or·​dain | \ ȯr-ˈdān How to pronounce ordain (audio) \
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 How to pronounce ordainment (audio) \ noun

Examples of ordain in a Sentence

She is an ordained minister. The process was ordained by law.
Recent Examples on the Web In 1973 he was ordained to Holy Orders as a Deacon in the Catholic Church. courant.com, "Raymond J. Fugere Jr.," 28 Oct. 2019 During the ceremony, Danny Abdeljabbar and Sam Leatherwood, the boyfriends of two of Blake’s nieces, Walsh and Caty Costigan, officiated the ceremony since they are both ordained ministers. Brianne Tracy, PEOPLE.com, "Farrah Abraham Was the 'Best Man' at Dad Michael's Toga-Themed Wedding — All the Details!," 14 Oct. 2019 This museum was ordained to be here' Roots 101 — named like an introductory college course — will begin in the basement of the historic building. Savannah Eadens, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville will soon have a 'healing place' for black history at new museum on Main Street," 29 Aug. 2019 Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. Claudia Harmata, PEOPLE.com, "Hailey Baldwin Shares Bible Verse About Getting Along Following Taylor Swift Video Backlash," 8 Oct. 2019 The proposal would involve traditional members who don’t believe in ordaining or marrying LGBT individuals splitting off into a new denomination, according to a release from the group’s leaders. Danae King, Cincinnati.com, "Ohio Methodist leader among those involved in creating plan to split over gay marriage," 3 Jan. 2020 When power is no longer divinely ordained, the right to govern is contested. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 For there is no noncircular logic that ordains the newsworthiness of the president’s tweets. Greg Jackson, Harper's magazine, "Vicious Cycles," 6 Jan. 2020 Its namesake chef, Leah Chase, has been ordained the ‘Queen of Creole Cuisine.’ Next door, another local legend, Emeril Lagasse, showcased his specialities at Emeril’s Table. Brad Japhe, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Food and Drink at New Orleans’s New Airport Is So Good You’ll Want to Hang Out There," 11 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for ordain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ordain

Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ordain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ordain. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for ordain


How to pronounce ordain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ordain

: to officially make (someone) a minister, priest, rabbi, etc.
formal : to officially establish or order (something)


or·​dain | \ ȯr-ˈdān How to pronounce ordain (audio) \
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

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