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[awr-deyn] /ɔrˈdeɪn/
verb (used with object)
to invest with ministerial or sacerdotal functions; confer holy orders upon.
to enact or establish by law, edict, etc.:
to ordain a new type of government.
to decree; give orders for:
He ordained that the restrictions were to be lifted.
(of God, fate, etc.) to destine or predestine:
Fate had ordained the meeting.
verb (used without object)
to order or command:
Thus do the gods ordain.
to select for or appoint to an office.
to invest someone with sacerdotal functions.
Origin of ordain
1250-1300; Middle English ordeinen < Old French ordener < Latin ordināre to order, arrange, appoint. See ordination
Related forms
ordainable, adjective
ordainer, noun
ordainment, noun
reordain, verb (used with object)
self-ordained, adjective
self-ordainer, noun
superordain, verb (used without object)
unordainable, adjective
unordained, adjective
3. order, prescribe, determine. 4. predetermine. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unordained
Historical Examples
  • The parish churches were cleared of their unordained ministers.


    James Anthony Froude
  • The bailiffs of these corporation lands were unordained brothers of the Order.

    The Philippine Islands John Foreman
  • This church has 21 native priests and 158 unordained catechists.

    The Gist of Japan R. B. Peery
  • If He be infinite power, can any circumstance be unordained by Him?

  • And for order sake where that may be had, the unordained are not to be received as pastors.

    A Christian Directory Baxter Richard
  • The Baptists in all this region considered him as their greatest layman and their unordained Bishop.

    Charles Lewis Cocke William Robert Lee Smith
  • Such cures were held in these northern counties by unordained persons, till about the middle of George II.

  • Thus did I, who had been vowed to the anchorite order of St. Augustine, enter upon my life as an unordained anchorite.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for unordained


verb (transitive)
to consecrate (someone) as a priest; confer holy orders upon
(may take a clause as object) to decree, appoint, or predestine irrevocably
(may take a clause as object) to order, establish, or enact with authority
(obsolete) to select for an office
Derived Forms
ordainer, noun
ordainment, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-Norman ordeiner, from Late Latin ordināre, from Latin ordoorder
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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Word Origin and History for unordained



late 13c., "to appoint or admit to the ministry of the Church," from stem of Old French ordener "place in order, arrange, prepare; consecrate, designate" (Modern French ordonner) and directly from Latin ordinare "put in order, arrange, dispose, appoint," from ordo (genitive ordinis) "order" (see order (n.)). The notion is "to confer holy orders upon." Meaning "to decree, enact" is from c.1300; sense of "to set (something) that will continue in a certain order" is from early 14c. Related: Ordained; ordaining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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