Typical actually means "of a particular type" but that particular type may not be difficult. What do you people think?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Hot Licks, bookmanu, TimLymington, sumelic, Scott Sep 22 '18 at 4:38

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    Could you please provide more context, or an example? – Jon Purdy Feb 11 '11 at 4:12
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    @JonPurdy, I'm guessing that it's something like "Oh, that's just typical!", which as @Tom suggests is an expression of dissatisfaction rather than difficulty. – Benjol Feb 11 '11 at 7:09

Typical does not mean difficult. If something — a task, say, like icing a cake — is usually easy, it would be typical for it to be easy. Difficult, however, would never mean easy.

Typical means  

having the distinctive qualities of a particular type of person or thing

Those qualities might be difficulty, easiness, awkwardness, oddness, friendliness, whatever: the point is, they would be representative of a type.


No, they don't mean the same thing.

People may however use "typical" to express dissatisfaction with something. For example:

"Typical Jim, he's always late"


"Typical, I knew I was going to fall into that cake, my day is ruined".

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    Note that this is still related to typical, in that it generally means "That person (even myself) has once again done something annoying/bad, something that is typical of them". (It is especially annoying when someone does something and you 'know' in advance they're going to do it, and they do it anyway!) – Benjol Feb 11 '11 at 7:11

As others have mentioned, "typical" does not mean "difficult". There are no common English idioms where this is the case, either.

But I wonder if the people who "usually" use this word are not actually just mispronouncing "difficult". Or possibly you are mis-hearing "difficult" as "typical". There are some common consonant mutations involved d --> t, f --> p, possibly elision of the final "t". I once had Tibetan Buddhist monk as a teacher, and I can imagine him pronouncing "difficult" this way.

  • I remember the newsstand vendor who used to say "eighty pie" when I bought something that cost $0.85. – phoog Dec 16 '15 at 18:07

I find that the word typical makes it seem like you're being characterized into a position that may not be true. A false perception.

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