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1. Commonly encountered; usual: an ordinary delay at the bridge tolls. See Synonyms at common.
a. Having no special ability, quality, or purpose: ordinary people; ordinary black tea.
b. Not particularly good; not better than average: The service was good, but the food was very ordinary.
3. Law Having direct authority to decide a case, rather than being delegated that power, as a judge.
4. Mathematics Designating a differential equation containing no more than one independent variable.
n. pl. or·di·nar·ies
1. The usual or normal condition or course of events: Nothing out of the ordinary occurred.
2. Law A judge with direct authority as opposed to delegated authority to decide a case.
3. often Ordinary Ecclesiastical
a. The parts of the Mass that remain unchanged from day to day.
b. A division of the Roman Breviary containing the unchangeable parts of the office other than the Psalms.
c. A cleric, such as the residential bishop of a diocese, with ordinary jurisdiction over a specified territory.
4. Heraldry One of the simplest and commonest charges, such as the bend and the cross.
5. Chiefly British
a. A complete meal provided at a fixed price.
b. A tavern or inn providing such a meal.

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

or′di·nar′i·ness n.


the state of being ordinary
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.ordinariness - the quality of being commonplace and ordinary
quality - an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; "the quality of mercy is not strained"--Shakespeare
mediocrity, averageness - ordinariness as a consequence of being average and not outstanding
expectedness - ordinariness as a consequence of being expected and not surprising
commonplaceness, everydayness, commonness - ordinariness as a consequence of being frequent and commonplace
extraordinariness - the quality of being extraordinary and not commonly encountered


The quality or condition of being usual:
References in classic literature ?
Her face had latterly changed with changing states of mind, continually fluctuating between beauty and ordinariness, according as the thoughts were gay or grave.
The ordinariness of the surroundings made the matters they dealt with extraordinarily moving.
Thus it is always with those in the high places, ever temporising with their natural desires, ever masking their ordinariness under a show of disinterest.
Thick-set and of middle height, with nimble movements, with his brown hat, olive-green coat and narrow trousers--though wide trousers had been a long while in fashion,--most of all, with the ordinariness of his broad face, and the combined expression of timidity and anxiety to keep up his dignity, Mihailov made an unpleasant impression.
She is warm and honest as well as astute and intelligent, with the film balancing speeches with scenes of domestic ordinariness.
And it is Kate's no-nonsense ordinariness which makes her so extraordinary.
Caine has some nice lines about life's ordinariness, such as: "Few things are more depressing than empty coathangers".
She uses ethnographic research she conducted from 2002 to 2004 with mostly married, white women in Michigan, and perspectives from cultural, medical, and linguistic anthropology, to consider the importance and meaning of ordinary pregnancy to women and men as fundamental to humans and in terms of the ordinariness of literacy, language, embodiment and perception, and material culture.
The Royal publicity machine has played on her ordinariness so well the general public thinks it can treat her as one of its own.
The Sydney family of Alistair and Eleanor Brocket and two perfectly normal children all fit together well because they aspire to a normality where ordinariness is admired and anyone who acts or appears different in any way is despised.
Connolly, who narrates a BBC documentary on them to be broadcast next Tuesday, said: "Sometimes people arise from ordinariness, and make it extraordinary.