See more synonyms for orderly on Thesaurus.com
  1. arranged or disposed in a neat, tidy manner or in a regular sequence: an orderly desk.
  2. observant of or governed by system or method, as persons or the mind.
  3. characterized by or observant of law, rule, or discipline; well-behaved; law-abiding: an orderly assemblage of citizens.
  4. pertaining to or charged with the communication or execution of orders.
  1. methodically; regularly.
  2. according to established order or rule.
noun, plural or·der·lies.
  1. Military. an enlisted soldier assigned to perform various chores for a commanding officer or group of officers.
  2. a hospital attendant having general, nonmedical duties.

Origin of orderly

1470–80 as adv.; 1570–80 as adj.; 1795–1805 as noun; order + -ly
Related formsor·der·li·ness, nounun·or·der·ly, adjective

Synonyms for orderly

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1, 2. Orderly, methodical, systematic characterize that which is neat, in order, and planned. These three words are sometimes used interchangeably. However, orderly emphasizes neatness of arrangement: an orderly array of books. Methodical suggests a logical plan, a definite order of actions or method from beginning to end: a methodical examination. Systematic suggests thoroughness, an extensive and detailed plan, together with regularity of action: a systematic review.

Antonyms for orderly

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for orderlies

Historical Examples of orderlies

  • Orderlies were going about, carrying out linens, emptying pans.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Harris, coming up with the orderlies, found the old negro at his mare's bridle.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • In the morning, one of the colonel's orderlies was told to fetch Lisle.

  • There was straw on the stone floors and two surgeons and some orderlies.

  • Orderlies were not sent out at that hour of the morning unless the cause was pressing.

    Bamboo Tales

    Ira L. Reeves

British Dictionary definitions for orderlies


  1. in order, properly arranged, or tidy
  2. obeying or appreciating method, system, and arrangement
  3. harmonious or peaceful
  4. military of or relating to ordersan orderly book
  1. rare according to custom or rule
noun plural -lies
  1. med a male hospital attendant
  2. military a junior rank detailed to carry orders or perform minor tasks for a more senior officer
Derived Formsorderliness, 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 orderlies



"military attendant who carries orders," 1781, short for orderly corporal, etc. Extended 1809 to an attendant at a hospital (originally a military hospital) charged with keeping things in order and clean. See orderly (adj.).



"arranged in order," 1570s, from order (n.) + -ly (1).



late 15c., "in due order," from order + -ly (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

orderlies in Medicine


  1. An attendant in a hospital.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.