Definition of ordinary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɔːdɪn(ə)ri/
Pronunciation: /ˈɔːd(ə)n(ə)ri/


1With no special or distinctive features; normal: he sets out to depict ordinary people it was just an ordinary evening
More example sentences
  • Mr Cheetham, who is a student at Northumbria University, said he thought Mr Gormley's works would help to break down prejudices against modern art, featuring as they do ordinary people.
  • An exhibition featuring the ordinary lives of Greenlanders and their arts and crafts came to Sofia for the first time on Tuesday.
  • Rather, it featured the works of ordinary folk making their first venture into the arts world.
usual, normal, standard, typical, stock, common, customary, habitual, accustomed, expected, wonted, everyday, regular, routine, day-to-day, daily, established, settled, set, fixed, traditional, quotidian, prevailing
1.1Not interesting or exceptional; commonplace: she seemed very ordinary
More example sentences
  • What happened to me was not ordinary and average and commonplace and I reject any word that makes it appear so.
  • This was another case of ordinary life being more interesting than it looked at first sight.
  • Imagine on top of this that you wanted, in fact, to mount an argument as to what makes certain daguerreotypes exceptional and others merely ordinary.
average, normal, run-of-the-mill, standard, typical, middle-of-the-road, common, conventional, mainstream, unremarkable, unexceptional, unpretentious, modest, plain, simple, homely, homespun, workaday, undistinguished, nondescript, characterless, colourless, commonplace, humdrum, mundane, unmemorable, pedestrian, prosaic, quotidian, uninteresting, uneventful, dull, boring, uninspiring, bland, suburban, hackneyed, stale, mediocre, middling, indifferent;
North American  garden-variety
informal OK, so-so, bog-standard, vanilla, plain vanilla, nothing to write home about, a dime a dozen, no great shakes, not up to much, corny, hacky
British informal common or garden
North American informal ornery
2(Especially of a judge or bishop) exercising authority by virtue of office and not by deputation.
Example sentences
  • Should this be the case, an ordinary judge is not allowed to disregard the national legislation but is bound to refer it to the Constitutional Court.
  • Murphy's model was to have senior judges and ordinary judges under the one umbrella.
  • All the ordinary judges of the Supreme Court and the chief justice were educated in private schools.

noun (plural ordinaries)

1 (the ordinary) What is commonplace or standard: their clichés were vested with enough emotion to elevate them above the ordinary
More example sentences
  • Luxurious style, fine craftsmanship, and authentic details elevate Aladdin Resort & Casino far above the ordinary.
  • This being a Dreamworks disc, and a ‘Special Edition’ at that, you can bet on a collection of extra material that is a cut above the ordinary.
  • Opulent style, fine craftsmanship, and authentic details elevate Paris Las Vegas far above the ordinary.
2 Law , British A judge who exercises authority by virtue of office and not by deputation.
3 (the Ordinary) A member of the clergy, such as an archbishop in a province or a bishop in a diocese, with immediate jurisdiction.
Example sentences
  • Jeffrey Steenson is Canon to the Ordinary in the Episcopal diocese of the Rio Grande.
4 (Ordinary) Those parts of a Roman Catholic service, especially the Mass, which do not vary from day to day.
Example sentences
  • Even so, between 1592 and 1595 Byrd published his three settings of the ordinary of the mass, the masses for three, four and five voices.
4.1A rule or book laying down the order of divine service.
5 Heraldry Any of the simplest principal charges used in coats of arms (especially chief, pale, bend, fess, bar, chevron, cross, saltire).
6 short for ordinary share.
Example sentences
  • The spin offensive in today's papers has done nothing for News Corp's share price as the ordinaries dipped 16 cents to $11.02.
7 archaic A meal provided at a fixed time and price at an inn.
7.1An inn providing a meal at a fixed time and price.
8 historical, chiefly North American A penny-farthing bicycle.



in ordinary

British (In titles) by permanent appointment, especially to the royal household: painter in ordinary to Her Majesty
More example sentences
  • He became a favourite painter of the royal family and was appointed principal painter in ordinary to George III in 1767.

in the ordinary way

British If the circumstances are or were not exceptional; normally: but in the ordinary way we shouldn’t expect to hear from him
More example sentences
  • In those circumstances the policy will, at any rate in the ordinary way, be conclusive evidence of the contract unless and until it has been rectified; the slip cannot be used to add to, explain or contradict the meaning of the policy.
  • But in the ordinary way, a competent pleading, which alleges all the relevant facts in accordance with the claimant's instructions, either discloses a cause of action or it does not.
  • I wanted to say, in the ordinary way, it should be practicable.

out of the ordinary

Pronunciation: /ˌaʊt əv ðɪ ˌɔːdɪn(ə)ri/
Pronunciation: /ˌaʊt əv ðɪ ˌɔːd(ə)n(ə)ri/
Unusual: nothing out of the ordinary happened
More example sentences
  • It is really, really strange because I haven't done anything out of the ordinary.
  • Nothing seemed unusual or out of the ordinary that morning, to her eyes, at least.
  • This in itself is hardly out of the ordinary; in fact it is a common occurrence.
unusual, exceptional, remarkable, extraordinary, unexpected, surprising, unaccustomed, uncommon, unfamiliar, abnormal, atypical, unwonted, out of the way, anomalous, different, special, exciting, memorable, striking, noteworthy, unique, singular, unheard of, impressive, outstanding, unconventional, unorthodox, exotic, strange, peculiar, odd, queer, curious, bizarre, offbeat, weird, outlandish



Pronunciation: /ˈɔːdɪn(ə)rɪnəs/
Pronunciation: /ˈɔːd(ə)n(ə)rɪnəs/
Example sentences
  • It's about the innocent ordinariness of the victims.
  • Eventually, ordinariness takes over everything.
  • So this stone was monumental in its very ordinariness.


Late Middle English: the noun partly via Old French; the adjective from Latin ordinarius 'orderly' (reinforced by French ordinaire), from ordo, ordin- 'order'.

Words that rhyme with ordinary


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: or¦din|ary

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