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[uhn-yoo-zhoo-uh l, -yoozh-wuh l] /ʌnˈyu ʒu əl, -ˈyuʒ wəl/
not usual, common, or ordinary; uncommon in amount or degree; exceptional:
an unusual sound; an unusual hobby; an unusual response.
Origin of unusual
First recorded in 1575-85; un-1 + usual
Related forms
unusually, adverb
unusualness, noun
extraordinary, remarkable; rare, strange, singular, curious, queer, odd. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for unusual
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I remember distinctly the pose of the head, the unusual arrangement of the hair.

    The Film of Fear Arnold Fredericks
  • It was rather an unusual thing for them to be in the drawing-room.

    Deerbrook Harriet Martineau
  • This might be natural in most men, but it was unusual in the Hawk.

    The Affair of the Brains Anthony Gilmore
  • In the first place, the way in which it was brought to his attention was unusual, to say the least.

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • It was not unusual, therefore, for lads as young as Benjamin to be made to work.

    The Printer Boy. William M. Thayer
British Dictionary definitions for unusual


out of the ordinary; uncommon; extraordinary: an unusual design
Derived Forms
unusually, adverb
unusualness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for unusual

1580s, from un- (1) "not" + usual. Related: Unusually.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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