in·​or·​di·​nate in-ˈȯr-də-nət How to pronounce inordinate (audio)
: exceeding reasonable limits : immoderate
archaic : disorderly, unregulated
inordinately adverb
inordinateness noun

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Although today it describes something that exceeds reasonable limits, inordinate used to be applied to what does not conform to the expected or desired order of things. That sense, synonymous with disorderly and unregulated, is no longer in use, but it offers a hint as to the origins of inordinate. The word traces back to the Latin verb ordinare, meaning “to arrange,” combined with the negating prefix in-. Ordinare is also the ancestor of such English words as coordination, ordain, ordination, and subordinate. The Latin root comes from the noun ordo, meaning “order” or “arrangement,” from which the English word order and its derivatives originate.

Choose the Right Synonym for inordinate

excessive, immoderate, inordinate, extravagant, exorbitant, extreme mean going beyond a normal limit.

excessive implies an amount or degree too great to be reasonable or acceptable.

excessive punishment

immoderate implies lack of desirable or necessary restraint.

immoderate spending

inordinate implies an exceeding of the limits dictated by reason or good judgment.

inordinate pride

extravagant implies an indifference to restraints imposed by truth, prudence, or good taste.

extravagant claims for the product

exorbitant implies a departure from accepted standards regarding amount or degree.

exorbitant prices

extreme may imply an approach to the farthest limit possible or conceivable but commonly means only to a notably high degree.

extreme shyness

Examples of inordinate in a Sentence

I waited an inordinate amount of time. They have had an inordinate number of problems with the schedule.
Recent Examples on the Web Digressions on kids’ lullabies and a game involving the names of cities take up an inordinate amount of real estate. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 21 Oct. 2023 Sometimes the arguments against her feel more petty: A member of Harris’s staff remarked on the amount of down time the vice president schedules on trips, which includes an inordinate amount of time dedicated to hair care. Astead W. Herndon, New York Times, 10 Oct. 2023 So don’t be surprised if the waiting rooms of the chiropractors of the American Southwest are filled with an inordinate amount of patients wearing their new souvenir U2 shirts next week. Chris Willman, Variety, 29 Sep. 2023 That outlook feeds the worry among employers that workers will abuse the policy, taking inordinate time off. Jo Constantz,, 13 Aug. 2023 The film’s arcane, nearly non-existent plot is mesmerizing in its near total negation of action, with long and disorienting shots held for inordinate stretches of time adding to the work’s atmospheric suffocation. Colin Scanlon, Redbook, 14 June 2023 Pet owners spend an inordinate amount of time imagining, ascribing, even acting out the behaviors of their animals. Todd Gilchrist, Variety, 17 Aug. 2023 But this summer, Bryant and her organization have received reports of an inordinate number of bears being struck by vehicles. Christian Martinez, Los Angeles Times, 16 Aug. 2023 An inordinate number of successful artists, including the godfather and godmother to the current scene, Eric Fischl and April Gornik, live and work on the South Fork. Jay McInerney, Travel + Leisure, 30 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inordinate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English inordinat, from Latin inordinatus, from in- + ordinatus, past participle of ordinare to arrange — more at ordain

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of inordinate was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near inordinate

Cite this Entry

“Inordinate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​or·​di·​nate in-ˈȯrd-ᵊn-ət How to pronounce inordinate (audio)
: going beyond reasonable limits : immoderate
an inordinate curiosity
inordinately adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on inordinate

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