1. an authoritative direction or instruction; command; mandate.
  2. a command of a court or judge.
  3. a command or notice issued by a military organization or a military commander to troops, sailors, etc.
  4. the disposition of things following one after another, as in space or time; succession or sequence: The names were listed in alphabetical order.
  5. a condition in which each thing is properly disposed with reference to other things and to its purpose; methodical or harmonious arrangement: You must try to give order to your life.
  6. formal disposition or array: the order of the troops.
  7. proper, satisfactory, or working condition.
  8. state or condition generally: His financial affairs were in good order.
  9. conformity or obedience to law or established authority; absence of disturbance, riot, revolt, unruliness, etc.: A police officer was there to maintain order.
  10. customary mode of procedure; established practice or usage.
  11. the customary or prescribed mode of proceeding in debates or the like, or in the conduct of deliberative or legislative bodies, public meetings, etc.: parliamentary rules of order.
  12. prevailing course or arrangement of things; established system or regime: The old order is changing.
  13. conformity to this.
  14. a direction or commission to make, provide, or furnish something: The salesclerk will take your order.
  15. a quantity of goods or items purchased or sold: The druggist is sending the order right over.
  16. Grammar.
    1. the arrangement of the elements of a construction in a particular sequence, as the placing of John before the verb and of George after it in John saw George.
    2. the hierarchy of grammatical rules applying to a construction.
    3. the rank of immediate constituents.
  17. any of the nine grades of angels in medieval angelology.Compare angel(def 1).
  18. Mathematics.
    1. degree, as in algebra.
    2. the number of rows or columns of a square matrix or determinant.
    3. the number of times a function has been differentiated to produce a given derivative: a second order derivative.
    4. the order of the highest derivative appearing in a given differential equation: d2y/dx2 + 3y (dy/dx) − 6 = 0 is a differential equation of order two.
    5. the number of elements of a given group.
    6. the smallest positive integer such that a given element in a group raised to that integer equals the identity.
    7. the least positive integer n such that permuting a given set n times under a given permutation results in the set in its original form.
  19. any class, kind, or sort, as of persons or things, distinguished from others by nature or character: talents of a high order.
  20. Biology. the usual major subdivision of a class or subclass in the classification of organisms, consisting of several families.
  21. a rank, grade, or class of persons in a community.
  22. a group or body of persons of the same profession, occupation, or pursuits: the clerical order.
  23. a body or society of persons living by common consent under the same religious, moral, or social regulations.
  24. Ecclesiastical. any of the degrees or grades of clerical office.Compare major order, minor order.
  25. a monastic society or fraternity: the Franciscan order.
  26. a written direction to pay money or deliver goods, given by a person legally entitled to dispose of it: delivery order; exchange order.
  27. Architecture.
    1. any arrangement of columns with an entablature.
    2. any of five such arrangements typical of classical architecture, including the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders invented by the Greeks and adapted by the Romans, the Tuscan order, invented by the Romans, and the Composite order, first named during the Renaissance.
    3. any of several concentric rings composing an arch, especially when each projects beyond the one below.
  28. orders, the rank or status of an ordained Christian minister.
  29. Usually orders. the rite or sacrament of ordination.
  30. a prescribed form of divine service or of administration of a rite or ceremony.
  31. the service itself.
  32. the visible structures essential or desirable to the nature of the church, involving especially ministry, polity, and sacraments.
  33. a society or fraternity of knights, of combined military and monastic character, as, in the Middle Ages, the Knights Templars.
  34. a modern organization or society more or less resembling the knightly orders: fraternal orders.
  35. (initial capital letter) British.
    1. a special honor or rank conferred by a sovereign upon a person for distinguished achievement.
    2. the insignia worn by such persons.
  36. Chiefly British. a pass for admission to a theater, museum, or the like.

verb (used with object)

  1. to give an order, direction, or command to: The infantry divisions were ordered to advance.
  2. to direct or command to go or come as specified: to order a person out of one’s house.
  3. to prescribe: The doctor ordered rest for the patient.
  4. to direct to be made, supplied, or furnished: to order a copy of a book.
  5. to regulate, conduct, or manage: to order one’s life for greater leisure.
  6. to arrange methodically or suitably: to order chessmen for a game.
  7. Mathematics. to arrange (the elements of a set) so that if one element precedes another, it cannot be preceded by the other or by elements that the other precedes.
  8. to ordain, as God or fate does.
  9. to invest with clerical rank or authority.

verb (used without object)

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


  1. 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.
  2. call to order, to begin (a meeting): The meeting was called to order at 3 o’clock.
  3. 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.
  4. in order that, so that; to the end that: We ought to leave early in order that we may not miss the train.
  5. in order to, as a means to; with the purpose of: She worked summers in order to save money for college.
  6. in short order, with promptness or speed; rapidly: The merchandise arrived in short order.
  7. on order, ordered but not yet received: We’re out of stock in that item, but it’s on order.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. to order, according to one’s individual requirements or instructions: a suit made to order; carpeting cut to order.


  1. a state in which all components or elements are arranged logically, comprehensibly, or naturally
  2. an arrangement or disposition of things in succession; sequencealphabetical order
  3. an established or customary method or state, esp of society
  4. a peaceful or harmonious condition of societyorder reigned in the streets
  5. (often plural) a class, rank, or hierarchythe lower orders
  6. 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
  7. an instruction that must be obeyed; command
  8. 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
  9. a procedure followed by an assembly, meeting, etc
  10. (capital when part of a name) a body of people united in a particular aim or purpose
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. Christianity
    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
  14. a form of Christian Church service prescribed to be used on specific occasions
  15. Judaism one of the six sections of the Mishna or the corresponding tractates of the Talmud
  16. maths
    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
  17. short for order of magnitude
  18. the order military the dress, equipment, or formation directed for a particular purpose or undertakingdrill order; battle order
  19. a tall order something difficult, demanding, or exacting
  20. in order
    1. in sequence
    2. properly arranged
    3. appropriate or fitting
  21. in order to (preposition; foll by an infinitive) so that it is possible toto eat in order to live
  22. in order that (conjunction) with the purpose that; so that
  23. keep order to maintain or enforce order
  24. of the order of or in the order of having an approximately specified size or quantity
  25. on order having been ordered or commissioned but not having been delivered
  26. out of order
    1. not in sequence
    2. not working
    3. not following the rules or customary procedure
  27. to order
    1. according to a buyer’s specifications
    2. on request or demand


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


  1. an exclamation of protest against an infringement of established procedure
  2. an exclamation demanding that orderly behaviour be restored

v.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. n.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. n.

  1. A taxonomic category of organisms ranking above a family and below a class.

  1. A group of organisms ranking above a family and below a class. See Table at taxonomy.

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.) 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
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