See also: Ordinary

English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

From Anglo-Norman ordenarie, ordenaire et al., Middle French ordinaire, and their source, Medieval Latin ordinarius, noun use of Latin ōrdinārius (regular, orderly), from ōrdō (order).

Pronunciation edit

  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɔːdɪnəɹi/, /ˈɔːdənɹi/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɔɹdɪnɛɹi/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: or‧di‧na‧ry, or‧din‧ary

Noun edit

ordinary (plural ordinaries)

  1. A person with authority; authority, ordinance.
    1. (ecclesiastical, law) A person having immediate jurisdiction in a given case of ecclesiastical law, such as the bishop within a diocese. [from 14th c.]
    2. (obsolete) A courier; someone delivering mail or post. [16th–19th c.]
      • 1819, Lord Byron, Letter, 15 May:
        I [] will lay to till you come within hail [] but pray respond by the first ordinary.
    3. (law) A judge with the authority to deal with cases himself or herself rather than by delegation. [from 17th c.]
    4. (now historical) The chaplain of Newgate prison, who prepared condemned prisoners for death. [from 17th c.]
  2. Something ordinary or regular.
    1. (obsolete) Customary fare, one's regular daily allowance of food; (hence) a regular portion or allowance. [15th–19th c.]
    2. (now chiefly historical) A meal provided for a set price at an eating establishment. [from 16th c.]
      • 1751, [Tobias] Smollett, chapter XLIII, in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to IV), London: Harrison and Co., [], →OCLC:
        In short, Mr. Jolter could give a very good account of the stages on the road, and [] was a connoisseur in ordinaries, from twelve to five and thirty livres [] .
      • 1808–10, William Hickey, Memoirs of a Georgian Rake, Folio Society 1995, p. 169:
        Here he recommended me to fix my board, there being an excellent ordinary daily at two o'clock, at which I might dine or not as I pleased.
    3. (now archaic, historical) A place where such meals are served; a public tavern, inn. [from 16th c.]
      • 1612 (date written), Tho: Overburye [i.e. Thomas Overbury], “Characters, or Witty Descriptions of the Properties of Sundry Persons. An Affected Traueller.”, in A Wife. Now the Widdow of Sir Tho: Overburye. Being a Most Exquisite and Singular Poem of the Choise of a Wife. [], 4th edition, London: [] G[eorge] Eld, for Lawrence Lisle, [], published 1614, →OCLC:
        Vpon feſtiuall daies he goes to Court, and ſalutes vvithout re-ſaluting: at night in an Ordinarie he confeſſeth the buſineſſe in hand, and ſeemes as conuerſant with all intents and plots, as if he begot them.
      • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC, partition 2, section 4, member 2:
        We are most part too inquisitive and apt to hearken after news, which Cæsar, in his Commentaries, observes of the old Gauls, they would be inquiring of every carrier and passenger what they had heard or seen, what news abroad? [] as at an ordinary with us, bakehouse, or barber's shop.
      • 1712 March 4 (date written; Gregorian calendar), J[onathan] Swift, A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue; [], 2nd edition, London: [] Benj[amin] Tooke, [], published 1712, →OCLC:
        Thus furnished, they come up to town, reckon all their errors for accomplishments, borrow the newest set of phrases ; and if they take a pen into their hands, all the odd words they have picked up in a coffeehouse, or a gaming ordinary, are produced as flowers of style.
      • 1899, Richard Garnett, Léon Vallée, Alois Brandl, editors, The Universal Anthology, Bancroft, page 320:
        He enjoyed a perpetual port duty of fourteen pence a ton, on vessels not owned in the province, yielding not far from five thousand dollars a year; and he exacted a tribute for licenses to hawkers and peddlers and to ordinaries.
      • 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volume I, London: A[ndrew] Millar, [], →OCLC:
        it hath been usual with the honest and well-meaning host to provide a bill of fare which all persons may peruse at their first entrance into the house; and having thence acquainted themselves with the entertainment which they may expect, may either stay and regale with what is provided for them, or may depart to some other ordinary better accommodated to their taste.
    4. (heraldry) One of the standard geometric designs placed across the center of a coat of arms, such as a pale or fess. [from 16th c.]
    5. An ordinary person or thing; something commonplace. [from 16th c.]
    6. (now Scotland, Ireland) The usual course of things; normal condition or health; a standard way of behaviour or action. [from 16th c.]
    7. (now historical) A penny farthing bicycle. [from 19th c.]
    8. (Christianity) A part of the Christian liturgy that is reasonably constant without regard to the date on which the service is performed.
      Coordinate term: proper (noun)
      1. (Catholicism) Alternative letter-case form of Ordinary (those parts of the Mass which are consistent from day to day)
  3. A book setting out ordinary or regular conduct.
    1. (obsolete) A devotional manual; a book setting our rules for proper conduct. [15th–17th c.]
    2. (Christianity, especially Catholicism) A rule, or book of rules, prescribing the order of a liturgy, especially of Mass. [from 16th c.]

