verb (used with or without object), or·ches·trat·ed, or·ches·trat·ing.

to compose or arrange (music) for performance by an orchestra.
to arrange or manipulate, especially by means of clever or thorough planning or maneuvering: to orchestrate a profitable trade agreement.

Origin of orchestrate

1875–80; < French orchestr(er) (derivative of orchestre orchestra) + -ate1
Related formsor·ches·tra·tion, nounor·ches·tra·tor, or·ches·trat·er, nouno·ver·or·ches·trate, verb, o·ver·or·ches·trat·ed, o·ver·or·ches·trat·ing.re·or·ches·trate, verb, re·or·ches·trat·ed, re·or·ches·trat·ing.re·or·ches·tra·tion, nounun·or·ches·trat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for orchestrate

Contemporary Examples of orchestrate

  • But that has not prevented the Kremlin from attempting to orchestrate its own narrative of events.

  • Know and select the right instruments of statecraft and orchestrate them to maximum effect.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Essential Spy Guide

    Henry A. Crumpton

    May 2, 2013

  • As if they were all getting together to orchestrate the musical chairs.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Dump Joe Biden? Nah

    Howard Kurtz

    August 16, 2012

  • And he worked to orchestrate more effective collaboration between the military and the intelligence community.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama's Secret Wars

    John Barry

    June 26, 2011

Historical Examples of orchestrate

  • My work with Rimsky-Korsakov consisted of his giving me pieces of classical music to orchestrate.

    An Autobiography

    Igor Stravinsky

  • We agreed that I should orchestrate two parts of the opera and write the final chorus, while he undertook the rest.

    An Autobiography

    Igor Stravinsky

  • He opined that Wagner did not know how to compose nor how to orchestrate; he found the music lacking in warmth.

    Richard Wagner

    John F. Runciman

  • The three remaining movements are very simple, and it will be pleasant and easy to orchestrate them.

  • This is perhaps the reason why it now takes me three days to orchestrate a thing that I could formerly have finished in one.

British Dictionary definitions for orchestrate


verb (tr)

to score or arrange (a piece of music) for orchestra
to arrange, organize, or build up for special or maximum effect
Derived Formsorchestration, nounorchestrator, noun
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

Word Origin and History for orchestrate

"to compose or arrange (music) for an orchestra," 1855, back-formation from orchestration. The figurative sense is attested from 1883. Related: Orchestrated; orchestrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper