[uhn-yoo-zhoo-uhl, -yoozh-wuhl]


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 formsun·u·su·al·ly, adverbun·u·su·al·ness, noun

Synonyms for unusual

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

Examples from the Web for unusual

Contemporary Examples of unusual

Historical Examples of unusual

  • Now, Mr. Bines, I like him and I dare say you've done the best thing for him, unusual as it was.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • This is certainly a very high and unusual devise to so young a creature.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • This was an unusual event, as he rarely interfered with them during play hours.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • You have not done a stroke of work all this morning; quite an unusual thing for you, George.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • Gerald Raymount was a man of an unusual combination of qualities.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for unusual



out of the ordinary; uncommon; extraordinaryan unusual design
Derived Formsunusually, adverbunusualness, 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

Word Origin and History for unusual

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper