What does the term "ordinary" mean when used of the "ordinary means of grace"?

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Dr. Bob Gonzales

Puritan Board Junior
I'm doing a study on the concept of the "means of grace," and I'd like to know what does the English term "ordinary" mean when used in the phrase "the ordinary means of grace"? The following usages for "ordinary" are found in the Random House Dictionary (2010):
1. of no special quality or interest; commonplace; unexceptional: One novel is brilliant, the other is decidedly ordinary; an ordinary person.
2. plain or undistinguished: ordinary clothes.
3. somewhat inferior or below average; mediocre.
4. customary; usual; normal: We plan to do the ordinary things this weekend.
5. Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. common, vulgar, or disreputable.
6.(of jurisdiction) immediate, as contrasted with something that is delegated.
7.(of officials) belonging to the regular staff or the fully recognized class.
Obviously, some of the above definitions wouldn't fit. Numbers 4 and 7 seem the most likely candidates to me. But I'd like to hear your thoughts. And could you please cite any sources to back up your position.



Puritan Board Sophomore
The old British definition of a tavern wouldn't fit either.

[Flashback of digging through the OED while studying Tristram Shandy or was it Tom Jones...]

N. Eshelman

Puritan Board Senior
From THE Dictionary:


Brit. /dn()ri/, /d()ri/, U.S. /rdnri/ Forms: ME ordenarie, ME ordenary, ME ordynarie, ME-15 ordenarye, ME-15 ordinarye, ME-15 ordynary, ME-15 ordynarye, ME-16 ordinarie, ME- ordinary, 16 ordnary, 17 ordinarey, 18 orniary.See also ORDINAR n. [< Anglo-Norman ordenarie, ordinarie, ordinaire, etc., and Middle French, French ordinaire diocesan official, ecclesiastical ordinary, holder of jurisdiction attaching to an ecclesiastical office (1260 in Old French as ordenaire), officer of lower rank (1272 in Anglo-Norman), book containing the ordinary of the mass (1328), the ordinary of the mass (1462), group of soldiers regularly commanded by an officer (1465), food served regularly in a community (1456), food which constitutes one's customary daily fare (1489), regular manner of proceeding (early 15th cent.), habitual behaviour (15th cent.), that which is normal (1559), courier leaving and arriving on a fixed date (1636), inn where meals are provided (1677), meal regularly available in a tavern (1690), and their etymon post-classical Latin ordinarius (ecclesiastical) canon (10th cent.), judge (from 1137; short for judex ordinarius), diocesan official (from c1160 in British sources), service book (13th cent.; short for liber ordinarius), also ordinarium service book (c1080, c1450 in British sources, 13th cent. in continental sources), directive, injunction (13th cent. in a British source), lecture of a recent master (from 1333 in British sources), daily allowance of food (1457), uses as noun of classical Latin rdinrius ORDINARY adj. (already used as noun in classical Latin to denote a kind of soldier and a kind of servant). In later use sometimes after senses of ORDINARY adj.]

I. Rule or ordinance.

1. a. A formula or rule prescribing a certain order or course of action; an ordinance, regulation. Obs.


a1400 (c1303) R. MANNYNG Handlyng Synne (Harl.) 10909 With ese prestes hyt shulde fare so, whan here parysshenes oghte mysdo, wy feyre techyng..And with ordynaryys of holy cherche. ?a1475 Ludus Coventriae 79 To obey e ordenaryes of e temple.
b. A prescribed or customary course or procedure; a regular custom or habit. Obs.

1526 1685

1526 in Coll. Ordinances Royal Househ. (1790) 140 The Serjeant of the bakehouse..to make & bake the bread..according to the auntient ordinary of the household. 1594 R. CAREW tr. J. Huarte Exam. Mens Wits xii. 193 Oft times they procure the feuer, and their ordinarie is to make melancholie by adustion. 1685 J. ERSKINE Jrnl. 22 Nov. (1893) 167 He was a Lutheran, it was their ordinary to work on that day.
2. A book that sets out and records rules and practices; a devotional manual containing instructions for the conduct of life. Obs.

a1475 1548
1502 1633

a1475 J. FORTESCUE Governance of Eng. (Laud) (1885) 149 How a new counsellour shall be chosen, how mony owres off the day this counsell shall sytt..mowe be..putt in a boke, and that boke kept in this counsell as a registir or a ordinarye. 1502 tr. Ordynarye of Crysten Men (de Worde) sig. tt.iiiv, Here endeth the booke named the ordynarye of crysten men..Enprynted..in the Flete Strete..by Wynken de worde. 1548 A. SCOLOKER tr. C. van der Heyden (title) The ordenarye for all faythfull Chrystians to leade a vertuous and godly lyfe. 1633 in A. F. Johnston & M. Rogerson Rec. Early Eng. Drama: York (1979) I. 591 They thincke it fit that theis Articles followinge bee inserted into the Musitians Ordinary.
3. Christian Church. A rule prescribing, or book containing, the order of divine service, esp. that of the Mass; the established order or form for saying mass; the service of the Mass, or that part preceding and following the canon. In the Roman Catholic Church (usu. with capital initial): those parts of a service, esp. the Mass, which do not vary from day to day; spec. those unvarying parts which form the mass as a musical setting (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei). Also in extended use.

1516 1655 a1832 1994

1516 R. FABYAN New Chron. Eng. (1811) VII. ccxxii. 245 Bokes, that were occupyed in the deuyne seruyce of the Churche, as the Ordynall or Consuetudynary, the whiche..is nowe named Salysbury vse, or the ordinary after Salysbury vse. 1655 T. FULLER Church-hist. Brit. III. 9 Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, devised that Ordinary, or form of Service, which hereafter was observed in the whole Realm. a1832 J. MACKINTOSH Hist. Revol. Eng. (1834) ix. 243 Judicial determinations, which recognised his [sc. the King's] right..to make ordinaries for the outward rule of the church. 1929 E. C. THOMAS Lay Folks' Hist. Liturgy I. v. 22 These Nestorian Liturgies differ in the Anaphora, but the Ordinary of the Mass is the same in all. 1944 W. APEL Harvard Dict. Music 523/2 Other services [than the Mass]..also comprise invariable and variable portions. For instance, the Magnificat forms a part of the Ordinary of Vespers. 1979 W. KENNEDY Ironweed v. 122 She read the ordinary of the mass until she came to the Lesson. 1994 R. HELLENGA Sixteen Pleasures vii. 131 One of the brothers reads from the Ordinary, and the others give the responses in unison.
II. Applied to a person or persons, and related senses.

4. a. Chiefly Ecclesiastical Law. A person who has, of his or her own right and not by the appointment of another, immediate jurisdiction in ecclesiastical cases, such as the archbishop in a province, or the bishop or bishop's deputy in a diocese.

c1400 1590
?1530 1687
1607 1767 1875
1829 1993

c1400 WYCLIF Sel. Eng. Wks. (1871) III. 384 Freris..ben exempt fro bischopis and oer ordinaries. c1450 Jacob's Well (1900) 56 o..defendyn an opyn theef, after e tyme ey be thryes monestyd of here ordinarye. 1480 in S. Tymms Wills & Inventories Bury St. Edmunds (1850) 60 The ordenary, afore whom this myn testament schall be prouyd. ?1530 J. RASTELL Pastyme of People sig. *Ci, Clerkes indyted of Felonye shalbe delyuered to the ordynaryes. 1590 H. SWINBURNE Briefe Treat. Test. 205 The executor which deriueth his authoritie from the lawe, is the Bishop or Ordinarie of euerie diocesse. 1607 J. COWELL Interpreter sig. Zz2v/2, Ordinarie... In our common lawe, it is most commonly..taken for him, that hath ordinarie Iurisdiction in causes ecclesiasticall. 1687 BP. CARTWRIGHT in Magdalen Coll. & Jas. II (1886) 115 The King..is Supreme Ordinary of this Kingdom. 1767 W. BLACKSTONE Comm. Laws Eng. II. xviii. 277 If the bishop be both patron and ordinary, he shall not have a double time allowed him to collate in. 1829 F. A. CARRINGTON & J. PAYNE Reports III. 489 If a governor of a colony has the authority of the ordinary, he has no power to commit a churchwarden who refuses to account, he ought to proceed upon a citation, and must excommunicate. 1875 W. STUBBS Constit. Hist. III. xviii. 98 It was agreed that all Lollards..should be handed over to the ordinaries to be tried. 1927 Amer. Mercury Feb. 188/1 Writing to his own ordinary, a priest or layman may begin ‘My dear Bishop’..without the surname. 1975 Halsbury's Laws of Eng. XIV. 221 The bishop of a diocese is..also called ‘Ordinary’ in some enactments ‘as having ordinary jurisdiction in causes ecclesiastical’. 1993 30 Days in Church & in World No. 1. 30/1 So five ordinaries out of a total of 26 had a letter read out in all the churches.
b. Civil Law. A judge having authority to deal with cases in his or her own right and not by delegation; (Sc.) one of the judges of the Outer House of the Court of Session; = Lord Ordinary n. at ORDINARY adj. 1 (now rare). Also, in parts of the United States: a county judge having jurisdiction esp. of a court of probate.

1607 1775
1714 1861
1816 1972

1607 J. COWELL Interpreter sig. Zz2v/2, Ordinarie (Ordinarius),..in the ciuil lawe, whence the word is taken, it doth signifie any iudge that hath authoritie to take knowledge of causes in his owne right, as he is a magistrate, and not by deputation. 1675 Acts Sederunt Scotl. (1740) I. 87 That hereafter..no Bill of Suspension shall be presented to any Lord to be past, but to him who shall be Ordinary for the Time upon the Bills. 1714 W. FORBES Decisions p. xi, Each Lord is called the Ordinary, with respect to Affairs that come in before him. 1775 J. FERGUSON Decisions Court of Session 1738-52 352 That he re-employ the money in the same terms as devised by the bond at the sight of the Ordinary on the bills. 1816 S. Carolina Laws 56 Ordinaries in the several districts within this state, shall be elected by the citizen qualified..to vote. 1834 Tait's Mag. 1 724/1 From Mr. Hope's statement..the Ordinaries fare worse than the Judges of the Inner-House, as they must sometimes read manuscript... I do not know a more laborious life than that of one of the Lords Ordinary. 1861 G. ROSS W. Bell's Dict. Law Scotl. (rev. ed.) 755/2 The junior or last appointed Ordinary of the First Division is appointed to sit as junior of the two permanent Lords Ordinary of the Second Division. 1916 N.Y. Times 30 Apr. 14/4 Georgia's new prohibition law... Transportation companies are held responsible for the consignee signing a receipt attested by a notary public, and the delivery of the receipt to county ordinaries. 1947 Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch 9 May 21/2 Judge Carl Griffin, ordinary of Floyd County, performed the ceremony. 1965 ‘F. O'CONNOR’ Everything that rises must Converge 229 The Ordinary was an old woman with red hair who had held office for forty years and looked as dusty as her books. 1972 Words & Phrases 30 272/1 Under Georgia statute, an ordinary is a judge, and may lawfully perform the marriage ceremony.
5. An officer in a religious fraternity having charge of a convent, etc. Obs.


1425 Rolls of Parl. IV. 306/1 If ye patron present not to ye said Benefice..yan hit be lawefull to ye ordinarie of ye same place yereto to make collation. 1481 in S. Tymms Wills & Inventories Bury St. Edmunds (1850) 68 The Secresten of the Monasterie of Bury Seynt Edmund, Ordinarie of the same place.
6. A staff of officers in regular attendance or service. Cf. ORDINARY adj. 2b. Obs. rare.


1526 in Coll. Ordinances Royal Househ. (1790) 165 The ordinary of the King's chamber which have bouche of Court & also their dietts within the Court. [A list of officers of the Household follows.]
7. A courier conveying dispatches or letters at regular intervals, freq. between different countries; (hence) post, mail. Obs.

1592 1667 1730
1704 1819

1592 H. WOTTON Let. in L. P. Smith Life & Lett. Sir H. Wotton (1907) I. 293, I have in this included a post-cipher, serving for the letter that I sent by our last ordinary. 1667 W. TEMPLE Let. to M. Gourville in Wks. (1731) II. 32 By the last Ordinary from Spain, it appears that they dream no more of War there than they do of Fire. 1704 SWIFT Disc. Mech. Operat. Spirit , in Tale of Tub 285, I have not had a Line..these three last Ordinaries. 1730 O. SWINY Let. 24 July in G. Colman Posthumous Lett. (1820) 26, I have recd no answer, as yet..but hope to have one by ye next week's ordinary. 1819 BYRON Let. 15 May (1976) VI. 125, I..will lay to till you come within hail,..but pray respond by the first ordinary.
8. A stage prompter. Obs. rare.


1602 R. CAREW Surv. Cornwall I. f.71v, The players..are prompted by one called the Ordinary, who followeth at their back with the booke in his hand.
9. Navy.

a. A group of officers, workers, etc., in charge of warships laid up in harbour. Obs.

a1642 1769

a1642 W. MONSON Naval Tracts (1704) III. 323/1 He is to take care to pay the Ordinary of the Navy every Quarter. 1702 N. LUTTRELL Diary in Brief Hist. Relation State Affairs (1857) V. 230 Resolv'd, that 129,314£. 18s. 03d. be allowed for the ordinary of the navy. 1758 J. ROBERTSON in Philos. Trans. 1757 (Royal Soc.) 50 31 They were all labouring men, belonging to the ordinary of Portsmouth yard. 1769 W. FALCONER Universal Dict. Marine, Ordinary... These [persons] are..composed of the warrant-officers of the said ships,..and their servants. There is besides a crew of labourers enrolled in the list of the ordinary.
b. A part of a fleet which is laid up or out of service. Chiefly in in ordinary: (of a ship) out of commission, not in service. Also fig. Now hist.

1754 1898
1833 1988

1754 Ess. Manning Fleet 24 Warrant-Officers doing Duty on Board any Ships in Ordinary. 1796 Grose's Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue (ed. 3) at Negroes Heads, Brown loaves delivered to the ships in ordinary. 1833 J. NYREN Young Cricketer's Tutor II. 57, I have constantly been ‘at the receipt of custom’ when any rousing match has been toward; and being now a veteran, and laid up in ordinary, I may be allowed the vanity of the quotation, ‘Quorum magna pars fui’. 1842 J. WILSON Recreations Christopher North I. 359 The Crutch is laid up in ordinary. 1863 P. BARRY Dockyard Econ. 192 Dockyard ordinaries is merely another name for reserves of ships of war. When ships of war are said to be in ordinary, the meaning is that they are in one of three stages of readiness for commission and active service. 1898 J. K. LAUGHTON in Trans. Royal Hist. Soc. 12 89 ‘In ordinary’ at that time [sc. 1805] meant being repaired, or waiting to be repaired, but certainly not fit for service. 1962 C. S. FORESTER Hornblower & Hotspur i. 13 Count the ships of warthe number and rate of ships with their yards crossed; ships still in ordinary. 1988 D. A. THOMAS Compan. Royal Navy iii. 266/2 This had resulted in the English ships not being fitted out..and the ships were left in ‘ordinary’in other words, they were in reserve with all their stores taken ashore.
10. a. More fully ordinary of assize and sessions. A diocesan officer appointed to give criminals their ‘neck-verses’ (see NECK-VERSE n.), and to prepare them for death. Obs.

b. The chaplain of Newgate prison, whose duty it was to prepare condemned prisoners for death. Now hist.

1696 1743
1700 1890
1818 1991

1696 E. PHILLIPS New World of Words (ed. 5), Ordinary,..Also the Bishop of the Diocesses Sub at Sessions and Assizes, to give Malefactors their Neck-verses, and to judge whether they read or no. 1700 W. CONGREVE Way of World III. i. 43 The Ordinary's paid for setting the Psalm, and the Parish-Priest for reading the Ceremony. 1743 H. FIELDING Jonathan Wild IV. i, in Misc. III. 286 In Newgate..the Ordinary himself..declared that he was a cursed Rogue, but no conjurer. 1818 W. HAZLITT Eng. Poets (1870) v. 187 He is a kind of Ordinary, not of Newgate, but of nature. 1890 Dict. National Biogr. at Goodcole, Henry, His ministrations seem to have proved acceptable to the condemned prisoners at Newgate, whom he attended by leave of the ordinary. 1900 SIR W. BESANT in Daily News 3 Sept. 6/2 The prisoner was conveyed to the spot in a cart beside his own coffin, while the ordinary sat beside him and exhorted him. 1991 Hist. Jrnl. 34 764 In an earlier study of criminal biographies written by the Ordinary (chaplain) of Newgate prison, Peter Linebaugh argued that it was necessary that criminals who were sentenced to death confessed their crimes.
III. Something ordinary, regular, or usual.

11. A lecture read at regular or stated times; spec. a regular reading from the Bible as an observance within a household. Obs.

?a1475 c1574 1665

?a1475 (?a1425) tr. R. Higden Polychron. (Harl.) VIII. 219 Hit happede seynte Edmunde to forgete that impression..by studyenge for an ordinary [L. lectionem] to be redde in the morowe foloynge. c1574 in G. Peacock Observ. on Statutes of Cambridge (1841) App. A. p. xliv, The Bedellys shall sett the Doctor from hys place to the commyn Scolys to rede his Ordynarye. 1665 W. PRINGLE in Sel. Biogr. (1845-7) I. 459 My ordinary this morning was from the 9th verse of this 5th chapter to the end.
12. a. Customary fare; a regular daily meal or allowance of food; (hence, by extension) a fixed portion, an allowance of anything. Obs.

1481 1577 a1668
1600 1718 1894

1481 Myrrour of Worlde (Caxton) III. xvi. 168 They..reteyne and kepe more goodes and richesses than [printed that] they nede for their ordynarye [Fr. a son vivre]. 1577 R. STANYHURST Treat. Descr. Irelande iii. f. 9v/2, in R. Holinshed Chron. I, Albeit..his house is frequented..of the Nobilitie.., yet his ordinarie is so good, that a very few set feastes are prouided for them. 1600 R. SURFLET tr. C. Estienne & J. Liebault Maison Rustique I. xxviii. 178 Giue him rather some haie to eate, then to lead him to water, and after that to giue him his ordinary of oates. 1667 R. ALLESTREE Causes Decay Christian Piety viii. 232 Nor is he now to be lookt on as a Gentleman, whose single Ordinary costs not as much as would be..a fair exhibition for some whole families. a1668 W. WALLER Divine Medit. (1839) 45 Behemoth is satisfied with that ordinary which the mountaines bring him forth. 1718 R. FINLAYSON Arbroath Documents (1923) 25 Pay to Robert Davidson cou herd three pound sex shilling and eight pennies Scots, and that as his ordinary for his skeath for keeping of the toun's kine. 1894 R. L. STEVENSON Lett. (1899) II. 344 Add an egg to her ordinary.
b. A meal regularly available at a fixed price in a restaurant, public house, tavern, etc. Formerly also: the company frequenting such a meal, the ‘table’. Also fig. Now chiefly hist.

1589 1678
1650 1771
1709 1887
1816 1999

1589 T. NASHE To Students in R. Greene Menaphon Epist. sig. A2v, They might haue..dinde euerie daie at the pease porredge ordinarie with Delphrigus. 1650 T. FULLER Pisgah-sight of Palestine III. 328 He kept a daily Ordinary (thanks being the onely shot his guests were to pay). 1678 Young Man's Calling 58 Civil and loving society..is natures table of ordinary. 1709 R. STEELE Tatler No. 135. 6 In the presence of the whole Ordinary that were now gathered about him in the Garden. 1750 W. KENRICK (title) The Kapélion, or poetical ordinary; consisting of great variety of dishes in prose and verse. 1771 H. MACKENZIE Man of Feeling (1886) xix. 41 A board hung out of a window signifying, ‘An excellent Ordinary on Saturdays and Sundays’. 1816 S. T. COLERIDGE Statesman's Man. 47 The two public ordinaries of Literature, the circulating libraries and the periodical press. 1887 H. SMART Cleverly Won v, Joe..played a very good knife and fork at the farmers' ordinary. 1922 J. JOYCE Ulysses II. 380 He took his ordinary at a boilingcook's. 1976 N. ROBERTS Face of France xv. 157 The establishment in an English market town which still does a good farmers' ordinary. 1999 Healthy Eating Aug. 67/2 Many people ate their dinner in eating houses, seated at long tables. Known as the ‘ordinary’, the meal consisted of a hot meat dish, bread and ale, often costing less than a shilling.
c. An inn, public house, tavern, etc., where meals are provided at a fixed price; the room in such a building where this type of meal is provided. Now hist. and arch.
In the 17th-18th centuries the more expensive ordinaries were frequented by men of fashion, and the dinner was usually followed by gambling; hence the term was often used as synonymous with ‘gambling-house’.

1590 1665
1631 1768
1712 1883
1812 1993

1590 R. PAYNE Briefe Descr. Ireland (1841) 8 A man may be as well and cleanely tabled at an English house in Ireland..as at the best ordinarie in England. 1631 T. POWELL Tom of All Trades (1876) 141 The unwholsome ayre of an Eightpenny Ordinarie. 1665 R. HEAD Eng. Rogue I. xli, The floods I daily frequented, were either the Temple, Ordinaries, Play-houses, ****-pits, Brothels, or Taverns. 1712 SWIFT Proposal for Eng. Tongue 24 All the odd Words they have picked up in a Coffee-House, or a Gaming Ordinary. 1768 J. CREMER Jrnl. 19 July in R. R. Bellamy Ramblin' Jack (1936) 223, I..went to the ‘Ship & Marmaid’, had a good dinner at theair ordinarey..and then on board to my Duty. 1812 Sporting Mag. 39 278 The plaintiff had no right to insist upon going into the ordinary or any other particular room. 1852 THACKERAY Henry Esmond II. II. ii. 37 The cost at the dearest ordinary or the grandest tavern in London could not have furnished a longer reckoning, than our host of the Handcuff Inn. 1883 J. HAWTHORNE Dust III. 286 In one of the narrow streets leading towards Cheapside she noticed a small inn or ordinary. 1915 H. L. WILSON Ruggles of Red Gap xii. 211, I debated having an ordinary for such as these, [sc, labourers and the working class] where they could be shut away from my selecter patrons. 1952 H. F. M. PRESCOTT Man on Donkey v. 122 Still, it would buy a dish of eggs at an ordinary if he made haste, for dinner-time was almost over. 1993 P. O'BRIAN Wine-dark Sea iii. 56 In Tom's absence the place is more like the ordinary of an inferior Portsmouth tavern than the gunroom of a man-of-war.
d. U.S. Chiefly in Virginia and certain other Southern states: a hotel or public house also serving as a venue for entertainment. Now arch., hist., and regional.

1637 1774
1704 1885
1816 1995

1637 in Essex Inst. Historical Coll. (1869) IX. 55 Mr. John Holgraue..hath undertaken to keep an ordinary for the entertainment of strangers. 1650 in Arch. Maryland (1883) I. 294 Wine or other Provisions to bee expended in any Ordinaries within this Province. 1680 in N. Bouton Coll. New-Hampsh. Hist. Soc. (1866) VIII. 15 Wt p[er]son soever..shall p[ro]fane ye Lord's Day..by Dining at ordinarys in time of publique worship..shall forfeite 10s. 1704 S. KNIGHT Jrnl. 47 [We] took up our Lodgings at an ordinary, wch a French family kept. 1774 P. V. FITHIAN Jrnl. in Amer. Hist. Rev. 5 315 All Taverns they [sc. Virginians] call ‘Ordinary's’. 1816 W. BROWN Jrnl. II. 230 Thence to an orniary took a Cut refreshed & fed $0.50. 1859 Harper's Mag. May 797/2 Thus pleasantly talking, they arrived at an old Virginia ordinarycalled ‘ornery’ for short. 1885 Cent. Mag. July 289/1 In the South especially travelers were often able entirely to avoid the wretched and extortionate ‘ordinaries’, as they were called. 1936 William & Mary Coll. Q. Hist. Mag. 16 1 [In the South] Rural hostelries affected the name ordinary; while their urban counterparts were better known as taverns. 1956 M. L. SETTLE O Beulah Land II. i. 163 Whar's the ordinary hyarabouts? 1995 Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) (Nexis) 17 Feb. D1 There's a place out here toward Goochland called Tanglewood Ordinary... Until I read about ordinaries I didn't know why it was called that.
e. A gambling game carried on at an ordinary. Obs.


1684 London Gaz. No. 1950/4, Rafflings, Ordinaries, and other publick Games.
13. Something of the more or most usual class or type, distinguished from others of some special sort.

a. A particular make or variety of kersey. Obs.


1552 Act 5 & 6 Edw. VI c. 6 §12 Kersies called Ordinaries..being well scowred, thicked, milled, dressed and fully dried, shall weigh xx. li. at the least.
b. Also with capital initial. An early bicycle of the type current between the early 1870s and the mid 1890s, having an elevated saddle, one large and one very small wheel, and no gears; a penny-farthing. Now hist.
N.E.D. (1903) notes that bicycles of this type were ‘so-called for some years after the introduction of the “safety” type, c1885’ (cf. SAFETY n. 10).

1888 1973
1909 2000

1888 Cyclists' Touring Club Gaz. Sept. 369 A youth who, on sighting us..forthwith mounted his ordinary, rode out of the yard [etc.]. 1898 Cycling 84 Osmond at his best on the Ordinary was riding when the rear-driver began to establish itself as a racing cycle. 1909 N.E.D. at Safety sb., Safety bicycle, former name for the type of bicycle now in use, differing from the ‘Ordinary’ in the lower position of the saddle. 1973 Sci. Amer. Apr. 86/1 Some remarkably low weights were achieved at a very early date, mainly for racing machines. For example, a Rudge ‘ordinary’ of 1884 weighed only 21·5 pounds. 2000 Hist. Today July 18/1 The ordinary..had indeed been essentially a racing machinebut the safety bicycle was capable of much greater speed.
c. Brit. Stock Market. An ordinary share (as distinguished from preference shares, etc.).

1898 1989

1898 Westm. Gaz. 9 Mar. 8/2 The market values the ordinaries at over 115-16. 1900 Westm. Gaz. 21 Aug. 7/3 Last year the ordinaries were divided into £1 shares. 1917 Econ. Jrnl. 27 190 The preference, formerly very great, for British railway ordinaries has entirely disappeared. 1964 Financial Times 23 Mar. 12/3 Plans are being considered to fund back indebtedness through..a 1-for-1 rights issue of 5s Ordinary at par. 1989 Investors Chron. 27 Jan. 82/3 Bowater resisted the initial tender price of 195p for the ordinaries and 103p for the prefs.
14. a. An ordinary thing or person; something of usual or commonplace character. With the: that which is ordinary, usual, or to be expected; ordinary people or things as a class.

1588 1647
1624 1897
1870 1989

1588 T. HARIOT Briefe & True Rep. sig. A3v, Beeing one that haue beene in the discouerie and in dealing with the naturall inhabitantes specially imploied; and hauing therefore seene and knowne more then the ordinarie. 1624 BACON Considerations War with Spain in Wks. (1879) I. 542/2 At that time Spain had no other wars save those of the Low Countries, which were grown into the ordinary. 1647 N. WARD Simple Cobler Aggawam 17, I would not have..my Animall Spirits purged any way but by my Naturall, and those by my bodily humours, and those by such Ordinaries as have the nearest vicinage to them. 1870 J. R. LOWELL My Study Windows 136 The mastery of Shakespeare is shown perhaps more strikingly in his treatment of the ordinary than of the exceptional. 1897 Chicago Advance 2 Sept. 314/1 To touch and lift the common life about him, till its veriest ordinaries should feel the thrill of the new life. 1909 Times Lit. Suppl. 20 May 185/2 Shakespeare introduces the ordinary, whether in characters or in events, only as a foil to the extraordinary. 1978 Atlanta Jrnl. & Constit. 14 Jan. 23T (advt.) Tapas. When you're fed up with the ordinary... Our European chef proudly presents over 40 delightfully different hot and cold appetizer treats. 1989 Sunday Correspondent 29 Oct. 47/2 Rees-Mogg has acquired a more common touch, and recently travelled the country consulting the ordinary about his draft code.
b. The ordinary or usual condition, course, or degree of something; the normal state of health, etc.; a customary or usual way of doing things. Now Sc. and Irish English (north.).
In quots. 1672 , 1710: a regular course of reading.

1591 1672
a1616 1723
1710 1846 1996

1591 H. SAVILE tr. Tacitus Hist. in Ende of Nero IV. xiii. 177 Of a crafty and suttle wit, aboue the ordinary of those barbarous people. a1616 SHAKESPEARE As you like It (1623) III. v. 43, I see no more in you then in the ordinary Of Natures sale-worke. 1672 J. FRASER in Sel. Biog. (1845) II. 152 Reading in my ordinary, I read these words Hag. ii. 17. 1710 J. BLACKADER Diary 2 July in A. Crichton Life J. Blackader (1824) 397 In reading the Scripture in my ordinary, I got both reproof and instruction. 1723 R. WODROW Corr. (1843) III. 101 Forgive me this long scroll, which is not my ordinary, and give my wife's and my humble duty to your lady and family. 1846 J. HAMILTON Mt. Olives vii. 150 If he is in his ‘frail ordinary’ he is content. 1917 N. MUNRO Rachel comes to Town in Jimmy Swan 193 To cheer up and encourage Rachel; just to make her think that married life's no' so dull as she would think if she saw me at my ordinary. 1996 C. I. MACAFEE Conc. Ulster Dict. 242/1 Your ‘ordinary’, your usual state of health.
c. One of a class of inmates in a poorhouse. hist. and rare.


1910 Daily Chron. 14 Jan. 8/5 The ‘ordinaries’ (whom we should call able-bodied) were able to roam all over the building.
15. Heraldry.

a. A charge of the earliest, simplest, and commonest kind, usually bounded by straight lines, but sometimes engrailed, wavy, indented, etc.
The principal charges so classed are the Chief, Pale, Bend, Bend Sinister, Fesse, Bar, Chevron, Cross, and Saltire.

1610 1706 1866 1998

1610 J. GUILLIM Display of Heraldrie II. iii. 43 Those Charges..which..doe peculiarly belong to this Art, and are of ordinarie vse therein, in regard whereof, they are called Ordinaries. 1610 J. GUILLIM Display of Heraldrie III. xxvi. 182 Sometimes you shall find this bird borne in the forme of some Ordinary;..[as] displaied in Pale, three of them one aboue another. 1706 Phillips's New World of Words (ed. 6), Jessant, or Jacent,..us'd when in a Coat of Arms a Lion or other Beast is born over some Ordinary, as over a Chief Bend, or Fesse. 1866 J. E. CUSSANS Gram. Heraldry 13 Charges are divided into three classesHonourable Ordinaries, Sub ordinaries, and Common Charges. 1977 O. NEUBECKER Heraldry Sources, Symbols & Meaning 88 Most heraldic badges have conventional names, particularly the ordinaries, which are the basic charges made up of straight lines. 1998 Renaissance No. 12. 18/3 Major brisures involve changes of tinctures or the addition of ordinaries to indicate different branches of a family.
b. In full ordinary of arms. A book or work of reference in which heraldic charges are arranged by design and referred to the individuals or families who bear them (as opposed to an Armory, which is arranged in the order of the names of the people who bear arms).
[An earlier example may occur in the title ‘An Ordinary of Arms in Colour’ on the spine of the binding, probably of c1700 or earlier, of London, College of Arms, MS A 18.
The sense may have originated in a misunderstanding (perhaps through a colloquial ordinary book) of the appellation book of ordinaries properly applied in 1628 by John Withie to the MS work of R. Glover, Somerset Herald (1571-88; R. Glover's own MS, B.M. Tiberius D. x., has no title); it could however also arise independently from for example sense 3. Compare:
1628 J. WITHIE Harl. MS 1459 This is a true coppie of a booke of Armes; (otherwise called a booke of Ordinaries) wch was trickt and written by the hands of the late worthy gent: Robert Glouer Esquire Somerset-Herauld.
A related use is apparently shown by the following:
a1726 H. WANLEY Descr. Harl. MS 1078 A large collection of the Arms of English Families disposed by way of Ordinary... But a table shewing the Order of this Ordinary is wanting.]

1780 1893
1874 1988

1780 J. EDMONDSON Compl. Body Heraldry (title-page), Glover's Ordinary Of Arms, Augmented and Improved. 1780 J. EDMONDSON Compl. Body Heraldry I. Contents, A Copious Ordinary of Arms, originally compiled by Robert Glover, Somerset Herald, and now enlarged and improved. 1874 J. W. PAPWORTH (title) An alphabetical dictionary of coats of arms..forming an extensive ordinary of British armorials. 1893 SIR J. B. Paul (title) An ordinary of arms in the public register of all arms and bearings in Scotland. 1952 A. R. WAGNER Rec. & Coll. College of Arms 51 Garter's Ordinary has become an indispensable tool at the College. 1973 J. P. BROOKE-LITTLE Heraldic Alphabet 150 Ordinary of Arms. A dictionary in which arms are listed alphabetically by the charges they contain. 1988 T. WOODCOCK & J. M. ROBINSON Oxf. Guide to Heraldry iii. 34 Ordinaries are collections of arms, crests, supporters, or badges arranged according to design.

P1. of (also for, in) ordinary: in the ordinary course of things; as a regular custom or practice; ordinarily. Obs.
[Compare Middle French en ordinaire in the usual manner (c1375), Middle French, French à l'ordinaire (c1375), Middle French par ordinaire (late 15th cent.), French d'ordinaire (1601), pour l'ordinaire (1666), selon l'ordinaire (1678), post-classical Latin ex ordinario in due course (c1307 in a British source).]

1556 1762 1895

1556 J. HEYWOOD Spider & Flie lii. 17 Spiders of ordinarie haue store Of all municion, for warrs redie rated. 1589 G. PUTTENHAM Arte Eng. Poesie III. xviii. 160 In his Oration which ye know is of ordinary to be made before the Prince at the first assembly of both houses. 1762 LD. KAMES Elem. Crit. (1763) I. ii. 87 May we not with equal reason derive from self-love the affection a man for ordinary has to them [children]? 1808 T. JEFFERSON Writings (1830) IV. 112 We shall man them, in ordinary, but with their navigating crew of eight or ten good seamen. a1860 J. YOUNGER Autobiogr. (1881) 100 Your auld creeshy weaver breeks, that ye dicht aye ye're fingers on in ordinary. 1895 T. HARDY Jude VI. v. in Wks. (1896) VIII. 459 Unlike a woman in ordinary, whose eye is so keen for material things, Sue seemed to see nothing of the room they were in.
P2. in ordinary: in an official capacity. Chiefly used (now usu. hyphenated) as postmodifier in official titles such as chaplain-in-ordinary, physician-in-ordinary (to the nobility, royalty, etc.); = ORDINARY adj. 2b. Also in extended use.
[Apparently an expansion of ORDINARY adj. 2b, and like it opposed to EXTRAORDINARY adj. 2. With chaplain-in-ordinary compare:
a1553 KING EDWARD VI Jrnl. ann. 1551 in Lit. Remains (1857) II. 376 It was apointed I shuld have 6 chapelins ordinary, of wich tow ever to be present, and foure alwayes absent in preaching.]

1621 1785
1707 1895
1815 1997

1621 M. WROTH Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania 476, I came again, hauing liberty to behold them, but neuer any more to serue in ordinary. a1631 J. DONNE Elegy vii, in Poems (1633) 53 Favorite in Ordinary, or no favorite bee. a1639 H. WOTTON Life Buckingham in Reliq. (1651) 78 There is conveyed to Master Villiers an intimation of the Kings pleasure..to be..his Cup-bearer at large; and the Summer following he was admitted in Ordinary. 1655 I. WALTON Compl. Angler (ed. 2) i. 11 Therefore I think my Eagle is so justly stiled, Joves faithful servant in Ordinary. 1707 J. CHAMBERLAYNE Present State Great Brit. III. 550 (List of Queen's Officers and Servants), Physicians in Ordinary to her Majesty's Person. 1737 J. CHAMBERLAYNE Present State Great Brit. II. III. 245 (Establishmt. of her Majesty's Household), Ladies of the Bed-Chamber in Ordinary,..Ladies of the Bed-Chamber Extraordinary. 1785 F. PILON Barataria II. 32 But, my Lord, so many of your predecessors having been poison'd by the cooks, the Duke has appointed a physician in ordinary to inspect and determine what is proper or noxious to the constitution. 1815 R. HERBER Let. 12 Feb. in A. Herber Life (1830) I. xiii. 427 One Zedekiah, a Jew and magician in ordinary to Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia,..swallowed the court-jester..all save his shoes. 1858 THACKERAY Virginians I. xlvi. 362 May my cursed fortunes, too, better themselves, is the prayer of Your honour's afflicted Chaplain in Ordinary, J. S. 1895 Econ. Jrnl. 5 8 In 1752 he became Physician in Ordinary to the King. 1934 Burlington Mag. Oct. 182/2 In this very year, January 1431, the King's painter to Charles IX of France was Henry Mellein, and his painter-in-ordinary was Conrad de Vulcop. 1997 Church Times 31 Jan. 6/5 In 1974 he was made a Lieutenant of the Victorian Orderthe personal gift of the Queen, to whom he was Priest-in-Ordinary for seven years.
P3. out of the ordinary: not in the ordinary or expected course of things; not usual or commonplace.
[Compare French contre l'ordinaire (1678).]

1873 1992

1873 M. OLIPHANT Innocent xxix. 219 ‘Something wrong?’.. ‘Oh, nothing particularnothing out of the ordinary.’ 1893 Chicago Advance 14 Sept. 686/4 Something out of the ordinary was anticipated in the labor parade last Monday. 1916 G. O'KEEFE Let. Feb. in G. O'Keefe & A. Pollitzer Lovingly, Georgia (1990) 153 Nothing short of a volcanic eruption in my life something out of the ordinary happening could induce me to think of doing such a rash thing as to have my suit cleaned and pressed. 1977 ‘D. CORY’ Bennett iv. 121 The case I'm engaged on..is rather out of the ordinary. 1992 New Age Jrnl. Feb. 56 (advt.) Tofu that's out of the ordinary in taste, texture, firmness and freshness.

C1. (In sense 12.)

a. ordinary door n. Obs. rare


1681 Public Rec. Colony of Connecticut (1859) III. 78 He shall give publique notice..at a town meeting or by a writing set up upon the *ordinary or mill dore.
ordinary supper n. Obs. rare


1635 W. BRERETON Trav. (1844) 93 We were well used: 6d. *ordinary supper, and 4d. breakfast.
b. ordinary keeper n. chiefly U.S. (now hist.) an innkeeper.

1644 1712 1881 2000

1644 in G. Thomann Amer. Beer (1909) v, That no *ordinary keeper or victualler be permitted at all to sell or utter any wine or strong liquor but strong beer only. 1712 S. SEWALL Diary II. 340 John Rickard, Ordinary-keeper, our quondam Landlord dyes this day. 1881 J. RIKER Harlem xvii. 298 The removal of Verveelen to Papparinamin having left the village without an ordinary keeper, Cornelis Jansen Kortright..was admitted June 2d to keep the ordinary, on the usual conditions. 2000 Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch (Nexis) 16 Apr., John Brooke, an ordinary keeper, bought this lot in 1712.
ordinary keeping n. Obs. innkeeping.

1670 1710

1670 in Proc. Essex Inst. (1867) 5 111 It is to be feared..yt his *ordinary-keeping may be a snare to ye looser sort of people. 1710 in Early Rec. Providence, Rhode Island (1896) X. 113 Anne Tirpin tooke a licence for Ordinary Keeping and gave bond.
ordinary table n. Obs. the table at which an ordinary was served and which was afterwards cleared for gambling; (hence) a gambling-table or gambling-house.

1578 1656 1883

1578 J. LYLY Euphues f. 63v, Frequent not those *ordinarie tables wher..yee both spende your money vaynely and your time idly. 1656 T. HEYWOOD Sir Richard Wittington 64 As also the ordinary Tables of the Lord Maior and the Sheriffes, where there is free and generous entertainment for all men of fashion, and quality. 1883 H. H. S. CROFT in T. Elyot Gouernour I. I. xxvi. 274 (note) ‘Hells’ in England..were previously known as ‘Ordinary-Tables’.
C2. (In sense 9.)

a. ordinary book n. Obs. rare


1762 P. DURELL Let. 11 Dec. in Barrington Papers (1937) (modernized text) I. 385 They may..be borne on the *Ordinary Books of the Yard, until the Ship is cleared.
ordinary ship-keeper n. Obs.


1618 Rep. Comm. State of Navy in J. Charnock Hist. Marine Archit. (1801) II. ix. 237 The rigging at the setting forth may bee performed by the *ordinary shipp-keepers. a1642 W. MONSON Naval Tracts (1704) III. 325/2 The Victualling of the Ordinary Ship keepers.
b. ordinary man n. Obs. a person attending a warship laid up in harbour.

1656 1769 1861

1656 LD. ORRERY Parthenissa V. III. iii. 135 A couple of *ordinary men who had reship'd themselves again for Asia. 1769 W. FALCONER Universal Dict. Marine (1789), Matelots-gardien, the ordinary-men attending a royal dock-yard, and it's harbour or dock. 1861 in Official Rec. Union & Confederate Navies War of Rebellion (U.S. Naval War Rec. Office) (1896) 1st Ser. IV. 21 In the yard there were 80 ordinary men, 40 marines, and 60 men, about, in each of the two vessels.

ordinaryist n. Obs. a person who rides an ‘ordinary’ (see sense 13b).


1889 Pall Mall Gaz. 10 May 1/1 Taken altogether, the riding of the safety men was infinitely better than that of the *ordinaryists. 1891 Wheeling 4 Mar. 426 On a wet day a safety rider is simply coated with mud, while the ordinaryist is comparatively clean.
ordinaryship n. Obs. the quality, dignity, or personality of an ordinary.

a1661 1830

a1661 T. FULLER in Webster's Amer. Dict. Eng. Lang. (1886) 920/1 The same..doth not destroy his *ordinaryship, but only showeth that he was made an ordinary in an extraordinary manner. 1830 Westm. Rev. 13 451 His Ordinaryship sitting in three new characters at once.


Forms: lME ordenarye, lME 16 ordynarye, lME-15 ordynary, lME-16 ordenarie, lME-16 ordenary, lME-16 ordinarie, lME-16 ordinarye, lME-16 ordynarie, lME- ordinary, 16 ordnary, 19- ordiny (Eng. regional (Suffolk)); Sc. pre-17 ordanarie, pre-17 ordenary, pre-17 ordinarie, pre-17 ordinarij, pre-17 ordinarye, pre-17 ordinerrie, pre-17 17- ordinary. See also ORDINAR adj. and ORNERY adj. [< Anglo-Norman ordenaire, ordenarie, ordinair, ordinarie, ordeinair, etc., and Middle French, French ordinaire conforming to the normal order of things (1348), having regular jurisdiction, having jurisdiction ex officio (1355 in juge ordinaire: see below), belonging to the regular staff (1389), of which one makes use ordinarily (1553), conforming to ordinary usage (1580), common to a large number of people (a1615), which does not exceed the ordinary level, average (1675), everyday, non-technical (1668 in the passage translated in quot. 1685 at sense A. 2d), of modest social standing (1864) and their etymon classical Latin rdinrius regular, orderly, customary, usual, arranged in regular lines or courses < rdin-, rd ORDER n. + -rius -ARY suffix1. Compare ORDINARY n.
In Judge Ordinary (see sense A. 1) after Middle French, French juge ordinaire (1355), which is in turn probably after Old Occitan jutge ordinari (c1140), after post-classical Latin iudex ordinarius (recorded as a collocation from 4th cent.; from 1200 in British sources). The collocation may be interpreted as an extension of classical Latin rdinrius ‘legitimate, normally appointed’ (applied to magistrates, especially consuls), a usage which goes back to Livy.]

A. adj.

1. Law. Of a judge: having regular jurisdiction, i.e. exercising authority by virtue of office and not by special deputation; esp. empowered ex officio to take jurisdiction of ecclesiastical or spiritual cases. Now only in special collocations: see note below. Formerly also, of jurisdiction, ecclesiastical power, etc.: exercised ex officio (obs.).
Judge Ordinary n. (a) between 1857 and 1875, a judge of the Matrimonial Causes Court (now hist.); (b) in Scotland, the sheriff of a county. Lord Ordinary n. Sc. Law a judge sitting in the Outer House of the Court of Session.

a1402 1560
1534 1656
a1600 1754
1722 1872
1814 1990

a1402 J. TREVISA tr. R. Fitzralph Defensio Curatorum (1925) 40 For parischons of eny chirche to schryue hem onlich to oon persone, e ordenarye persone is more wori to be chosen an eny freres persone. 1483 CAXTON tr. Caton Aviij, To understonde the sentence of thy Iuge competent and ordynarye. 1534 Act 26 Hen. VIII c. 3 §7 Archebysshoppes and bysshoppes, and all other hauing iurisdiction ordinary. 1560 J. KNOX Hist. Reformation in Scotl. (1848) II. 63 Providing..that this be not prejudiciall to the ordinarie jurisdictioun of judgeis. a1600 R. HOOKER Of Lawes Eccl. Politie (1648) VIII. sig. Eev, Our Judges in causes Ecclesiasticall, are either Ordinary or Commissionary; Ordinary, those whom we term Ordinaries & such by the Laws of this Land are none but Prelates only. 1656 J. BRAMHALL Replic. Bp. Chalcedon v. 200 They have yet another evasion, that the highest ecclesiasticall Power was given..to Saint Peter as an ordinary Pastor to descend from him to his Successors. 1722 W. FORBES Institute I. IV. 230 Where Facts pleaded are not instantly verified, the Lord Ordinary admits the same to Proof; and determines the Manner of Proof. 1722 W. FORBES Institute II. 194 The ordinary Lords are all imployed on the Session Days in different Capacities. 1754 J. ERSKINE Princ. Law Scotl. I. I. ii. §12 On the border between Scotland and England, warrants are granted of course by the judge ordinary of either side. 1814 Sc. Creditors Act (54 George III, ch. 137) s 4 The Messenger or other Person employed in executing a Poinding for Debt..shall forthwith report his Execution of Poinding to the Sheriff, or other Judge Ordinary. 1861 G. ROSS W. Bell's Dict. Law Scotl. (rev. ed.) 600/1 In the Court of Session, the judge before whom a cause depends in the Outer-House is called the Lord Ordinary in that cause. And the judge who officiates in the Bill-Chamber is called the Lord Ordinary on the Bills. 1872 Wharton's Law Lexicon (ed. 5), Judge Ordinary, the judge of the Court for Divorce. 1904 W. S. GILBERT Fairy's Dilemma (1911) II. i. 26 But, confound it, madam, they're married! How can you put that right? Whoever you are, you're certainly not the Judge Ordinary! 1983 Session Cases 138 On 28th September 1982 the Lord Ordinary..ordered the defender to deliver up the child to the pursuer. 1990 Family Law Rep. 7 In the new Divorce Court, under s. 55 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857, and r. 62 of the 1865 Rules, applications for a new trial or rehearing were to be made to the Judge Ordinary.
2. a. Belonging to the regular or usual order or course of things; having a place in a fixed or regulated sequence; occurring in the course of regular custom or practice; normal; customary; usual.

