c. 1500, "typical, common;" 1640s, "standing at a right angle," from Late Latin normalis "in conformity with rule, normal," from Latin normalis "made according to a carpenter's square," from norma "rule, pattern," literally "carpenter's square," which is of unknown origin (see norm). Meaning "conforming to common standards, usual" is from 1828, but probably older than the record [Barnhart].
As a noun meaning "usual state or condition," from 1890. Sense of "normal person or thing" is from 1894. Normal school (1834) is from French école normale (1794), a republican foundation. The city of Normal, Illinois, U.S., was named 1857 for the normal school established there.
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