Definition of extraordinary in English:


Pronunciation: /ˌɛkstrəˈɔːdɪn(ə)ri//ɪkˈstrɔːd(ə)n(ə)ri//ɛkˈstrɔːd(ə)n(ə)ri/


  • 1Very unusual or remarkable.

    ‘the extraordinary plumage of the male’
    [with clause] ‘it is extraordinary that no consultation took place’
    • ‘That, in my book, is highly unusual, extraordinary, and a new phenomenon in party politics.’
    • ‘And it was an amazing, extraordinary moment there at the Redwood City courthouse.’
    • ‘Given their unusual appearance and extraordinary biology, it is not surprising that Asians have credited sea horses with magical powers.’
    • ‘Sometimes it has been a sincere feeling that an ordinarily appropriate remark is inappropriate at this extraordinary moment.’
    • ‘And they remarked on the extraordinary contrasts of the river where it flows wide and deep for long stretches before being suddenly interrupted by rapids.’
    • ‘Indeed, the general lack of panic is, it seems to me, extraordinary, remarkable, and deeply moving.’
    • ‘There was no fireman's rule in English law requiring firemen to accept the ordinary risks incidental to fighting a fire, having claims only in respect of unusual or extraordinary risks.’
    • ‘This extraordinary woman lived a remarkable life.’
    • ‘As a sense grew that this would be the last night, St Peter's witnessed remarkable scenes of extraordinary emotional intensity.’
    • ‘They were faced with a remarkable, extraordinary, exhibition of magnanimity.’
    • ‘The film has moments of extraordinary complexity presented with unbelievable simplicity.’
    • ‘You should develop the unusual, extraordinary attitude of wishing that all their sufferings ripen upon yourself.’
    • ‘It is, as Byrne observes, extraordinary that such a remarkable personality should, until now, have escaped attention.’
    • ‘Her extraordinary remarks came in a speech commemorating the opening of a Greenwich Village campus of the New York University School of Law.’
    • ‘In an rare and extraordinary moment of role reversal, I stand sagging beside the counter, waiting for an assistant to return, while she shoots off to look at napkins.’
    • ‘Taken alone, this is not an extraordinary remark.’
    • ‘He's an extraordinary father and a remarkable husband, a terrific human being.’
    • ‘Weaver's biography brings forth the life of an extraordinary talent and her remarkable career.’
    • ‘There followed a remarkable journey for an extraordinary man.’
    • ‘She was a woman of extraordinary courage and remarkable ability and no one can doubt that Tony Benn was lucky to have found and married her.’
    remarkable, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvellous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, phenomenal, prodigious, spectacular
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Unusually great.
      ‘young children need extraordinary amounts of attention’
      • ‘Change is extremely slow, and even small improvements take extraordinary amounts of time, energy, and money; but small changes can be found.’
      • ‘So sought-after are high-ranking characters and the virtual trinkets that they amass that extraordinary amounts of real-world money are changing hands as they are traded.’
      • ‘The second is the gender division of work, she says, looking at the larger issue of why first generation schoolgoers in particular require an extraordinary amount of care and attention.’
      • ‘To them, £500 seemed an extraordinary amount of money for a team with no pedigree, a bunch of unknowns that would do little to entice the supporters through the gates at Inverleith.’
      • ‘The fact that some of the defendants were well-known footballers meant an extraordinary amount of interest in the case but did not affect the decision to prosecute.’
      • ‘We can do things that otherwise it would take an extraordinary amount of money to do.’
      • ‘Britain produces an extraordinary amount of commentary, in print, on television and on radio; so much that the production of opinion can seem to be our dominant industry, the thing we are best at and most take to.’
      • ‘He said the raid was a result of the Crime Management Unit's two-week investigation into the extraordinary amount of robberies.’
      • ‘Journalists spend an extraordinary amount of time paring the information in their copy down to the bare minimum, especially in the all-important lead paragraph.’
      • ‘We pay an extraordinary amount to keep the Art Centre, particularly the Playhouse and this theatre alive and as the spot in Melbourne to go and see good theatre.’
      • ‘So, they do rely on snipers to a really extraordinary amount.’
      • ‘It's just an extraordinary amount of money for anybody to take home.’
      • ‘Now, the defense says that that amount of money is extraordinary.’
      • ‘Airline unions have an extraordinary amount of power.’
      • ‘Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants spend an extraordinary amount of time not on deciding who deserves medals but working on the grammar and presentation of the citation.’
      • ‘There has been an extraordinary amount of cooperation between federal, state, and local law enforcement officials, and we're ready.’
      • ‘Despite the belief in some quarters that an extraordinary amount can be accomplished in a mere seven days, it will take a bit longer for people to come down from the emotions of the election.’
      • ‘And I do think that we are getting an extraordinary amount of good information about a very complicated story.’
      • ‘The film had an extraordinary amount of violence.’
      • ‘There are extraordinary amounts of work being done by the Brothers of Charity service in Waterford, to help people with an intellectual disability all around the South East region.’
      very great, considerable, tremendous, huge, enormous, immense, colossal, massive, prodigious, stupendous, monumental, mammoth, vast, gigantic, giant, mighty, epic, monstrous, substantial
      View synonyms
  • 2[attributive] (of a meeting) specially convened.

    ‘an extraordinary session of the Congress’
    • ‘Archbishop Brady made his comments at a press conference following the extraordinary meeting of the Catholic Bishops in Maynooth yesterday.’
    • ‘The prince also said he will convene an extraordinary session if it is necessary to finalize the bill.’
    • ‘A move to dissolve the society and distribute assets was defeated at an extraordinary meeting convened by Mr Kelly in July that year.’
    • ‘An extraordinary session was convened last Friday to enable the government to extend the Japanese antiterrorism law by another two years.’
    • ‘Immediately after the public meeting, Durrington parish council convened an extraordinary meeting and voted to oppose the English Heritage application.’
    1. 2.1[postpositive](of an official) specially employed in addition to the usual staff.
      ‘an Ambassador Extraordinary’
      • ‘It states that the Ambassador Extraordinary was "considerably astonished" to be called upon to pay 600 francs for the hire of carriages.’
      • ‘This Ambassador extraordinary was issued a red (diplomatic) passport as well.’


  • An item in a company's accounts not arising from its normal activities.

    Compare with exceptional
    • ‘Of the total "army extraordinaries" of £315,917 submitted to the House of Commons on February 6, 1767, only £111,287 had arisen from North America.’
    • ‘Companies reporting profits before extraordinaries for several continuing years can suddenly tail spin to wipe out its entire capital and accumulated profits.’


Late Middle English: from Latin extraordinarius, from extra ordinem outside the normal course of events.