?a1425 1577
a1500 1657
1612 1756 1875 1991

?a1425 tr. Guy de Chauliac Grande Chirurgie (N.Y. Acad. Med.) f. 25, Ouer at in flegmone often tymez come yuel accidentz which peruerte & chaunge e ordinarie [?c1425 Paris ordynate; L. ordinariam] cure, as is grete akyng when it is in a sensible membre. a1475 J. FORTESCUE Governance of Eng. (Laud) (1885) 120 Ordinance ffor the kynges ordinarie charges. a1500 tr. A. Chartier Traité de l'Esperance (Rawl.) 122 His iustice is thyne ordenary iuge, but His mercy He made a party. 1577 W. HARRISON Descr. Eng. (1877) II. vi. I. 148 The servants haue their ordinarie diet assigned. 1612 BACON Ess. (rev. ed.) 84 God never wrought myracle to convince Atheists, because his ordinary works convince them. 1657 R. LIGON True Hist. Barbados 4 Her ordinary flying..is commonly more free then the best Haggard Faulcon. 1756 C. LUCAS Ess. Waters I. 145 It proves a very useful, good water for the ordinary purposes of families. 1875 W. S. JEVONS Money (1878) 250 In ordinary life we use a great many words with a total disregard of logical precision. 1929 R. HUGHES High Wind in Jamaica i. 2 The sort of scene which makes a deep impression on the mind; far deeper than the ordinary, less romantic, everyday thing. 1991 J. CHANG Wild Swans (1993) viii. 203 Instead of the ordinary army cap which everyone else was wearing he wore an old eight-cornered cap..which struck the locals as unusual and rather stylish.
b. Of officials, persons employed, etc.: belonging to the regular staff or to the fully recognized class of such. Cf. EXTRAORDINARY adj. 2. Obs.
The sense is now usually represented by in ordinary: see in ordinary at ORDINARY n. Phrases 2.

[1508] 1621 1737

[1508 W. DUNBAR Ballade of Barnard Stewart in Poems (1998) 177 (heading) Consaloure and chamerlane ordinare to..Loys, king of France.] 1524 Begynnynge Ordre Knyghtes Hospytallers sig. E.11, Two ordynary ambassadours were chosen for them, one Nycholas Uergoty, and the other Piero of saynt Cretyce. 1555 W. WATERMAN tr. J. Boemus Fardle of Facions II. x. 231 The Emperour..neuer speaketh to any foreine ambassadours,..excepte bothe thei and their giftes..bee purified by the ordenarie women. 1577 R. HOLINSHED Chron. II. 1771/2 There were in the towne of Calais fiue hundred English souldiours ordinarie... And of the townesmen not fully two hundred fighting men. 1592 R. GREENE Disput. Conny-catcher sig. D2, I was an ordinary dauncer. 1621 R. BURTON Anat. Melancholy I. II. III. vi. 135 A graue and learned Minister, and an ordinary Preacher at Alcmar in Holland. 1737 J. CHAMBERLAYNE Present State Great Brit. II. III. 117 Military Branch of the Ordnance..Engineer-Ordinary, Joseph Day.
c. more than ordinary: (a) more in number or amount than usual; (b) (with adjective or noun) unusual; exceptional, to a greater degree than is usual; (also used adverbially) unusually, exceptionally (now rare).
Formerly also greater (also better, worse, etc.) than ordinary.

1560 1670
1606 1747
a1704 1880
1852 1948
1909 2002

1560 J. DAUS tr. J. Sleidane Commentaries f. cccxxxixv, He that taketh yerely of his subiectes more than ordinarye, iii. C. M. Ducates. 1589 G. PUTTENHAM Arte Eng. Poesie III. xx. 215 Surplusage..lieth not only in a word or two more than ordinary, but in whole clauses. 1606 J. HIND Eliosto Libidinoso II. 85 sig. M3, Eliostoes..more than ordinarie obseruation of dutie. 1644 MILTON Areopagitica 22 Though a licencer should happ'n to be judicious more then ordnary. 1670 J. EACHARD Grounds Contempt of Clergy 122 The Clouds being more than ordinary thick. a1704 J. LOCKE Two Treat. Govt. (ed. 2) I. §107 This designation of the person our author is more than ordinary obliged to take care of. 1747 S. RICHARDSON Clarissa I. ii. 10 When she aim'd to be worse-temper'd than ordinary. 1852 H. B. STOWE Uncle Tom's Cabin xix. 197 If Eva, now, was not more angel than ordinary, she would be ruined. 1880 F. H. BURNETT in Scribner's Monthly Feb. 518/2 Miss Ferrol became aware..that Louisiana was regarding her with more than ordinary interest. 1909 Westm. Gaz. 9 Mar. 4/1 A hydroplane boat having more than ordinary pretensions to speed. 1948 G. D. H. BELL Cultivated Plants of Farm x. 80 Its [sc. the wild oat's] reputation as a weed of more than ordinary powers. 2002 Cathedral Music Oct. 41/2 Its specification..being of more than ordinary excellence, with its pedal having unusual amplitude and completeness.
d. Of language, usage, discourse, etc.: that most commonly found or attested; everyday, non-technical, spec. as contrasted with specialized terminology or (Philos.) logical symbolism.

1685 1874
1828 1990

1685 tr. P. Nicole & A. Arnauld Logic II. x. 221 As when I say, All Men have two Arms. This Proposition ought to pass for true, according to ordinary use [Fr. l'usage ordinaire]. 1690 J. LOCKE Ess. Humane Understanding II. xxi. 121 Philosophy it self,..must have so much Complacency, as to be cloathed in the ordinary Fashion and Language of the Country. 1828 J. S. MILL in Westm. Rev. 9 145 Arranging all these propositions in that order, which (so strongly does ordinary language corroborate our view of the case) is termed their logical order. 1843 J. S. MILL Syst. Logic I. I. i. 25 We must begin by recognising the distinctions made by ordinary language. 1874 W. WALLACE Logic of Hegel 43 The deeper and philosophical meaning of truth can be partially traced even in the expressions of ordinary language. 1902 W. JAMES Varieties Relig. Experience ii. 36 Trifling, sneering attitudes even towards the whole of life... It would strain the ordinary use of language too much to call such attitudes religious. 1906 B. RUSSELL in Mind 15 256 One of the objects to be aimed at in using symbols is that they should be free from the ambiguities of ordinary language. 1932 H. H. PRICE Perception viii. 256 We also stick to common sense and the ordinary usage of language. 1949 Mind 63 147 The redefinitions which are implicit in philosophical paradoxes do quite often..receive a certain backing from ordinary usage. 1951 J. HOLLOWAY Lang. & Intell. viii. 123 Ordinary language is the language of persons unacquainted even with the idea of conforming to a dictionary. 1957 J. PASSMORE 100 Years Philos. xviii. 438 Not all ex-students of Wittgenstein look with kindness on the ‘ordinary language’ philosophies which have latterly dominated the philosophical scene at Oxford. 1990 D. ZOHAR Quantum Self ii. 9 Throughout this book I shall be trying to express the concepts of quantum theory in ordinary language and in terms of the everyday.
3. Conformable to order or rule; regular; orderly; methodical. Obs.

c1475 1555
1529 1639

c1475 tr. C. de Pisan Livre du Corps de Policie 100 It is syttyng to a prynce that he be experte in fayir langage sette by grete wysedomes and ordinary reasons [Fr. ordonneement dire ses raisons]. 1529 T. MORE Dialogue Heresyes II, in Wks. 183/2 Yf it were thus, God hadde lefte none ordinarye waye for his ghospell and fayth to be taught. 1555 W. WATERMAN tr. Josephus in tr. J. Boemus Fardle of Facions App. 314 Those [lawes] that he left written by piecemeale..we haue framed toguether into one ordenarie treatise. 1638 R. BAKER tr. J. L. G. de Balzac New Epist. II. 37 Stay your selfe within the bounds of ordinary justice. 1639 J. W. tr. P. Guibert Charitable Physitian (title-page), The advice of the best and ordinariest physitians.
4. Chiefly of a person: not distinguished by rank or position; of low social position; relating to, or characteristic of, the common people; common, vulgar; unrefined, low, coarse. In later use derogatory. Now U.S. regional and Caribbean.
In American English this sense is now often expressed by the spelling ornery: see ORNERY adj.

