Definition of normal in English:



  • 1Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

    ‘it's quite normal for puppies to bolt their food’
    ‘normal working hours’
    • ‘It is perfectly normal for your child to develop either a wet or dry cough because most colds are accompanied by a cough.’
    • ‘Here, even though we've had more rain than is normal for a wet April, and some fields lay sodden and squelching, we seem to have escaped lightly.’
    • ‘He had to relax a bit, telling himself that it was normal for her to be depressed under these circumstances.’
    • ‘However, fishing is slower than is normal for the time of year as June is normally one of the peak periods of the season.’
    • ‘Donating blood sixty times over a period spanning 25 years might be normal for a professional donor.’
    • ‘In the early nineteenth century it was quite normal for someone who held a powerful public office to use it to promote the interests of his family and friends.’
    • ‘The queue of traffic had stopped again after moving a few meters, a pace which seemed about normal for the rush hour in the middle of York on a Wednesday morning.’
    • ‘But I think it's more normal for my team to have no success than it is to win two consecutive European Cups.’
    • ‘Under normal circumstances you would expect the latter to have a much lower price tag.’
    • ‘It's also normal for them not to tell you until the last minute.’
    • ‘More fixed price properties are appearing on the market than is normal for springtime, reflecting the shortage of buyers.’
    • ‘In much of England it is normal for families on average incomes to pay for private schooling, even if it means no money for anything else at all.’
    • ‘Mr Templeman said it was not normal for the council to carry out a major public consultation before any planning application has been made.’
    • ‘It was an ugly scene and that's not normal for an American team.’
    • ‘After that, you may expect to be swarmed by suitors, but that is normal for a young duchess as you will be.’
    • ‘It's not normal for someone my age to be surrounded by her parents, but it's nice to have them take care of me at the end of the day.’
    • ‘That evening it was dark early, which was normal for the time of year.’
    • ‘It is becoming alarmingly normal for this newspaper to counsel crime, spread hate, and threaten lives.’
    • ‘The news was on a repeat schedule at this hour since it was normal for them to repeat the news at night.’
    • ‘This, the local staff informed me, is quite normal for volunteers.’
    usual, standard, typical, stock, common, ordinary, customary, conventional, habitual, accustomed, expected, wonted, everyday, regular, routine, day-to-day, daily, established, settled, set, fixed, traditional, quotidian, prevailing
    ordinary, average, run-of-the-mill, standard, typical, middle-of-the-road, common, conventional, mainstream, unremarkable, unexceptional, plain, simple, homely, homespun, workaday
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    1. 1.1 (of a person) free from physical or mental disorders.
      ‘until her accident Louise had been a perfectly normal little girl’
      ‘many previously normal people exhibit psychotic symptoms after a few nights without sleep’
      • ‘Those with mental illness are no more or no less violent or unpredictable than the so-called normal people.’
      • ‘Take advantage of this quiet mental time to see how normal people live.’
      • ‘Doctors say if the surgery goes well she won't need physical therapy and will develop as a normal child.’
      • ‘This is not what goes through the minds of normal people.’
      • ‘He stopped going to work, he stopped pulling himself together to face the week like a normal person.’
      • ‘I can never go out with a girl like a normal guy does because I'm too serious.’
      • ‘In some cases, children with dominant single gene disorders are born to normal parents.’
      • ‘Monomaniacs have trouble sounding like normal people since they only know how to say a few things over and over.’
      • ‘Walking around the area I encountered many things that a normal person would never be able to handle.’
      • ‘I did what any normal person who wakes in the middle of the night would do.’
      • ‘She added he was a normal teenager who showed no signs of his mental health being affected at the school.’
      • ‘No, they are normal people, but they perceive the world differently, and the key lies in the connection between the body and the mind.’
      • ‘Each episode deals with the truly absurd ways in which seemingly normal people interact with one another.’
      • ‘He's just a normal person that probably has a few mental issues he needs to deal with.’
      • ‘My grandfather had refused to put her in a nursing home and continued to interact with her as if she was a normal person.’
      • ‘A photograph compares a normal person's lungs with that of a smoker.’
      • ‘We create enclaves of strangeness together, celebrating our individual strangeness and laughing at the poor normal people.’
      • ‘For example, psychopaths appear not to process emotional content in the same way that normal people do.’
      • ‘They are no less talented compared to physically normal sportsmen.’
      • ‘We worry unnecessarily, when normal people wouldn't think twice.’
      sane, in one's right mind, right in the head, of sound mind, in possession of all one's faculties, able to reason clearly, able to think clearly, lucid, rational, coherent, balanced, well balanced
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  • 2technical (of a line, ray, or other linear feature) intersecting a given line or surface at right angles.

