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

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British Dictionary definitions for orchestration


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 orchestration

1840, from French orchestration or else a native noun of action from 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