or·ches·trate | \ˈȯr-kə-ˌstrāt \
orchestrated; orchestrating

Definition of orchestrate 

transitive verb

1a : to compose or arrange (music) for an orchestra The composer orchestrated the music for the symphony orchestra.

b : to provide with orchestration orchestrate a ballet

2 : to arrange or combine so as to achieve a desired or maximum effect orchestrated preparations for the banquet a carefully orchestrated stunt

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from orchestrate

orchestrator or less commonly orchestrater \ˈȯr-kə-ˌstrā-tər \ noun

Examples of orchestrate in a Sentence

He recently orchestrated a musical. She orchestrated the entire event. It's still unclear who was responsible for orchestrating the attack. A strike was orchestrated by union members.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Conventional rules obviously don’t apply to Ronaldo, who orchestrated a $123 million sale from Real Madrid to Juventus. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "World Cup: France proves masterful in all phases," 10 July 2018 And Josh Burkhart, brother of the former American Senior Communities CEO who orchestrated the scheme, was sentenced to four months in prison for his role. Mark Alesia, Indianapolis Star, "'Bagman' gets five years in prison for role in American Senior Communities scheme," 9 July 2018 The report suggests that Brands is prepared to orchestrate a stunning double swoop on La Liga giants Barcelona for two key defensive signings, with French left back Lucas Digne and Colombian World Cup star Yerry Mina on the agenda at Goodison. SI.com, "Everton Plotting Ambitious Double Swoop for Barcelona Defensive Stars Ahead of New Season," 13 July 2018 The first groups to orchestrate zaps included the GAA and Gay Liberation Front (GLF), which formed in the wake of Stonewall and committed to nonviolent, but militant, resistance. Sascha Cohen, Smithsonian, "How Gay Activists Challenged the Politics of Civility," 10 July 2018 But Amazon’s new, three-part series A Very English Scandal tells the absolutely true story of Jeremy Thorpe, an ambitious and closeted British politician in the 1970s who attempted to orchestrate the murder of an unpredictable ex-lover. Michele Corriston, PEOPLE.com, "Hugh Grant Returns to TV as a Gay Politician Who Attempts Murder in A Very English Scandal," 29 June 2018 Before the village severed its ties with Amdur, Buffalo Grove had paid the company about $5,000 annually to orchestrate the summer event, Maltas said. Karen Ann Cullotta, chicagotribune.com, "Long-running Buffalo Grove Art Festival canceled this summer," 29 June 2018 The idea of command centers — a hub to orchestrate various departments and data — isn’t new. Naseem S. Miller, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Florida Hospital building state-of-the-art command center," 22 June 2018 Connolly is serving 40 years in prison for leaking information to Bulger and Flemmi, who were working as his informants, that led them to orchestrate the 1982 slaying of Boston businessman John Callahan in Florida. Shelley Murphy, BostonGlobe.com, "Former gangster testifies that he and Bulger paid off seven FBI agents, killed informants," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orchestrate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of orchestrate

1858, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about orchestrate

Share orchestrate

Statistics for orchestrate

Last Updated

12 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orchestrate

The first known use of orchestrate was in 1858

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for orchestrate



English Language Learners Definition of orchestrate

: to write or change (a piece of music) so that it can be played by an orchestra

: to organize or plan (something that is complicated)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on orchestrate

What made you want to look up orchestrate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


required by fashion, etiquette, or custom

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!