    ‘a single plane of symmetry with a diad axis normal to it’
    • ‘The calibration problem is particularly acute in the z-axis (normal to the surface).’
    • ‘Unless the radar signal is normal to some surface (extremely low probability) the radar receives no return.’
    • ‘In physics, the critical angle is described with respect to the normal line.’
    • ‘The hard perturbations in this study caused the trajectory to move in a direction that was normal to the limit cycle.’
    • ‘Both tensile and compression testing are based on the application of forces normal to the plane on which they act.’
  • 3Medicine
    (of a salt solution) containing the same salt concentration as the blood.

    ‘dilute the stock solution with sterile water or normal saline’
    • ‘Therefore, 1L of normal saline should be given per hour to start.’
    • ‘An infusion of IV normal saline frequently corrects hypotension and increases cardiac output.’
    • ‘The probe was rinsed with sterile normal saline between measurements of each raft.’
    1. 3.1Chemistry dated (of a solution) containing one gram-equivalent of solute per litre.
  • 4Geology
    Denoting a fault or faulting in which a relative downward movement occurred in the strata situated on the upper side of the fault plane.

    • ‘This basin is emphasized by normal fault scarps that face the river from its SW bank.’
    • ‘As much as 1.3 km of sediment were eroded on the footwall blocks of normal faults at that time.’
    • ‘Massive dolomite and dolomitic breccias are separated by a normal fault from the upper part of the sequence.’
    • ‘In addition, large-scale isoclinal folds and normal faults with throws exceeding 10m locally occur.’
    • ‘Development of pillow breccia probably occurred along the scarps of normal faults in this extensional setting.’


  • 1mass noun The usual, typical, or expected state or condition.

