Definition of extraordinary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ikˈstrôrd(ə)nˌerē/
Pronunciation: /ˌekstrəˈôrdnˌerē/


1Very unusual or remarkable: the extraordinary plumage of the male [with clause]: it is extraordinary that no consultation took place
More example sentences
  • He's an extraordinary father and a remarkable husband, a terrific human being.
  • This extraordinary woman lived a remarkable life.
  • Taken alone, this is not an extraordinary remark.
remarkable, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, phenomenal;
striking, outstanding, momentous, impressive, singular, memorable, unforgettable, unique, noteworthy;
out of the ordinary, unusual, uncommon, rare, surprising
informal fantastic, terrific, tremendous, stupendous, awesome
literary wondrous
1.1Unusually great: young children need extraordinary amounts of attention
More example sentences
  • The second is the gender division of work, she says, looking at the larger issue of why first generation schoolgoers in particular require an extraordinary amount of care and attention.
  • Britain produces an extraordinary amount of commentary, in print, on television and on radio; so much that the production of opinion can seem to be our dominant industry, the thing we are best at and most take to.
  • Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants spend an extraordinary amount of time not on deciding who deserves medals but working on the grammar and presentation of the citation.
very great, tremendous, enormous, immense, prodigious, stupendous, monumental
1.2 [attributive] (Of a meeting) specially convened: an extraordinary session of the Congress
More example sentences
  • Immediately after the public meeting, Durrington parish council convened an extraordinary meeting and voted to oppose the English Heritage application.
  • A move to dissolve the society and distribute assets was defeated at an extraordinary meeting convened by Mr Kelly in July that year.
  • The prince also said he will convene an extraordinary session if it is necessary to finalize the bill.
1.3 [postpositive] (Of an official) additional; specially employed: his appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary in London
More example sentences
  • It states that the Ambassador Extraordinary was "considerably astonished" to be called upon to pay 600 francs for the hire of carriages.
  • This Ambassador extraordinary was issued a red (diplomatic) passport as well.


(usually extraordinaries)
An item in a company’s accounts not arising from its normal activities. Compare with exceptional.
Example sentences
  • Of the total "army extraordinaries" of £315,917 submitted to the House of Commons on February 6, 1767, only £111,287 had arisen from North America.
  • Companies reporting profits before extraordinaries for several continuing years can suddenly tail spin to wipe out its entire capital and accumulated profits.



Pronunciation: /ikˈstrôrdnˌerēnəs/
Pronunciation: /ekˈstrôrdnˌerēnəs/
Example sentences
  • This doesn't mean there's no room for extraordinariness in some capacity, but some parenting books do contribute to a kind of hysteria.
  • John seemed the least harmed of the three famous brothers, but he was still prevented from taking an ordinary place in life, compelled to impress his extraordinariness in his work.
  • Driven by the desire to be remembered for their extraordinariness, people go to absurd lengths to see their names in print to achieve some measure of immortality.


Late Middle English: from Latin extraordinarius, from extra ordinem 'outside the normal course of events'.

  • This looks as though it is from extra and ordinary, but is actually comes from Latin extra ordinem, meaning ‘outside the normal course of events’. In English extra means ‘beyond, outside’ in many words such as extramarital (early 19th century) ‘outside marriage’, extracurricular (early 20th century) ‘outside the curriculum’, and extraterrestrial (mid 19th century). When it means ‘additional’ or ‘especially’, as in extra-special, it is really a shortened version of extraordinary, which in the 17th and 18th centuries often meant ‘additional, extra’, as in an extract from the diary of the traveller Celia Fiennes, written in 1710: ‘You pay a penny extraordinary for being brought from Tunbridge town.’

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ex·traor·di·nar·y

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