a1586 1659
1620 1741
1722 1800 1996

a1586 SIR P. SIDNEY Arcadia (1590) III. ii. sig. Kk3v, Any ordinary person (borne of the mud of the people). 1620 tr. Boccaccio Decameron I. V. ix. f. 206v, I thought it a part of my bounden dutie, to entertaine you with such exquisite viands, as my poore power could any way compas, and farre beyond respect or welcome, to other common and ordinarie persons. 1659 J. PEARSON Expos. Creed (1839) 117 The ordinary Jews had lost the exact understanding of the old Hebrew language. 1722 D. DEFOE Jrnl. Plague Year 79 Expressions, such, as..even the worst and ordinariest People in the Street would not use. 1741 LD. CHESTERFIELD Let. 6 Aug. (1932) (modernized text) II. 464 To speak of Mr. What-d'ye-call-him, or Mrs. Thingum,..is excessively awkward and ordinary. 1800 Aurora (Philadelphia) 1 May 2/3 This ordinary drunken wretch is supposed to be the perpetrator. a1968 in Dict. Amer. Regional Eng. (1996) (at cited word), No-good son-of-a-*****, ordinary son-of-a-*****. 1996 R. ALLSOPP Dict. Caribbean Eng. Usage (at cited word), Ordinary, unrefined in behaviour; carelessly crude.
5. a. Of the usual kind; such as is usually experienced; not singular or exceptional. Often in depreciatory use: not above, or somewhat below, the usual level of quality; commonplace, mundane; (of a person) undistinguished in appearance, plain.

1590 1661
1607 1755
1710 1879
1826 1992

1590 E. WEBBE Rare & Wonderfull Things (Arb.) 18 We were set to wipe the feet of the kings horses, and to become ordinarie slaues in the said Court. 1607 E. TOPSELL Hist. Fovre-footed Beastes 281 A common name for ordinary Hackney-horsses. 1661 G. RUST Let. conc. Origen in Phenix (1721) I. 81 They were Men of ordinary Intellectuals. 1710 T. HEARNE Remarks & Coll. (1889) III. 52 His Books are very mean and ordinary. 1752 D. HUME Ess. (1788) I. i. 20 The most ordinary machine is sufficient to tell the hours, but the most elaborate alone can point out the minutes and seconds. 1755 JOHNSON Dict. Eng. Lang., Ordinary..Ugly; not handsome: as she is an ordinary woman. 1826 M. M. SHERWOOD Lady of Manor IV. xx. 146 Lady Anne was..remarkable for her ordinary appearance, her person being clumsy, and her face spoiled by the small-pox. 1847 C. BRONTË Jane Eyre I. v. 73 Miss Miller was more ordinary; ruddy in complexion. 1879 Paper & Print. Trades Jrnl. No. 29. 5 The get-up and printing of both works being of the most ordinary character. 1937 Textile Mercury & Argus 17 Sept. 282/3 Mirzapur rugs..prior to about 1870..were of a very fine texture and colouring..but since then they have become very ordinary. 1992 G. STEINEM Revolution from Within V. iii. 227 A plumb brunette from Toledo,..with looks that might be pretty-on-a-good-day but were mostly very ordinary.
b. Of people: typical of the population or a particular group; average; without exceptional experience, knowledge, etc.; normal.

1597 1651
1607 1793
1705 1855
1807 1994

1597 C. MIDDLETON Chinon of Eng. xi. 84 By her power..incloses him within the clift of a Rocke, against which she rouled vp a mightie stone, such as the force of manie ordinarie men was not able to remooue. 1607 F. BEAUMONT Woman Hater II. i. sig. C4v, You must not talke to him, as you do to an ordinary man, honest plaine sence; but you must winde about him. 1651 BP. J. TAYLOR Clerus Domini iii. 17 An ordinary gift cannot sublime an ordinary person to a supernaturall imployment. 1705 tr. A. Dacier in tr. Aristotle Art of Poetry xiii. 209 A King, who has given himself over to Ambition, Fear, Hatred, Revenge, and falls into great Misfortunes, deserves pity; much more he, who is but an ordinary Man, should curb those Passions for fear they should plunge him into the same misery. 1793 E. BURKE Corr. (1844) IV. 199 It is not permitted to Sir Gilbert Elliot to be an ordinary man; neither his nature nor the times will suffer it. 1807 WORDSWORTH Resolution & Independence in Poems I. 95 Choice word, and measured phrase; above the reach Of ordinary men. 1855 ‘G. ELIOT’ Let. 12 May (1954) II. 201, I really think a taste for descriptive writing is the rarest of all tastes among ordinary people. 1903 G. B. SHAW Man & Superman III. 76 But I am well aware that the ordinary man..is not a philosopher. 1975 T. HEALD Deadline ii. 19 The Globe..made its appeal to ‘the man in the street’. Leader writers were instructed..to spice their texts with frequent references to ‘ordinary folk’. 1994 Vox July 101/1 The ordinary American Joe..is nowhere near as wired and alienated as the protagonist of ‘Once In A Lifetime’.
c. Stock Market. Of shares, stock, etc.: forming part of the common stock and entitling holders to a dividend from net profits. Also: designating shareholders holding such stock.

1866 1987

1866 Jrnl. Statist. Soc. 29 558 The following table shows..the dividends paid on ordinary stock in the above great companies. 1869 Bradshaw's Railway Man. XXI. 42 An obligation..to pay to the ordinary shareholders a dividend..at the rate of 2 per cent. 1891 Law Rep., Weekly Notes 68/2 The company had been most successful..paying a very large dividend on the ordinary shares. 1955 Times 1 July 16/5 The balance-sheet shows the increase in ordinary share capital arising from this capitalization and the manner in which the reserves have been applied. 1987 M. BRETT How to read Financial Pages i. 19 A company may raise money by creating new ordinary shares and selling them for cash.
6. a. Of common occurrence; frequent; abundant. Obs.

1594 1675
1600 1725

1594 2nd Rep. Dr. Faustus xxi. sig. H1, This caparison of pure cloth of gold, whereon the rich stones were so ordinary that they tooke away the glittering of the metall. 1600 SHAKESPEARE Henry IV, Pt. 2 IV. iii. 115 Be patient princes, you do know these fits Are with his highnesse very ordinary. 1649 Cullen Kirk Session Rec. 20 May in Dict. Older Sc. Tongue (1983) V. 126/1 Delait to be ordinarie breakers of the Sabboth. 1675 tr. W. Camden Hist. Princess Elizabeth (ed. 3) III. 324 Tobacco-Shops are now as ordinary in most Towns as Tap-houses and Taverns. 1725 H. SLOANE Voy. Islands II. 323 These are very ordinary here, but thrive not..for want of water.
b. Normally found or experienced; common, customary, usual. Chiefly in predicative use, in it is ordinary (with a person to do something, etc.); (also) it is an ordinary thing (for a person to do something, etc.). Now rare.

1605 1794
1709 1876
1864 1966

1605 BACON Of Aduancem. Learning I. sig. C1v, It hath beene ordinarie with politique men to extenuate and disable learned men by the names of Pedantes. 1624 R. BURTON Anat. Melancholy (ed. 2) III. III. II. 477 It is an ordinary thing for women in such cases, to scrat the faces..of such as they suspect. 1670 R. BAXTER Cure Church-div. 167 It is very ordinary with poor fanciful women..to take all their deep apprehensions for revelations. 1709 R. STEELE Tatler No. 27. 6 It is ordinary for Love to make Men Poetical. 1794 W. PALEY View Evidences Christianity I. I. v. 121 This proves that a morality, more pure and strict than was ordinary, prevailed..in Christian societies. 1864 W. W. BROWN Clotelle iv. 14 To behold five or six tables in the saloon of a steamer, with half a dozen men playing cards at each, with money, pistols, and bowie-knives,..is an ordinary thing on the Mississippi River. 1876 ‘G. ELIOT’ Daniel Deronda I. II. xvii. 349, I wish I had any other garment than my coat to offer you. But shall you mind throwing it over your shoulders while we are on the water? It is quite an ordinary thing to do, when people return late and are not enough provided with wraps. 1915 V. WOOLF Voy. Out i, Mrs. Ambrose understood that after all it is the ordinary thing to be poor, and that London is the city of innumerable poor people. 1966 D. WAKOSKI Discrepancies & Apparitions 80 All of this about rain and sun should relate to love because they are all so ordinary and it is ordinary for poets to make comparisons like this.
B. adv. Ordinarily; in an ordinary manner; according to, or as a matter of, regular practice; in ordinary cases; commonly. Now rare (colloq. or humorous).

1614 1798 1987

1614 T. DANETT tr. P. de Commines Hist. 24 My selfe was resident there,..being lodged at the Tournelles, and ordinary [1596 ordinarily; Fr. ordinairement] eating and lodging in the Court. 1659 Kirk Session Rec. Dunfermline 54 All those who have bein ordinarie or continuall absent fra catechising, shall be cited. 1697 tr. C'tess D'Aunoy's Trav. (1706) 56 Their Sword oftentimes hangs by their side tied with a bit of Cord, and ordinary without a Scabbard. 1798 Invasion I. 276 When you are quite ordinary dressed, so that no one could guess you for ladies. 1987 M. BECKETT Give them Stones xvi. 118 A whole lot of them talk Irish... They don't talk ordinary like us.

C1. ordinary-looking adj.

