Definition of ordinary in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈôrdnˌerē/


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, common, customary, habitual, everyday, regular, routine, day-to-day
1.1Uninteresting; commonplace: ordinary items of everyday wear
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, conventional, unremarkable, unexceptional, workaday, undistinguished, nondescript, colorless, commonplace, humdrum, mundane, unmemorable, pedestrian, prosaic, quotidian, uninteresting, uneventful, dull, boring, bland, suburban, hackneyed, garden-variety
informal plain-vanilla, nothing to write home about, no great shakes
2(Especially of a judge or bishop) exercising authority by virtue of office and not by delegation.
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 person, especially a judge, exercising authority by virtue of office and not by delegation.
2.1In some US states, a judge of probate.
3 (usually Ordinary) Those parts of a Roman Catholic service, especially the Mass, that 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.
3.1A rule or book giving the order for saying the Mass.
4 Heraldry Any of the simplest principal charges used in coats of arms (especially chief, pale, bend, fess, bar, chevron, and saltire).
5British archaic A meal provided at a fixed time and price at an inn.
5.1An inn providing this.
6 historical, chiefly North American another term for penny-farthing.


out of the ordinary

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, unfamiliar, abnormal, atypical, different, special, exciting, memorable, noteworthy, unique, singular, outstanding;
unconventional, unorthodox, strange, peculiar, odd, queer, curious, bizarre, outlandish
informal offbeat



Pronunciation: /ˈôrd(ə)nˌerēnəs/
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

Syllabification: or·di·nar·y

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