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holy orders

(used with a singular verb) the rite or sacrament of ordination.
(used with a singular verb) the rank or status of an ordained Christian minister.
(used with a plural verb) the major degrees or grades of the Christian ministry.
Origin of holy orders
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for holy orders
Historical Examples
  • Your uncle Malcolm took high honours, and entered into holy orders.

    The Grateful Indian W.H.G. Kingston
  • But what priest should ever have wedded a Sister to man training for holy orders?

    In Convent Walls Emily Sarah Holt
  • His black cassock and scarf showed him to be in holy orders.

    The Maidens' Lodge Emily Sarah Holt
  • Hamilton was merely titular Abbot of Ferne, and was not in holy orders.

  • With the rector, as with too many others, holy orders were but a means to an end.

    Richard Carvel, Complete Winston Churchill
  • His response caused the candidate for holy orders to open his eyes to the widest.

    The Tiger Hunter Mayne Reid
  • I was on my way to the University, to enter into holy orders.

    The Tiger Hunter Mayne Reid
  • There can hardly be two persons of that name, both in holy orders.

    The Lady of Lynn

    Walter Besant
  • Brethren, you are now members of the holy orders of God's priesthood.

  • We are not like an unfortunate clerk in "holy orders," who can be silenced by law.

British Dictionary definitions for holy orders

holy orders

plural noun
the sacrament or rite whereby a person is admitted to the Christian ministry
the grades of the Christian ministry
the rank or status of an ordained Christian minister
See also orders
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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