(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.
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Origin of holy orders
Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for holy orders
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