    ‘her temperature was above normal’
    ‘the service will be back to normal next week’
    • ‘The gala procession will start as normal from Malsis Road at 2pm, and will make its way through the town to Victoria Park.’
    • ‘You need information on averages, or climate normals.’
    • ‘The advice from the airport was for people to check in as normal but to expect to face delays.’
    • ‘Chloe carried on as normal for two weeks: cooking, washing, going to school, and keeping the house tidy.’
    • ‘Once the new computer system is available Hounslow will process and pay the claim as normal from the date that it was initially due to be paid.’
    • ‘Gradually Ethan felt his heart rate ebb back toward normal.’
    • ‘But this year the festive season will be far from normal for the tot as it is the first time she will be able to thank her parents for their presents.’
    • ‘For years, the only way to see Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty was from the air, or in a photograph, or in the artist's own making-of film, which was plenty for 99.9% of art worlders and normals alike.’
    • ‘Classes are running as normal at The Con, with singing, dancing, music and acting courses on offer.’
    • ‘There will be a break from music classes this Thursday and classes resume as normal on February 26.’
    • ‘The ravers danced, the normals tapped their feet and the rockers looked a little perplexed.’
    • ‘It is expected that services will return to normal on Thursday, July 1.’
    • ‘Things have reverted pretty much back to normal, or whatever normal means when Lindsey and I are involved.’
    • ‘He was back to normal, well normal for him, but definitely strange to most people.’
    • ‘Business will continue as normal in the remaining 116 bedrooms during the period of works.’
    • ‘As time goes by, life will edge back toward normal.’
    • ‘The average annual temperature for the 1931-2000 period was computed from the monthly average temperature normals which were themselves computed by averaging the monthly maximum and minimum normals.’
    • ‘The river was two feet above normal and the colour of medium dark vinegar.’
    • ‘Everything is now back to normal and the game continues every Wednesday night.’
    • ‘Four days of planned engineering work will take place over the weekend, and services should return to normal on August 2.’
    standard, usual, normal, typical, average, the rule, predictable, unexceptional, par for the course, what one would expect, expected, to be expected, only to be expected
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    1. 1.1informal A person who is conventional or healthy.
      • ‘‘Ah, but if Mutants are perfectly capable of living with normals,’ she observes, ‘why are they exiled from the rest of us?’’
      • ‘This gives an average score of 9 for normals and 5 for Alzheimer's dementia patients with relatively little overlap.’
      • ‘They seek to pronounce people as diseased to make patients out of normals, and they then generate income by scheduling follow-up visits, providing a second hook into the marketplace after prescribing medication.’
      • ‘Psychotics and schizophrenics differ from normals on a few variables.’
      • ‘Also, let us not forget that the military institution provides us with a means to segregate the less desirable members of society from the rest of us normals.’
      • ‘We find that the violent offenders as a group do differ to normals, but it doesn't mean to say that every murderer does have an abnormal profile.’
      • ‘As Modes had promised beforehand, the march ended with the clowns piling into three small cars and driving off, ‘leaving the normals confused and frightened.’’
      • ‘Some of the hormones in the hypothalamus are different in anorexics compared with normals, supporting this notion.’
      • ‘Overall, the risk for meningococcal disease in these patients is 8,000 times that of normals.’
  • 2technical A line at right angles to a given line or surface.

    ‘the view is along the normal to the surface’
    • ‘Nowadays the angle is taken as that between the normals to the faces and is measured roughly by a contact goniometer or more accurately by an optical goniometer.’
    • ‘Since these forces are strongest for orientation of the surface normal perpendicular to the rotation axis, this may cause a slight preference for alignment of the bilayer normals perpendicular to the rotor axis.’
    • ‘It deals with normals to conics regarded as maximum and minimum straight lines drawn from particular points to the curve.’
    • ‘From a point above the evolute three normals can be drawn to the parabola, while only one normal can be drawn to the parabola from a point below the evolute.’
    • ‘Since normals to a straight line never intersect and tangents coincide with the curve, evolutes, involutes and pedal curves are not too interesting.’


  • the new normal

    • A previously unfamiliar or atypical situation that has become standard, usual, or expected.

      ‘32% of Americans say spending less is the new normal, according to a recent poll’
      • ‘Two and one-half months on, I still don't quite know for sure what the new normal is.’
      • ‘The new normal is that there are going to be inconveniences from time to time that you don't expect.’
      • ‘The new normal is going to be a lot of people looking for work for the next couple of years.’
      • ‘But as a high-level FAA official posed recently, "How are we going to define the new normal?"’
      • ‘What many once thought of as the fringe is becoming the new normal.’
      • ‘Is the proprietary app store model the new normal?’
      • ‘And creatively, fusion is merely an extended stay away from being the new normal.’
      • ‘The term 'extreme weather' has become the new normal.’
      • ‘The new normal is not going to be as good as conditions before the summer of 2008, but it might not be as bad as it has been in the first half of 2009, either.’
      • ‘Is $3 gas the new normal?’
      • ‘A lot of labor economists are telling me this is frankly the new normal.’
      • ‘Hope has morphed into widespread gloom as widespread economic suffering becomes the new normal in America.’
      • ‘Scientists say that this could be the new normal for Florida.’
      • ‘"The new normal is where we were in the first six months of the year," he said.’
      • ‘Crisis has become the new normal for the nuclear medicine department at the Trois-Rivieres regional hospital, he said.’
      • ‘The new normal, to use the American term, will be very different from the old.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘right-angled’): from Latin normalis, from norma ‘carpenter's square’ (see norm). Current senses date from the early 19th century.