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OR'DINARY, adjective [Latin ordinarius.]

1. According to established order; methodical; regular; customary; as the ordinary forms of law or justice.

2. Common; usual.

Method is not less requisite in ordinary conversation than in writing.

3. Of common rank; not distinguished by superior excellence; as an ordinary reader; men of ordinary judgment.

4. Plain; not handsome; as an ordinary woman; a person of an ordinary form; an ordinary face.

5. Inferior; of little merit; as, the book is an ordinary performance.

6. An ordinary seaman is one not expert or fully skilled.


1. In the common and canon law, one who has ordinary or immediate jurisdiction in matters ecclesiastical; an ecclesiastical judge. In England, the bishop of the diocese is commonly the ordinary and the archbishop is the ordinary of the whole province. The ordinary of assizes and sessions was formerly a deputy of the bishop, appointed to give malefactors their neck-verses. The ordinary of Newgate is one who attends on condemned malefactors to prepare them for death.

2. Settled establishment.

3. Regular price of a meal.

4. A place of eating where the prices are settled.

5. The establishment of persons employed by government to take charge of ships of war laid up in harbors. Hence a ship in ordinary is one laid up under the direction of the master attendant.

In ordinary in actual and constant service; statedly attending and serving; as a physician or chaplain in ordinary An embassador in ordinary is one constantly resident at a foreign court.