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from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Beyond what is ordinary or usual: extraordinary authority.
  • adj. Highly exceptional; remarkable: an extraordinary achievement.
  • adj. Employed or used for a special service, function, or occasion: a minister extraordinary; an extraordinary professor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not ordinary; exceptional; unusual;

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Beyond or out of the common order or method; not usual, customary, regular, or ordinary
  • adj. Exceeding the common degree, measure. or condition; hence, remarkable; uncommon; rare; wonderful.
  • adj. Employed or sent upon an unusual or special service.
  • n. That which is extraordinary; -- used especially in the plural.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Being beyond or out of the common order or rule; not of the usual, customary, or regular kind; not ordinary: as, extraordinary evils require extraordinary remedies.
  • Not pertaining to a regular system or sequence; exceptional; special: as, an extraordinary courier or messenger; an ambassador extraordinary; the extraordinary jurisdiction of a court; a gazette extraordinary.
  • In universities, relating to studies outside of the regular curriculum, or to lectures not recognized by the university as of the first rank of importance.
  • Exceeding the common degree or measure; hence, remarkable; uncommon; rare; wonderful: as, the extraordinary genius of Shakspere; an edifice of extraordinary grandeur.
  • Synonyms Unusual, singular, extra, unwonted, signal, egregious, marvelous, prodigious, strange, preposterous.
  • n. Anything uncommon or unusual; a thing exceeding the usual order, practice, or method.
  • n. An express messenger or courier.
  • n. Extra expense or indulgence.
  • n. In the British service, an allowance to troops beyond the gross pay, such as the expenses for barracks, encampments, etc.
  • Remarkably; exceptionally; extraordinarily.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. far more than usual or expected
  • adj. beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable
  • adj. (of an official) serving an unusual or special function in addition to those of the regular officials


Middle English extraordinarie, from Latin extraōrdinārius : extrā, outside; see extra- + ōrdō, ōrdin-, order; see order.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Latin extraordinarius, from extra ordinem, "outside the order". (Wiktionary)



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