extraordinary

adjective
ex·​traor·​di·​nary | \ ik-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē How to pronounce extraordinary (audio) , ˌek-strə-ˈȯr- \

Definition of extraordinary

1a : going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary extraordinary powers
b : exceptional to a very marked extent extraordinary beauty
c of a financial transaction : nonrecurring
2 : employed for or sent on a special function or service an ambassador extraordinary

Other Words from extraordinary

extraordinarily \ ik-​ˌstrȯr-​də-​ˈner-​ə-​lē How to pronounce extraordinary (audio) , ˌek-​strə-​ˌȯr-​ \ adverb
extraordinariness \ ik-​ˈstrȯr-​də-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce extraordinary (audio) , ˌek-​strə-​ˈȯr-​ \ noun

What is the difference between extraordinary and extra ordinary?

Prefixes can be tricky things, often carrying meanings that differ from what one might expect. Additionally, some prefixes are spelled like independent English words, yet may have meanings that are different from those words. Such is the case with the word extra and the prefix extra-.

The word extra is used as a noun, adjective, and an adverb. When used as a separate word, as in the sentence “It was an extra ordinary day,” “extra” is functioning as an adverb meaning “very.” An “extra ordinary day” is a day that is very ordinary. In contrast, the prefix extra- means “outside or beyond.” Attached to “ordinary,” in “It was an extraordinary day,” the meaning changes markedly, to “It was a day beyond ordinary.”

Examples of extraordinary in a Sentence

A polymer based on the elastic protein that enables fleas to perform their extraordinary jumping feats has been synthesized. The material … is, perhaps unsurprisingly, rubbery and highly resilient; indeed, some of its properties exceed those of a material used to make bouncy balls for the playground. — Rosamund Daw, Nature, 13 Oct. 2005 Jimi Hendrix is one of those extraordinary hubs of music where everybody lands at some point. Every musician passes through Hendrix International Airport eventually.  … He is the common denominator of every style of contemporary music. — John Mayer, Rolling Stone, 15 Apr. 2004 Like the eighteenth-century Scots, whose similar borderland situation stimulated an extraordinary renaissance in letters, natural science, and social science, the Americans' ambivalent identities led them to the interstices of metropolitan thought where were found new views and new approaches to the old. — Bernard Bailyn, To Begin the World Anew, 2003 Books can even have merits that are owed to their lack of literary quality: Agatha Christie's whodunits display an extraordinary ingenuity in their plotting, but the beauty of the puzzle requires cardboard characters and total implausibility in motives and reasons. — Richard Jenkyns, New Republic, 28 Jan. 2002 The researchers made an extraordinary discovery. The race is an extraordinary event.
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Recent Examples on the Web As both male and female tennis stars took to Twitter in solidarity, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) did something extraordinary. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 13 Jan. 2022 Not many people know his name, but half a century ago, Tony Lawrence created something extraordinary in the middle of New York City. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, 7 Jan. 2022 The chairman also notably refused to rule out the notion that the committee could take the extraordinary step of making a criminal referral of Trump to the Justice Department. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 3 Jan. 2022 Just about everyone who has achieved something extraordinary has been a deliberate goal-setter. Kumar Mehta, Forbes, 3 Jan. 2022 Your special year-end gift will support our Explorers who are already making extraordinary things happen. National Geographic Society, 31 Dec. 2021 Radium, the element discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie, and other radioactive elements promised extraordinary things for medicine — imagine, seeing into the human body! Los Angeles Times, 28 Dec. 2021 This is a program barely a decade old, embracing each extraordinary step. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Dec. 2021 In their respective dissents, Roberts and Sotomayor cast S.B. 8 as something extraordinary, amounting both to a direct challenge to the Supreme Court’s authority and a threat to the judicial protection of federal constitutional rights in general. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 10 Dec. 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for extraordinary

Middle English extraordinarie, from Latin extraordinarius, from extra ordinem out of course, from extra + ordinem, accusative of ordin-, ordo order

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Time Traveler for extraordinary

Time Traveler

The first known use of extraordinary was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near extraordinary

extraordinaire

extraordinary

extraordinary ray

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Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Extraordinary.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extraordinary. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for extraordinary

extraordinary

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of extraordinary

: very unusual : very different from what is normal or ordinary
: extremely good or impressive

extraordinary

adjective
ex·​traor·​di·​nary | \ ik-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē How to pronounce extraordinary (audio) , ˌek-strə-ˈȯr- \

Kids Definition of extraordinary

: so unusual as to be remarkable She has extraordinary talent.

Other Words from extraordinary

extraordinarily \ ik-​ˌstrȯr-​də-​ˈner-​ə-​lē , ˌek-​strə-​ˌȯr-​də-​ˈner-​ \ adverb

extraordinary

adjective
ex·​tra·​or·​di·​nary | \ ek-ˈstrȯr-də-ˌner-ē, ˌek-strə-ˈȯr- How to pronounce extraordinary (audio) \

Legal Definition of extraordinary

1a : going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary specifically : of, relating to, or having the nature of a proceeding or action not normally required by law or not prescribed for the regular administration of law an extraordinary session of the legislature granted extraordinary relief — compare ordinary
b : of or relating to a financial transaction that is not expected to be repeated an extraordinary charge against earnings an extraordinary gain
2 : employed for or sent on a special function or service an ambassador extraordinary

More from Merriam-Webster on extraordinary

Nglish: Translation of extraordinary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extraordinary for Arabic Speakers

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