or·dain | \ ȯr-ˈdān \
ordained; ordaining; ordains

Definition of ordain 

transitive verb

1 : to invest (see invest entry 2 sense 1) officially (as by the laying on of hands) with ministerial or priestly authority was ordained as a priest

2a : to establish or order by appointment, decree, or law : enact we the people … do ordain and establish this ConstitutionU.S. Constitution

b : destine, foreordain It is futile to try to avoid what destiny has ordained.

intransitive verb

: to issue an order so the gods have ordained

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Other words from ordain

ordainer noun
ordainment \ȯr-ˈdān-mənt \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for ordain


constitute, enact, lay down, legislate, make, pass


repeal, rescind, revoke

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Examples of ordain in a Sentence

She is an ordained minister. The process was ordained by law.

Recent Examples on the Web

Georgia and Alabama won semifinals to advance from a four-team field selected by a committee, not ordained by a formula that balanced human polls with computer rankings. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "Did the LSU-Alabama Rematch Really Kill the BCS?," 10 July 2018 The collection also includes annual reports from parishes dating back to 1851, memorabilia and personal items, like the ceremonial chalice and paten given to the Rev. Richard Sherer when he was ordained in 1958 along with someone’s golf clubs. Ken Byron, courant.com, "Hartford Archdiocese Names New Archivist," 15 Jan. 2018 For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Michael Harriot, The Root, "A Brief History of People Using Romans 13 to Justify White Supremacy," 15 June 2018 He was ordained in 1982 and served as a parish priest and administrative in the Winnipeg Archeparchy in Manitoba. Kristin E. Holmes, Philly.com, "The archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Philadelphia retires and goes home," 10 June 2018 In 1836, Smith ordained Elijah Abel, a Black man, to the priesthood office of elder. Mica Mcgriggs, Teen Vogue, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Celebrated the 40-Year Anniversary of the Lifted Ban Against Black Members," 11 July 2018 One of Ekkapol’s duties after he was ordained was taking care of younger novices, said Patcharadanai Kittisophano, a monk at the Phrathat Doi Wao temple, where the young coach now works as a custodian. Hannah Beech, The Seattle Times, "For some Thai soccer-team members, cave ordeal was only their latest test," 10 July 2018 Hart was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Judy L. Thomas, kansascity, "Could former KC priest, 86, still face charges? Yes, but 'there is an issue of time'," 3 July 2018 Professing his faith in Jesus led him to pursue a degree in theology from Crown College in MN, after which he was ordained in the Christian & Missionary Alliance denomination and served churches in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Florida for 18 years. OrlandoSentinel.com, "Deaths in Central Florida: 6/19," 19 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of ordain

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for ordain

Middle English ordeinen, from Anglo-French ordener, ordeiner, from Late Latin ordinare, from Latin, to put in order, appoint, from ordin-, ordo order

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Dictionary Entries near ordain






ordeal bark

ordeal bean

Statistics for ordain

Last Updated

6 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for ordain

The first known use of ordain was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ordain



English Language Learners Definition of ordain

: to officially make (someone) a minister, priest, rabbi, etc.

: to officially establish or order (something)


or·dain | \ ȯr-ˈdān \
ordained; ordaining

Kids Definition of ordain

1 : decree entry 2 It was ordained by law.

2 : to make a person a Christian minister or priest by a special ceremony

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More from Merriam-Webster on ordain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ordain

Spanish Central: Translation of ordain

Nglish: Translation of ordain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ordain for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ordain

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to make amends

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