or·der | \ ˈȯr-dər \
ordered; ordering\ˈȯr-d(ə-)riŋ \

Definition of order 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to put in order : arrange The books are ordered alphabetically by author.

2a : to give an order to : command They ordered everyone out of the house.

b : destine, ordain so ordered by the gods

c : to command to go or come to a specified place ordered back to the base

d : to give an order for order a meal I ordered the books from the company's website. The judge ordered a new trial.

intransitive verb

1 : to bring about order : regulate a renascence of the spirit that orders and controls —H. G. Wells

2a : to issue orders : command The general orders and soldiers obey.

b : to give or place an order Be sure to order before it's too late.



Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a group of people united in a formal way: such as

(1) : a fraternal society the Masonic Order

(2) : a community under a religious rule especially : one requiring members to take solemn vows

b : a badge or medal of such a society also : a military decoration

2a : any of the several grades of the Christian ministry

b orders plural : the office of a person in the Christian ministry

c orders plural : ordination

3a : a rank, class, or special group in a community or society

b : a class of persons or things grouped according to quality, value, or natural characteristics: such as

(1) : a category of taxonomic classification ranking above the family and below the class

(2) : the broadest category in soil classification

4a(1) : rank, level a statesman of the first order

(2) : category, class in emergencies of this order —R. B. Westerfield

b(1) : the arrangement or sequence of objects or of events in time listed the items in order of importance the batting order

(2) : a sequential arrangement of mathematical elements

c : degree sense 12a

d(1) : the number of times differentiation is applied successively derivatives of higher order

(2) of a differential equation : the order of the derivative of highest order

e : the number of columns or rows or columns and rows in a magic square, determinant, or matrix the order of a matrix with 2 rows and 3 columns is 2 by 3

f : the number of elements in a finite mathematical group

5a(1) : a sociopolitical system was opposed to changes in the established order

(2) : a particular sphere or aspect of a sociopolitical system the present economic order

b : a regular or harmonious arrangement the order of nature

6a : a prescribed form of a religious service : rite

b : the customary mode of procedure especially in debate point of order

7a : the state of peace, freedom from confused or unruly behavior, and respect for law or proper authority promised to restore law and order

b : a specific rule, regulation, or authoritative direction : command

8a : a style of building

b : a type of column and entablature forming the unit of a style

9a : state or condition especially with regard to functioning or repair things were in terrible order

b : a proper, orderly, or functioning condition their passports were in order the phone is out of order

10a : a written direction to pay money to someone

b : a commission to purchase, sell, or supply goods or to perform work

c : goods or items bought or sold

d : an assigned or requested undertaking landing men on the moon was a tall order

11 : order of the day flat roofs were the order in the small villages

in order

: appropriate, desirable an apology is in order

in order to

: for the purpose of

on order

: in the process of being ordered

on the order of

1 : after the fashion of : like a genius on the order of Newton —D. B. Botkin

2 : about, approximately spent on the order of two million dollars

to order

: according to the specifications of an order shoes made to order

Illustration of order

Illustration of order


order 8b: 1 Corinthian, 2 Doric, 3 Ionic

In the meaning defined above

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Other words from order


orderable \ˈȯr-d(ə-)rə-bəl \ adjective
orderer \ˈȯr-dər-ər \ noun


orderless \ˈȯr-dər-ləs \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for order


order, arrange, marshal, organize, systematize, methodize mean to put persons or things into their proper places in relation to each other. order suggests a straightening out so as to eliminate confusion. ordered her business affairs arrange implies a setting in sequence, relationship, or adjustment. arranged the files numerically marshal suggests gathering and arranging in preparation for a particular operation or effective use. marshaling the facts for argument organize implies arranging so that the whole aggregate works as a unit with each element having a proper function. organized the volunteers into teams systematize implies arranging according to a predetermined scheme. systematized billing procedures methodize suggests imposing an orderly procedure rather than a fixed scheme. methodizes every aspect of daily living

synonyms see in addition command

Examples of order in a Sentence


They ordered everyone out of the house. The soldiers were ordered back to the base. “Stop! Drop your weapon!” ordered the officer. The court threw out the conviction and ordered a new trial. The judge ordered that the charges be dismissed. He was accused of ordering the murder of his wife. I ordered the books from the company's Web site. The shirt you ordered should arrive in the mail in a couple of days. To order, call the number at the bottom of your screen. Order now and receive a free gift!


