern Wisconsin this weekend; metro Milwaukee could see a few flakes, too," 15 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for unusual

Time Traveler

The first known use of unusual was in 1579

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Statistics for unusual

Last Updated

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Unusual.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unusual. Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for unusual


How to pronounce unusual (audio)

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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