verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

to give an order or issue orders: I wish to order, but the waiter is busy.


    a tall order, a very difficult or formidable task, requirement, or demand: Getting the crop harvested with so few hands to help was a tall order.Also a large order.
    call to order, to begin (a meeting): The meeting was called to order at 3 o'clock.
    in order,
    1. fitting; appropriate: It appears that an apology is in order.
    2. in a state of proper arrangement, preparation, or readiness: Everything is in order for the departure.
    3. correct according to the rules of parliamentary procedure: Questions from the floor are now in order.
    in order that, so that; to the end that: We ought to leave early in order that we may not miss the train.
    in order to, as a means to; with the purpose of: She worked summers in order to save money for college.
    in short order, with promptness or speed; rapidly: The merchandise arrived in short order.
    on order, ordered but not yet received: We're out of stock in that item, but it's on order.
    on the order of,
    1. resembling to some extent; like: I would like a dress on the order of the one in the window.
    2. approximately; about: On the order of 100,000 people attended the rally.
    out of order,
    1. inappropriate; unsuitable: His remark was certainly out of order.
    2. not operating properly; in disrepair: The air conditioner is out of order again.
    3. incorrect according to the rules of parliamentary procedure: The chairwoman told him that he was out of order.
    to order, according to one's individual requirements or instructions: a suit made to order; carpeting cut to order.

Origin of order

1175–1225; Middle English ordre (noun), ordren (v., derivative of the noun) < Old French ordre (noun) < Latin ordin- (stem of ordō) row, rank, regular arrangement
Related formsor·der·a·ble, adjectiveor·der·er, nounor·der·less, adjectivecoun·ter·or·der, noun, verbmis·or·der, verbpre·or·der, nounun·or·der·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for order

Synonym study

37. See direct.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for orders

Contemporary Examples of orders

Historical Examples of orders

  • The captain moved among them, and his orders were obeyed, but not with alacrity.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • They called him a King or a prince and obeyed his orders for their own common benefit.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • In severe obedience to orders, therefore, he did not even now call.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • And a good many of the orders given to it are not obeyed after all.

  • Hotspur interrupts her by calling the servant and giving him orders.

British Dictionary definitions for orders


pl n

short for holy orders
in holy orders or in orders ordained
take holy orders or take orders to become ordained



a state in which all components or elements are arranged logically, comprehensibly, or naturally
an arrangement or disposition of things in succession; sequencealphabetical order
an established or customary method or state, esp of society
a peaceful or harmonious condition of societyorder reigned in the streets
(often plural) a class, rank, or hierarchythe lower orders
biology any of the taxonomic groups into which a class is divided and which contains one or more families. Carnivora, Primates, and Rodentia are three orders of the class Mammalia
an instruction that must be obeyed; command
a decision or direction of a court or judge entered on the court record but not included in the final judgment
  1. a commission or instruction to produce or supply something in return for payment
  2. the commodity produced or supplied
  3. (as modifier)order form
a procedure followed by an assembly, meeting, etc
(capital when part of a name) a body of people united in a particular aim or purpose
Also called: religious order (usually capital) a group of persons who bind themselves by vows in order to devote themselves to the pursuit of religious aims
history a society of knights constituted as a fraternity, such as the Knights Templars
  1. a group of people holding a specific honour for service or merit, conferred on them by a sovereign or state
  2. the insignia of such a group
  1. any of the five major classical styles of architecture classified by the style of columns and entablatures usedSee also Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Tuscan, composite (def. 4)
  2. any style of architecture
  1. the sacrament by which bishops, priests, etc, have their offices conferred upon them
  2. any of the degrees into which the ministry is divided
  3. the office of an ordained Christian minister
a form of Christian Church service prescribed to be used on specific occasions
Judaism one of the six sections of the Mishna or the corresponding tractates of the Talmud
  1. the number of times a function must be differentiated to obtain a given derivative
  2. the order of the highest derivative in a differential equation
  3. the number of rows or columns in a determinant or square matrix
  4. the number of members of a finite group
the order military the dress, equipment, or formation directed for a particular purpose or undertakingdrill order; battle order
a tall order something difficult, demanding, or exacting
in order
  1. in sequence
  2. properly arranged
  3. appropriate or fitting
in order to (preposition; foll by an infinitive) so that it is possible toto eat in order to live
in order that (conjunction) with the purpose that; so that
keep order to maintain or enforce order
of the order of or in the order of having an approximately specified size or quantity
on order having been ordered or commissioned but not having been delivered
out of order
  1. not in sequence
  2. not working
  3. not following the rules or customary procedure
to order
  1. according to a buyer's specifications
  2. on request or demand


(tr) to give a command to (a person or animal to do or be something)
to request (something) to be supplied or made, esp in return for paymenthe ordered a hamburger
(tr) to instruct or command to move, go, etc (to a specified place)they ordered her into the house
(tr; may take a clause as object) to authorize; prescribethe doctor ordered a strict diet
(tr) to arrange, regulate, or dispose (articles) in their proper places
(of fate or the gods) to will; ordain
(tr) rare to ordain


an exclamation of protest against an infringement of established procedure
an exclamation demanding that orderly behaviour be restored
See also orders
Derived Formsorderer, nounorderless, adjective

Word Origin for order

C13: from Old French ordre, from Latin ordō
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 orders



c.1200, "give order to, to arrange in order," from order (n.). Meaning "to give orders for or to" is from 1540s. Related: Ordered; ordering.



early 13c., "body of persons living under a religious discipline," from Old French ordre "position, estate; rule, regulation; religious order" (11c.), from earlier ordene, from Latin ordinem (nominative ordo) "row, rank, series, arrangement," originally "a row of threads in a loom," from Italic root *ord- "to arrange, arrangement" (cf. ordiri "to begin to weave," e.g. in primordial), of unknown origin.

Meaning "a rank in the (secular) community" is first recorded c.1300; meaning "command, directive" is first recorded 1540s, from the notion of "to keep in order." Military and honorary orders grew our of the fraternities of Crusader knights. Business and commerce sense is attested from 1837. In natural history, as a classification of living things, it is first recorded 1760. Meaning "condition of a community which is under the rule of law" is from late 15c.

Phrase in order to (1650s) preserves etymological notion of "sequence." The word reflects a medieval notion: "a system of parts subject to certain uniform, established ranks or proportions," and was used of everything from architecture to angels. Old English expressed many of the same ideas with endebyrdnes. In short order "without delay" is from 1834, American English; order of battle is from 1769.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for orders




A taxonomic category of organisms ranking above a family and below a class.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for orders



A group of organisms ranking above a family and below a class. See Table at taxonomy.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Culture definitions for orders


In biology, the classification lower than a class and higher than a family. Dogs and cats belong to the order of carnivores; human beings, monkeys, and apes belong to the order of primates. Flies and mosquitoes belong to the same order; so do birch trees and oak trees. (See Linnean classification.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with orders


In addition to the idioms beginning with order

  • order of the day, the
  • order someone about

also see:

  • apple-pie order
  • back order
  • call to order
  • in order
  • in short order
  • just what the doctor ordered
  • law and order
  • made to order
  • marching orders
  • on order
  • on the order of
  • out of order
  • pecking order
  • put one's house in order
  • short order
  • standing orders
  • tall order
  • to order
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.