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 ordain (audio) \ noun

Examples of ordain in a Sentence

She is an ordained minister. The process was ordained by law.
Recent Examples on the Web Though many Pentecostal churches do not ordain women, Raphael’s mother, Verlene, also became a pastor, signaling the family’s openness to less traditional interpretations of the Bible. New York Times, "Raphael Warnock, From the Pulpit to Politics, Doesn’t Shy From ‘Uncomfortable’ Truths," 2 Jan. 2021 Securing their license and filing the paperwork one day later with the help of a different officiant, Joshua Alex Preston, a friend ordained through the Universal Life Church, was less romantic but a relief. New York Times, "Welcome to Our Surprise Zwedding," 22 May 2020 Rabbi Coran grew up in Akron and was ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati in 1993. Cincinnati.com, "Rabbi Sigma Faye Coran of Rockdale Temple has died," 8 May 2020 The officiate, Kayvon Rashidi, a lawyer friend of the couple’s who became ordained online earlier this year, was already scheduled. Tom Fox, Dallas News, "‘You can’t cancel love!’ Undeterred by pandemic, Dallas couple retools to pull off intimate wedding," 1 May 2020 The McManamons were married by Sean’s brother, who was ordained for the ceremony, Sarah said. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "Lakewood couple sticks to social-distancing rules with memorable front-porch wedding," 20 Apr. 2020 Father Denis, who entered the Cistercian order in his native Hungary in 1955 and was ordained in Austria in 1961, was known for his towering intellect and deep spirituality. Mike Wilson, Dallas News, "The Rev. Denis Farkasfalvy, who for decades challenged others to grow at Irving’s Cistercian abbey, dies at 83," 21 May 2020 Since the actor had recently been ordained and was therefore available to officiate the ceremony, all the was missing was the couple's parents and the bridal party. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "The Office cast reunites virtually to celebrate a couple's wedding, makes everyone cry," 11 May 2020 Also known as 'FT' or 'Father Tom' Wittliff was ordained on Memorial Day in 1964. Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Bishop of Bay View,' the Rev. Tom Wittliff, touched thousands of lives in the neighborhood, at St. Thomas More High," 3 Apr. 2020

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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Cite this Entry

“Ordain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ordain. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for ordain



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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Comments on ordain

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