from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Commonly encountered; usual: synonym: common.
  • adjective Of no exceptional ability, degree, or quality; average.
  • adjective Not particularly good; not better than average.
  • adjective Law Having direct authority to decide a case, rather than being delegated that power, as a judge.
  • adjective Mathematics Designating a differential equation containing no more than one independent variable.
  • noun The usual or normal condition or course of events.
  • noun Law A judge with direct authority as opposed to delegated authority to decide a case.
  • noun The parts of the Mass that remain unchanged from day to day.
  • noun A division of the Roman Breviary containing the unchangeable parts of the office other than the Psalms.
  • noun A cleric, such as the residential bishop of a diocese, with ordinary jurisdiction over a specified territory.
  • noun Heraldry One of the simplest and commonest charges, such as the bend and the cross.
  • noun A complete meal provided at a fixed price.
  • noun A tavern or inn providing such a meal.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Conformed to a fixed or regulated sequence or arrangement; hence, sanctioned by law or usage; established; settled; stated; regular; normal; customary.
  • Common in practice or use; usual; frequent; habitual.
  • Common in occurrence; such as may be met with at any time or place; not distinguished in any way from others; hence, often, somewhat inferior; of little merit; not distinguished by superior excellence; commonplace; mean; low.
  • Ugly; not handsome: as, she is an ordinary woman.
  • Vulgar, etc. (see common), homely.
  • noun One possessing immediate jurisdiction in his own right and not by special deputation.
  • noun An English diocesan officer, entitled the ordinary of assize and sessions, appointed to give criminals their neck-verses, perform other religious services for them, and assist in preparing them for death.
  • noun A judge empowered to take cognizance of causes in his own right, and not by delegation.
  • noun The established or due sequence; the appointed or fixed form; in the Roman Catholic missal and in other Latin liturgies, the established sequence or order for saying mass; the service of the mass (with exclusion of the canon) as preëminent; the ordo.
  • noun Rule; guide.
  • noun Something regular and customary; something in common use.
  • noun A usual or customary meal; hence, a regular meal provided at, an eating-house for every one, as distinguished from dishes specially ordered; a table d'hôte.
  • noun A place where such meals are served; an eating-house where there is a fixed price for a meal.
  • noun The average; the mass; the common run.
  • noun In heraldry, a very common bearing, usually bounded by straight lines, but sometimes by one of the heraldic lines, wavy, nebulé, or the like. See line, 12.
  • noun In the navy: The establishment of persons formerly employed by government to take charge of ships of war laid up in harbors.
  • noun The state of a ship not in actual service, but laid up under the charge of officers: as, a ship in ordinary (one laid up under the direction of the officers of a navy-yard or dockyard).
  • noun See def. 10 .
  • noun Abbreviated ord.
  • noun The bicycle with a large front and a small rear wheel, which preceded the ‘safety’ bicycle: so called because it was the common form of bicycle before 1890. See bicycle.
  • noun In the stock-market, a share of ordinary or common (that is, not preferred) stock.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective According to established order; methodical; settled; regular.
  • adjective Common; customary; usual.
  • adjective Of common rank, quality, or ability; not distinguished by superior excellence or beauty; hence, not distinguished in any way; commonplace; inferior; of little merit
  • adjective (Naut.) one not expert or fully skilled, and hence ranking below an able seaman.
  • noun (Roman Law) An officer who has original jurisdiction in his own right, and not by deputation.
  • noun (Eng. Law) One who has immediate jurisdiction in matters ecclesiastical; an ecclesiastical judge; also, a deputy of the bishop, or a clergyman appointed to perform divine service for condemned criminals and assist in preparing them for death.
  • noun (Am. Law) A judicial officer, having generally the powers of a judge of probate or a surrogate.
  • noun obsolete The mass; the common run.
  • noun rare That which is so common, or continued, as to be considered a settled establishment or institution.
  • noun Anything which is in ordinary or common use.
  • noun A dining room or eating house where a meal is prepared for all comers, at a fixed price for the meal, in distinction from one where each dish is separately charged; a table d'hôte; hence, also, the meal furnished at such a dining room.
  • noun (Her.) A charge or bearing of simple form, one of nine or ten which are in constant use. The bend, chevron, chief, cross, fesse, pale, and saltire are uniformly admitted as ordinaries. Some authorities include bar, bend sinister, pile, and others. See Subordinary.


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

[Middle English ordinarie, from Old French, from Latin ōrdinārius, from ōrdō, ōrdin-, order; see ar- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman ordenaire, ordenarie etc., from Latin ōrdinārius ("regular, orderly"), from ōrdō ("order").


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  • In heraldry, a charge of the earliest, simplest, and commonest kind, usually bounded by straight lines, but sometimes engrailed, wavy, indented, etc.

    The principal charges so classed are the Chief, Pale, Bend, Bend-sinister, Fess, Bar, Chevron, Cross, and Saltire.

    February 5, 2007

  • Being ordinary is like being in the World's Largest Cult. To "Be Yourself" ain't much if that's ALL you're going to be." --Jan Cox

    April 4, 2007

  • a town in Virginia, USA

    February 27, 2008