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 The second-most contested proposal concerned ordaining women deacons, a type of ministry in the church that allows for preaching, celebrating weddings and baptisms, but not consecrating the Eucharist. Nicole Winfield, USA TODAY, "Catholic bishops' historic proposal: Allow married men as priests in remote Amazon regions," 26 Oct. 2019 Flynn was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Albany in 1960. Deanna Weniger, Twin Cities, "Mourners gather to pay respects to Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, 1933-2019, in St. Paul," 30 Sep. 2019 Women are not ordained, but older women, especially widows, can become nuns. Emily Selter, Town & Country, "T&C Travel Guide: Angkor Wat Beyond the Temples," 10 Sep. 2019 Drew, who was ordained a priest in 2004, most recently was pastor at St. Ignatius of Loyola in Green Township and also has worked at St. Maximilian Kolbe in Liberty Township. Dan Horn, Cincinnati.com, "Priest's accuser urges others to speak out: 'You are not alone'," 5 Sep. 2019 Vazquez, who was ordained a priest in the Capuchin Franciscan religious order in 2014, was arrested late last year. Paul Duggan, Washington Post, "Girl testifies that priest caressed her knee during confession," 8 Aug. 2019 Gatlin, who was ordained in 2000, had served at St. Francis of Assisi since August 2017. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville archdiocese says proper steps were followed while investigating a priest," 8 Feb. 2019 Following his service as President of the Folsom Arms Company, Henry attended Berkley Divinity School (now Yale Divinity), being ordained in 1957. courant.com, "Henry Titus Folsom," 13 May 2018 Sheehan studied theology at St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore and was ordained in St. Anthony's Church in Fort Lauderdale. Bob Gathany, AL.com, "Up in the air at the Huntsville Community Kite Festival," 4 Mar. 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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Statistics for ordain

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ordain

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

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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

Comments on ordain

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to speed up the process or progress of

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