That's an order, not a request! Failing to comply with an order will result in the loss of your job. She received an order to appear in court. They can't close down the school without an order from the governor's office. The mayor gave an order to evacuate the city. It's not his fault. He was only following orders. I'm not taking orders from you! You're not my boss. The city was evacuated by order of the mayor. The store received an order for 200 roses this morning. They had trouble filling large customer orders.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The justices could force the city to spend many millions retroactively creating pensions for 4,000 employees hired since 2012, or order the city and its unions to negotiate an alternative solution. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "If state Supreme Court rules against San Diego on pensions, it could could cost city millions," 14 July 2018 Inspectors ordered the violations be fixed by April 8, but the city failed to schedule a follow-up inspection until last week — after the Journal Sentinel asked whether repairs had been made. Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'He'll evict you in a minute.' Landlord quietly becomes a force in Milwaukee rental business...and eviction court," 13 July 2018 Investigators said the deaths might have been avoided had the commander on the scene taken more time to determine the source of the fire before ordering men inside. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "In a tragic loop, firefighters continue to die from preventable mistakes," 13 July 2018 Prices start at $2,399 for the MBP 15 and the new computers are available for ordering through the online Apple Store and from physical Apple Stores this week. Brooke Crothers, Fox News, "As Apple announces new MacBooks, more changes are expected," 13 July 2018 Notable: Before ordering that bone-in filet, however, please note that the only time in this World Cup that Croatia led at half was in its opener against Nigeria on June 16. Ed Barkowitz, Philly.com, "Atlantic City bookies offer odds and props for Sunday's World Cup final between France and Croatia," 13 July 2018 Last month, an Illinois appeals court upheld a lower court ruling ordering the documents released. Hal Dardick, chicagotribune.com, "Berrios' analysts used Zillow, other shortcuts in assessing property values, documents show," 13 July 2018 The four were released on their own recognizance and were ordered not to leave the state without a judge’s permission. Jess Nocera, Howard County Times, "Grand jury indicts teens accused of hate crimes at Glenelg High School," 13 July 2018 Another city also responded: The mayor of Jeffersonville, Indiana — Schnatter’s hometown — ordered his name removed from its local field house on Wednesday. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Papa John’s founder resigns as chairman after using a racial slur on a call," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The measure then directs the governor to ask the U.S. Congress for the ultimate approval — likely a tall order. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "'Cal 3' backer urges court to dismiss lawsuit opposing California break-up plan," 14 July 2018 The Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum has landed a straight-to-series order at HBO for Victorian drama The Nevers. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Joss Whedon Sci-Fi Drama Ordered Straight to Series at HBO," 13 July 2018 Ashley Hardy, 26, is charged with abduction and violating a protection order. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "Two women indicted in Symmes Township abduction," 13 July 2018 After that? Luis Castillo and Sal Romano will be in — order to be determined. John Fay, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati Reds' rotation after the All-Star Break: Mahle, DeSclafani, Harvey, then TBA," 14 July 2018 But as a new dad, Tyler has all the more reason to get his health in order. refinery29.com, "The First Episode Of Dr. Pimple Popper Is A Popaholic's Dream Come True," 12 July 2018 According to Japan’s public broadcasting station, NHK World Japan, the evacuation orders followed the river bursting its bank and inundating the town, which is within the Hiroshima Prefecture. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Floods in Japan Leave at Least 176 People Dead," 11 July 2018 As of Sunday morning, all evacuation orders were lifted. Julia Sclafani, sacbee, "Northern California wildfire updates: Pacific Crest Trail closures in effect despite progress on Klamathon Fire," 11 July 2018 The last mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted in the Goleta area of Southern California where a small but destructive fire burned during the weekend. Fox News, "The Latest: 3 arrested in connection with Colorado wildfire," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'order.' 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 order


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for order


Middle English, from ordre, noun


Middle English, from Anglo-French ordre, from Medieval Latin & Latin; Medieval Latin ordin-, ordo ecclesiastical order, from Latin, arrangement, group, class; akin to Latin ordiri to lay the warp, begin

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Learn More about order

Statistics for order

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for order

The first known use of order was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for order

alternative order


Financial Definition of alternative order

What It Is

An alternative order is a group of limit orders linked together within a brokerage account. If one order is executed, all other linked orders are automatically canceled.

