1. A condition of logical or comprehensible arrangement among the separate elements of a group.
a. A condition of methodical or prescribed arrangement among component parts such that proper functioning or appearance is achieved: checked to see that the shipping department was in order.
b. Condition or state in general: The escalator is in good working order.
a. The established system of social organization: "Every revolution exaggerates the evils of the old order" (C. Wright Mills).
b. A condition in which freedom from disorder or disruption is maintained through respect for established authority: finally restored order in the rebellious provinces.
4. A sequence or arrangement of successive things: changed the order of the files.
5. The prescribed form or customary procedure, as in a meeting or court of law: The bailiff called the court to order.
6. An authoritative indication to be obeyed; a command or direction.
a. A command given by a superior military officer requiring obedience, as in the execution of a task.
b. orders Formal written instructions to report for military duty at a specified time and place.
a. A commission or instruction to buy, sell, or supply something.
b. That which is supplied, bought, or sold.
a. A request made by a customer at a restaurant for a portion of food.
b. The food requested.
10. Law A directive or command of a court.
a. Any of several grades of the Christian ministry: the order of priesthood.
b. often orders The rank of an ordained Christian minister or priest.
c. often orders The sacrament or rite of ordination.
12. Any of the nine grades or choirs of angels.
13. A group of persons living under a religious rule: Order of Saint Benedict.
14. An organization of people united by a common fraternal bond or social aim.
a. A group of people upon whom a government or sovereign has formally conferred honor for unusual service or merit, entitling them to wear a special insignia: the Order of the Garter.
b. The insignia worn by such people.
16. often orders A social class: the lower orders.
17. A class defined by the common attributes of its members; a kind.
18. Degree of quality or importance; rank: poetry of a high order.
a. Any of several styles of classical architecture characterized by the type of column and entablature employed. Of the five generally accepted classical orders, the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders are Greek and the Tuscan and Composite orders are Roman.
b. A style of building: a cathedral of the Gothic order.
20. Biology A taxonomic category of organisms ranking above a family and below a class.
a. The sum of the exponents to which the variables in a term are raised; degree.
b. An indicated number of successive differentiations to be performed.
c. The number of elements in a finite group.
d. The number of rows or columns in a determinant or matrix.
v. or·dered, or·der·ing, or·ders
a. To issue a command or instruction to: ordered the sailors to stow their gear.
b. To direct to proceed as specified: ordered the intruders off the property.
a. To give a command or instruction for: The judge ordered a recount of the ballots.
b. To request to be supplied with: order eggs and bacon for breakfast.
3. To put into a methodical, systematic arrangement: ordered the books on the shelf. See Synonyms at arrange.
4. To predestine; ordain.
To give an order or orders; request that something be done or supplied.
in order that
in order to
For the purpose of.
in short order
With no delay; quickly.
Requested but not yet delivered.
on the order of
1. Of a kind or fashion similar to; like: a house on the order of a mountain lodge.
2. Approximately; about: equipment costing on the order of a million dollars.
According to the buyer's specifications.
[Middle English ordre, from Old French, variant of ordene, from Latin ōrdō, ōrdin-; see ar- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.