Translations edit

Adjective edit

ordinary (comparative more ordinary, superlative most ordinary)

  1. (law, of a judge) Having regular jurisdiction; now only used in certain phrases.
  2. Being part of the natural order of things; normal, customary, routine.
    On an ordinary day I wake up at nine o'clock, work for six hours, and then go to the gym.
    • a. 1719, Joseph Addison, The Works of the Late Honourable Joseph Addison, Eſq., volume 3, published 1741, page 545:
      Method is not leſs requiſite in ordinary converſation than in writing, provided a man would talk to make himſelf underſtood.
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter I, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume I, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 10:
      The three were now assembled in the old banqueting-hall, which, from its state of better preservation, had become their ordinary chamber.
  3. Having no special characteristics or function; everyday, common, mundane; often deprecatory.
    I live a very ordinary life most of the time, but every year I spend a week in Antarctica.
    He looked so ordinary, I never thought he'd be capable of murder.
    • a. 1859, Thomas Macaulay, "Samuel Johnson," in 1871, Lady Trevelyan (Hannah More Macaulay Trevelyan, editor), The Works of Lord Macaulay Complete, Volume 7, page 325,
      An ordinary lad would have acquired little or no useful knowledge in such a way: but much that was dull to ordinary lads was interesting to Samuel.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, →OCLC:
      It is never possible to settle down to the ordinary routine of life at sea until the screw begins to revolve. There is an hour or two, after the passengers have embarked, which is disquieting and fussy.
    • 2015 October 27, Matt Preston, The Simple Secrets to Cooking Everything Better[1], Plum, →ISBN, page 192:
      You could just use ordinary shop-bought kecap manis to marinade the meat, but making your own is easy, has a far more elegant fragrance and is, above all, such a great brag! Flavouring kecap manis is an intensely personal thing, so try this version now and next time cook the sauce down with crushed, split lemongrass and a shredded lime leaf.
  4. (Australia, New Zealand, colloquial, informal) Bad or undesirable.
    • 1983 September 20, Bruce Stannard, Australia II Joins Our Greats, The Age, republished 2003, David Headon (editor), The Best Ever Australian Sports Writing: A 200 Year Collection, page 480,
      It was, in some ways a sad, almost pathetic sight to see this great American boat which had fought so hard throughout the cup summer, now looking very ordinary indeed.
    • 1961, Joanna White, quoted in 2005, A. James Hammerton, Alistair Thomson, Ten Pound Poms: Australia′s Invisible Migrants, page 80,
      For myself, I loved adventure and travelling. I′d already done quite a bit of travelling in Europe and — couldn′t get enough of it and whilst my marriage, at that stage, was very happy, he was very entrenched as a Londoner, Cockney, absolutely Cockney Londoner, and I could see that our future was pretty ordinary and so my hidden agenda I suppose was to drag him out to Australia and hope that both our lifestyles would improve and there would be new opportunities.
    • 2007, Chris Viner-Smith, Australia′s Forgotten Frontier: The Unsung Police Who Held Our PNG Front Line, page 28:
      Everyone started making suggestions as to what to do but they were all pretty ordinary ideas such as lighting a fire and hope someone would see the smoke and come to rescue us and so on.
    • 2010, Mal Bryce, Australia's First Online Community Ipswich Queensland, page 125:
      Since the general public gained access to the Internet in 1993-4, firstly by narrowband dial-up access and since 1998 by very ordinary, so-called broadband speeds (generally less than 1 Mbps), a social and cultural revolution has been underway.

Antonyms edit

Derived terms edit

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With prefixes

Translations edit

Further reading edit

  • "ordinary" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 225.