noun, plural or·di·nar·ies.


    in ordinary, in regular service: a physician in ordinary to the king.
    out of the ordinary,
    1. exceptional; unusual: Having triplets is certainly out of the ordinary.
    2. exceptionally good; unusually good: The food at this restaurant is truly out of the ordinary.

Origin of ordinary

1250–1300; Middle English ordinarie (noun and adj.) < Latin ordinārius regular, of the usual order, equivalent to ordin- (see order) + -ārius -ary
Related formsor·di·nar·i·ness, nounqua·si-or·di·nar·y, adjectivesu·per·or·di·nar·y, adjectiveun·or·di·nar·y, adjective

Synonyms for ordinary

Synonym study

3. See common.

Antonyms for ordinary

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ordinary

Contemporary Examples of ordinary

Historical Examples of ordinary

  • “And so I have,” said Randall with something of his ordinary humour.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • Are they not sufficiently well paid to have the ordinary comforts of life?

  • But the ways of the police are not always those of ordinary decency.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • But, in spite of these ordinary defects, he was fond of his work and wishful to excel in it.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • At least, she had kept him from the outrageous folly of an ordinary burglary.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for ordinary



of common or established type or occurrence
familiar, everyday, or unexceptional
uninteresting or commonplace
having regular or ex officio jurisdictionan ordinary judge
maths (of a differential equation) containing two variables only and derivatives of one of the variables with respect to the other

noun plural -naries

a common or average situation, amount, or degree (esp in the phrase out of the ordinary)
a normal or commonplace person or thing
civil law a judge who exercises jurisdiction in his own right
(usually capital) an ecclesiastic, esp a bishop, holding an office to which certain jurisdictional powers are attached
RC Church
  1. the parts of the Mass that do not vary from day to dayCompare proper (def. 13)
  2. a prescribed form of divine service, esp the Mass
the US name for penny-farthing
heraldry any of several conventional figures, such as the bend, the fesse, and the cross, commonly charged upon shields
history a clergyman who visited condemned prisoners before their death
British obsolete
  1. a meal provided regularly at a fixed price
  2. the inn providing such meals
in ordinary British (used esp in titles) in regular service or attendancephysician in ordinary to the sovereign

Word Origin for ordinary

C16: (adj) and C13: (some n senses): ultimately from Latin ordinārius orderly, from ordō order
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

Word Origin and History for ordinary

early 15c., "belonging to the usual order or course," from Old French ordinarie "ordinary, usual" and directly from Latin ordinarius "customary, regular, usual, orderly," from ordo (genitive ordinis) "order" (see order (n.)). Its various noun usages, dating to late 14c. and common until 19c., now largely extinct except in out of the ordinary (1893). In British education, Ordinary level (abbrev. O level), "lowest of the three levels of General Certificate of Education," is attested from 1947. Related: Ordinarily.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with ordinary


see out of the ordinary.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.