How It Works

Sometimes called an "either-or" order or a "one-cancels-all" order, an alternative order essentially gives an investor the choice to buy one out of a number of different stocks for the best price in the shortest amount of time.

If an order is partially filled, the remaining orders will be reduced proportionately to the remaining quantity of the unfilled order. If the customer cancels an order before the execution, all orders will be canceled. If the system cancels or rejects the order, the remaining orders will not automatically be canceled.

This trading strategy is best illustrated with an example.

Let's assume an investor wants to invest $10,000 in the market, but he wants to buy stock in only one of three companies. He knows the circumstances under which he wants to buy each company (the "trigger condition”).  He places an alternative order with the following trigger conditions:

a) Limit Order 1 - Company X is trading at $40. The investor places a limit order to buy Company X if it drops to $35.

b) Limit Order 2 - Company Y is trading at $42. The investor places a limit order to buy Company Y if it drops to $38­.

c) Limit Order 3 - Company Z is trading at $45. The investor places a limit order to buy Company Z if it drops to $40.

Company X and Y hold steady, but Company Z drops to $40 and triggers Limit Order 3. The limit order for Company Z is executed and automatically cancels the limit orders for Company X and Company Y.

Why It Matters

Alternative orders allow investors flexibility to bet on their informed hunches, while curtailing their exposure. They can make a dynamic bet on the market, simultaneously playing several angles, with a floor as to how much they can lose.

This type of order is more complex than a normal order, and not all brokerages accept alternative orders. Even when brokerages do, the procedures, rules and terms may vary. Check with your brokers for the specific details before placing an alternative order.

Source: Investing Answers

open order


Financial Definition of open order

What It Is

An open order is an instruction to buy or sell securities that has not been executed or cancelled.  Another term used is "backlog order."

How It Works

An order may remain open when an investor places conditions on their transaction, such as a price minimum.   If the condition is not met (e.g. the stock has not yet reached the minimum amount requested by the investor), the order remains "open."

Why It Matters

While a market order is executed immediately, an open order may take time to fill or may remain unfilled.  It is important for the investor to monitor market conditions and keep track of their open orders and be sure that each order should remain in effect and be filled over time.

Source: Investing Answers

qualified domestic relations order


Financial Definition of qualified domestic relations order

What It Is

A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a legal document used to split a  person's retirement plan, usually as part of a divorce decree.

How It Works

For example, let's assume that Jane and John are getting divorced. John has a 401(k) with $500,000 in it. The presiding judge decides that they will split the 401(k) 50/50. In order to officially do so, the judge will sign a QDRO (pronounced "quadro") directing the account's custodian to put 50% of the 401(k) in a separate account under Jane's name.

A QDRO must specifically describe the percentage of benefits to be allocated to the ex-spouse. It may not award amounts or benefits that are not available under the spouse's retirement plan.

Why It Matters

QDROs help people allocate tax responsibilities after divorce. In our example, Jane becomes responsible for any taxes incurred when she begins taking distributions of the 401(k) money. Without the QDRO, John would have been legally responsible for the taxes on the distributions, even if he gives or is ordered to give Jane the proceeds.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of order

: a statement made by a person with authority that tells someone to do something : an instruction or direction that must be obeyed

: a specific request asking a company to supply goods or products to a customer

: a product or a group of products that someone has requested from a company


or·der | \ ˈȯr-dər \
ordered; ordering

Kids Definition of order

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to put into a particular grouping or sequence : arrange Dictionary entries are ordered alphabetically.

2 : to give a command to or for The general ordered troops into battle. I went to the counter to order lunch.



Kids Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a certain rule or regulation : command … when he gave orders … everyone knew … that he expected to be obeyed. —Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

2 : the arrangement of objects or events in space or time List the names in alphabetical order.

3 : the way something should be He kept the room in order.

4 : the state of things when law or authority is obeyed Troops restored order after the riot.

5 : good working condition The telephone is out of order.

6 : a statement of what a person wants to buy Place your order for a birthday cake.

7 : goods or items bought or sold an order of pancakes

8 : a group of people united (as by living under the same religious rules or by loyalty to common needs or duties) He belongs to an order of monks.

9 orders plural : the office of a person in the Christian ministry holy orders

10 : a group of related living things (as plants or animals) that ranks above the family and below the class in scientific classification Bats form an order of mammals in the animal kingdom.

11 : a written direction to pay a sum of money

in order that

: so that

in order to

: for the purpose of

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or·der | \ ˈȯrd-ər \
ordered; ordering\ˈȯrd-(ə-)riŋ \

Medical Definition of order 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to give a prescription for : prescribe the doctor ordered bed rest



Medical Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

: a category of taxonomic classification ranking above the family and below the class



Legal Definition of order 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a state of peace, freedom from unruly behavior, and respect for law and proper authority maintain law and order

2 : an established mode or state of procedure a call to order

3a : a mandate from a superior authority — see also executive order

b : a ruling or command made by a competent administrative authority specifically : one resulting from administrative adjudication and subject to judicial review and enforcement an administrative order may not be inconsistent with the Constitution Wells v. State, 654 So. 2d 145 (1995)

c : an authoritative command issued by the court violated a court order and was jailed for contempt

cease-and-desist order \ˌsēs-ənd-di-ˈzist-, -ˈsist- \

: an order from a court or quasi-judicial tribunal to stop engaging in a particular activity or practice (as an unfair labor practice) — compare injunction, mandamus, stay

consent order

: an agreement of litigating parties that by consent takes the form of a court order

final order

: an order of a court or quasi-judicial tribunal which leaves nothing further to be determined or accomplished in that forum except execution of the judgment and from which an appeal will lie

gag order

: an order barring public disclosure or discussion (as by the involved parties or the press) of information relating to a case

order to show cause

: an order requiring the prospective object of a legal action to show cause why that action should not take place

called also show cause order

pretrial order

: a court order setting out the rulings, stipulations, and other actions taken at a pretrial conference

protection order

: restraining order in this entry

protective order

: an order issued for the protection of a particular party: as

a : an order that limits, denies, or defers discovery by a party in order to prevent undue embarrassment, expense, oppression, or disclosure of trade secrets

b : restraining order in this entry

qualified domestic relations order

: an order, decree, or judgment that satisfies the criteria set out in section 414 of the Internal Revenue Code for the payment of all or part of individual pension, profit sharing, or retirement benefits usually to a divorcing spouse (as for alimony or child support)

Note: The alienation or assignment of funds under a qualified domestic relations order does not affect the tax status of the plan from which such funds are paid.

restraining order \ri-ˈstrā-niŋ- \

1 : temporary restraining order in this entry

2 : an order of a specified duration issued after a hearing attended by all parties that is intended to protect one individual from violence, abuse, harassment, or stalking by another especially by prohibiting or restricting access or proximity to the protected party excluded from the home by a restraining order issued because of domestic violence

called also protection order, protective order

— compare temporary restraining order in this entry

show cause order

: order to show cause in this entry

temporary restraining order

1 : an order of brief duration that is issued ex parte to protect the plaintiff's rights from immediate and irreparable injury by preserving a situation or preventing an act until a hearing for a preliminary injunction can be held

2 : a protective order issued ex parte for a brief period prior to a hearing on a restraining order attended by both parties and intended to provide immediate protection from violence or threatened violence

turnover order \ˈtər-ˌnō-vər- \

: an order commanding one party to turn over property to another especially : an order commanding a judgment debtor to turn over assets to a judgment creditor turnover order in aid of execution California Code of Civil Procedure

d : a command issued by a military superior

4a : a direction regarding the party to whom a negotiable instrument shall be paid pay to the order of John Doe — see also money order, negotiable instrument

b : an instruction or authorization especially to buy or sell goods or securities or to perform work a purchase order a work order

alternative order

: an order to a broker in which alternative methods of carrying out the order (as by buying or selling) are set forth

open order

1 : an order to buy securities or commodity futures that remains effective until filled or canceled

2 : an order for merchandise expressed in very general terms so that the seller has considerable latitude in selecting the articles actually provided

stop order

: an order to a broker to buy or sell a security when the price advances or declines to a designated level

c : goods or items bought or sold the order was received in good condition

to order

: according to the specifications of an order especially of a bearer or endorsee payable to bearer or to order



Legal Definition of order (Entry 2 of 2)

: payable to a named person or to an individual that person names by an endorsement order instrument — compare bearer

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Comments on order

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a magnificent or impressive array

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