[ awr-deyn ]
See synonyms for: ordainordained on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object)
  1. to invest with ministerial, priestly, or rabbinical functions.

  2. to enact or establish by law, edict, etc.: to ordain a new type of government.

  1. to decree; give orders for: He ordained that the restrictions were to be lifted.

  2. (of God, fate, etc.) to destine or predestine: Fate had ordained the meeting.

verb (used without object)
  1. to order or command: Thus do the gods ordain.

  2. to select for or appoint to an office.

  1. to invest someone with sacerdotal functions.

Origin of ordain

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English ordeinen, from Old French ordener, from Latin ordināre “to order, arrange, appoint”; see ordination

Other words for ordain

Other words from ordain

  • or·dain·a·ble, adjective
  • or·dain·er, noun
  • or·dain·ment, noun
  • re·or·dain, verb (used with object)
  • self-or·dain·er, noun
  • su·per·or·dain, verb (used without object)
  • un·or·dain·a·ble, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ordain in a sentence

  • Its communication or ordainment might be ascribed to a God or a divine King.

  • The prince gave ear to the argument from pre-ordainment, and as she was a very lovely maiden he took her too in lawful marriage.

    The Brown Fairy Book | Andrew Lang

British Dictionary definitions for ordain


/ (ɔːˈdeɪn) /

  1. to consecrate (someone) as a priest; confer holy orders upon

  2. (may take a clause as object) to decree, appoint, or predestine irrevocably

  1. (may take a clause as object) to order, establish, or enact with authority

  2. obsolete to select for an office

Origin of ordain

C13: from Anglo-Norman ordeiner, from Late Latin ordināre, from Latin ordo order

Derived forms of ordain

  • ordainer, noun
  • ordainment, 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