Typical means what you would expect—a typical suburban town has lots of neat little houses and people. Atypical means outside of type—an atypical suburban town might be populated by zombies in damp caves.

Atypical is a synonym of "unusual," but it carries a more objective feel—scientific studies might mention atypical results, suggesting that there is a clear definition of what is typical and what is not. "Unusual" is more of a casual observation that one might make in a non-scientific context.

Definitions of atypical
  1. adjective
    not representative of a group, class, or type
    “a group that is atypical of the target audience”
    “a class of atypical mosses”
    atypical behavior is not the accepted type of response that we expect from children”
    synonyms: untypical
    distinctive and not typical
    abnormal, unnatural
    not normal; not typical or usual or regular or conforming to a norm
    not exemplifying a class
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    exhibiting the qualities or characteristics that identify a group or kind or category
    typical or distinctive
    emblematic, exemplary, typic
    being or serving as an illustration of a type
    serving to represent or typify
    regular, veritable
    often used as intensifiers
    conforming to definitive criteria
    show more antonyms...
  2. adjective
    deviating from normal expectations; somewhat odd, strange, or abnormal
    “these days large families are atypical
    atypical clinical findings”
    atypical pneumonia”
    synonyms: irregular
    abnormal, unnatural
    not normal; not typical or usual or regular or conforming to a norm
Word Family

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