1798 1891 1991

1798 J. BAILLIE Tryal II. ii. in Plays Stronger Passions I. 222 Ah no! it cannot be! I am but an *ordinary looking girl, as my uncle says. 1891 W. C. RUSSELL Curatica 2 That other young man, who..had a turned-up nose, and was quite ordinary looking. 1991 R. DOYLE Van (1992) 63 He had two of them, two razors, the jammy bastard; an ordinary-looking one and a thin yellow one that didn't look like it could've been much good.
ordinary-sized adj.

1820 1990

1820 Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) 110 168 The number of larger than *ordinary sized full grown fungi was greater in the newly formed sediment. 1909 Westm. Gaz. 28 Sept. 3/3 The ‘New Idea’ exemplified in these houses, into which ordinary-sized people cannot get their ordinary-sized furniture. 1990 Opera Now May 73/4 The plucked string department is furnished with two chitarrone,..a five-course guitar..and an ordinary-sized lute.
C2. ordinary grade n. Sc. Educ. = O GRADE n.


1959 (title) Report of the working party on the curriculum of the senior secondary school. Introduction of the *ordinary grade of the Scottish Leaving Certificate. 1991 Univ. of Ulster Undergraduate Prospectus 1992 (BNC) 52 A Scottish Certificate of Education with the following grades..either band A, B or C in two subjects at the Standard grade or grades 1, 2 or 3 in two subjects at the Ordinary grade.
ordinary level n. Educ. (now hist.) the lowest of the three levels of examination in the General Certificate of Education in England, Wales (and other countries following the English system) usually taken by pupils at the age of 16, and replaced in 1988 by the General Certificate of Secondary Education; abbreviation O level (see O LEVEL n.).


1947 Examinations Secondary Schools (Secondary Schools Exam. Council) 8 An examination at ‘*Ordinary’, ‘Advanced’ and ‘Scholarship’ levels should be available each year to candidates who are at least sixteen on Sept. 1st. 1963 H. C. BARNARD & J. A. LAUWERYS Handbk. Brit. Educ. Terms 99 In 1951 the School and Higher School Certificate examinations in secondary schools were replaced by a General Certificate of Education..examination at three levelsordinary, advanced, and scholarship. 1989 Daily Nation (Nairobi) 26 July 16/6 The school has three streams. In 1975, a herambee stream for Ordinary level classes was introduced.
ordinary ray n. Optics (in double refraction) the ray which obeys the normal laws of refraction (cf. extraordinary ray at EXTRAORDINARY adj. 1d).

1831 1993

1831 D. BREWSTER Treat. Optics xvii. §90. 146 The ray..is refracted according to the ordinary law of refraction..[and] is therefore called the *ordinary ray. 1953 S. F. MASON Hist. Sci. xviii. 167 The ordinary and extraordinary rays were interconverted when the crystals were placed at right angles. 1993 Paleobiology 19 294/2 Because the calcite is birefringent, off-axis light impinging on the cornea could have resulted in a double image formation, one formed by the extraordinary rays (e-rays) and one formed by the ordinary rays (o-rays).
ordinary seaman n. Naut. a sailor of the lowest grade, ranking below an able seaman; abbreviation O.S. (see O n.1 Initialisms 1).

1702 1825 1916 2001

1702 Proclam. 1 June in London Gaz. No. 3815/2, To..Able Seamen, *Ordinary Seamen, Two Eighth Parts. 1825 G. JONES Let. 31 Oct. in Sketches Naval Life (1829) I. 47 The second class receives two dollars less, and includes what are denominated ordinary seamen, men accustomed to salt water, but not so expert as the former. 1916 Polit. Sci. Q. 31 35 In April the Atlantic division of the International Seamen's Union set up a new scale of wages, amounting in the case of ordinary seamen to 50 per cent. 2001 Navy News Sept. 18/6 I've got people who joined as ordinary seamen who've gone on to command the Navy's destroyers as captains.
ordinary time n. (a) Mil. a pace of marching slower than double time; spec. (in Britain) a speed of 75 paces per minute (cf. slow time n. at SLOW adj. 11b); (in the United States) a speed of 110 paces per minute (obs.); (b) Christian Church (also with capital initials) the parts of the liturgical year that do not fall in one of the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, or Easter.

1792 1861 1975 2002

1792 Rules & Regulations Cavalry I. 23 The word March, given singly, at all times denotes that *ordinary time is to be taken. 1861 W. H. FRENCH et al. Instr. Field Artillery IV. i. 216 [No.] 354. The movements directed in the exercise for several detachments, may be made in double quick time, and the ordinary time resumed according to the principles of No. 61. 1975 Weekday Missal 342 (heading) Masses for weekdays. Ordinary time of the year. 2002 Church Times 25 Jan. 5/3 Comment is..being requested on the..printing-out of each office in full for each day of the week in Ordinary Time, and for each season of the year.
ordinary wine n. rare = VIN ORDINAIRE n.

1806 1989

1806 J. PINKERTON Recoll. Paris II. vi. 102 Upon the appearance of the roti, the *ordinary wine is changed for the richer kinds of Burgundy or Bordeaux. 1860 DICKENS Uncommerc. Traveller in All Year Round 7 Apr. 558/1, I was in the dear old France of my affections. I should have known it, without the well-remembered bottle of rough ordinary wine. 1989 Jrnl. Interdisciplinary Hist. 20 151 Ten hectares is considered..medium for vineyards providing grapes for ordinary wine, and large for the fine vineyards of Burgundy, Champagne and Alsace.

Dr. Bob Gonzales

Puritan Board Junior
I appreciate the good intentions behind giving me all the entries for "ordinary" from the OED, but I'm not sure I need all that. What I'd prefer is some citations from various contexts where the phrase "ordinary means of grace" is used that shed light on the precise usage of "ordinary" in those contexts.


Staff member
This was my initial thought:
customary; usual; normal
I believe this is the meaning intended. God has used extraordinary means like his guidance of Israel, the incarnation and so forth. Ordinary means are just that, the normal ways God meets with his people and sustains them.

Since I had Mr. Berkhof's Systematics out, I looked for his viewpoint. He doesn't seem to use the "ordinary" term, but his discussion of the sacraments offer insight. (From pg 618, 1996 edition.) He states that the protestant view is that the sacraments are "not absolutely necessary unto salvation, but are obligatory in view of the divine precept." That made me think that we have the extraordinary means of grace that brings salvation to an individual, then the ordinary means of sustaining that faith through the sacraments and the Word. In his introduction to this section (pg 604) he recognizes that "means of grace" does not appear as a word in the scriptures, but maintains that the means are indicated in the Bible.


Puritanboard Commissioner
You may find helpful a search of the use of the term "ordinary" in the Westminster Standards. The context can be helpful in understanding the meaning of the term.

A PDF search of the term in the Westminster Confession yields about 8 references, and includes "extraordinary."

I understand the term, "ordinary means of grace" to be referring to the common, prescribed ways God has appointed to strengthen the faith of His People.

Those are primarily rightly teaching and hearing His Word, and through the sacraments.

That means that taking the Lord's Supper, in the reformed understanding, is more than a "memorial" (though it does certainly remember Christ's finished work). Christ is spiritually present during the sacrament in a way that actually extends real grace (unmerited favor) toward the believer. It really strengthens His faith.

This is something I have become more aware of the past couple years, that taking the Lord's Supper really, in a tangible way, helps strengthen our faith.

Usually, as I understand it, the term "extraordinary" means the unusual. It connotes the very unusual, and often would mean a miracle. That is, God suspending the ordinary.

I really like the Westminster Confession summary of miracle.

Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter V
Of Providence

I. God the great Creator of all things does uphold,96 direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and
things,97 from the greatest even to the least,98 by His most wise and holy providence,99 according to His
infallible foreknowledge,100 and the free and immutable counsel of His own will,101 to the praise of the glory
of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.102

II. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass
immutably, and infallibly;103 yet, by the same providence, He orders them to fall out, according to the nature
of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.10

III. God, in His ordinary providence, makes use of means,105 yet is free to work without,106 above,107 and
against them,108 at His pleasure.

This is particularly helpful because it establishes the importance of the Word and sacraments in the everyday life of the believer, but also allows for the miracles that we know a Creator God can do, because we know He is not, cannot even be, limited by anything He has created.

Dr. Bob Gonzales

Puritan Board Junior

Thanks for all the helpful input and references. I suspected that the term "ordinary" when used of "the ordinary means of grace" meant something like what would be distinguished from "extraordinary," i.e., the normal, common, or usual means vs. the uncommon or unusual means. But I had also wondered whether the usage related to "official" had any bearing, i.e., the official or office-related means of grace as opposed to the non-official, non-office-related means of grace. Once again, I appreciate all the helpful input.

Please feel free to offer more citations or references to works that use the phrase or address the significance of its usage in Reformed and Puritan literature.


Puritanboard Commissioner
Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter XXV
Of the Church

I. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that
have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the
fulness of Him that fills all in all.489

II. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as
before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion;490 and of their
children:491 and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,492 the house and family of God,493 out of which
there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.494

I don't see it used in the Confession in terms of "office" (as in officeholder) other than perhaps indirectly referring to Christ's role as prophet, priest, and King. Nor in terms of being "official." It's more in terms of usual, common way of something.

Add to that idea, that God ordains everything that comes to pass, and certainly the ordinary means of grace by which the faith of believers is strengthened (e.g. Word, and Sacrament)

Within the church (visible), is the ordinary, general place of salvation.
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