or·​tho·​dox | \ˈȯr-thə-ˌdäks \

Definition of orthodox 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : conforming to established doctrine especially in religion orthodox principles the orthodox interpretation

b : conventional took an orthodox approach to the problem orthodox medicine

2 capitalized : of, relating to, or constituting any of various conservative religious or political groups: such as

a : eastern orthodox Greek Orthodox rituals

b : of or relating to Orthodox Judaism Orthodox Jews in their black suits and hats and modest dresses


plural orthodox also orthodoxes

Definition of orthodox (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one that is orthodox

2 capitalized : a member of an Eastern Orthodox church

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Other Words from orthodox


orthodoxly adverb

Did You Know?

An orthodox religious belief or interpretation is one handed down by a church's founders or leaders. When capitalized, as in Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox refers to a branch within a larger religious organization that claims to honor the religion's original or traditional beliefs. The steadfast holding of established beliefs that is seen in religious orthodoxy is apparent also in other kinds of orthodox behavior. Orthodox medical treatment, for example, follows the established practices of mainstream medicine. Unorthodox thinking is known in business language as "thinking outside the box".

Examples of orthodox in a Sentence


He took an orthodox approach to the problem. She believes in the benefits of both orthodox medicine and alternative medicine. He is a very orthodox Muslim. I attend an Eastern Orthodox church. My grandmother is Russian Orthodox.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In America the most stalwart supporters of Israel and the Jewish people are evangelical Christians and orthodox Catholics. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Oldest Hatred," 28 Oct. 2018 From the ground up, this particular folly starts out as a rather orthodox summer house, only to grow upwards into a massive, 37 feet-high sandstone pineapple. Max Maeckler, Vogue, "You Can Rent a Pineapple Palace on the Airbnb For Historic Homes," 16 Aug. 2018 Not even a little bit, and that’s just how announcements like this are designed to keep things, even in administrations with a more orthodox media strategy. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Trump’s Reality TV Supreme Court Rollout, Slick and Substance-Free," 10 July 2018 But the measure stalled this week following a backlash by the orthodox Jewish community. Talia Kirkland, Fox News, "After Delaware raises marriage age to 18, some wonder if other states will follow suit," 25 May 2018 Neither does Einstein spare members of his own ethnic group — in this case ultra-orthodox Jews in Jerusalem — from his insensitive comments. Ze'ev Rosenkranz, Time, "The Real Lesson of the Racial Slurs in Albert Einstein’s Private Travel Diaries," 19 June 2018 At a breakfast forum on Thursday at the New Albany Country Club, with its high ceilings and portraiture of dogs and horses, the candidates engaged in civil debate and essentially staked out orthodox positions of their parties. Michael Tackett, New York Times, "Door-Knocking Democrat Tries to Break G.O.P. Grip in Ohio Special Election," 13 July 2018 The Hoosiers have also been in touch with more orthodox transfers as well, players who would need to sit a year before regaining eligibility. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Why a graduate transfer makes sense for Archie Miller, IU basketball," 28 Mar. 2018 The exterior is a multicultural monument, expressing cultural diversity instead of concealing it beneath a cloak of orthodox neoclassicism or modernism. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "The national African-American museum still stirs the soul — and drops hints of what to expect at the Obama Presidential Center," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Just imagine: an encased farce of brined and smoked brisket dragged through the garden of the orthodox Chicago condiments. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "At 3 Squares Diner there’s a dog that won’t bark," 12 July 2018 The once ultra-orthodox are loosening their ideologies, facilitated by Facebook groups, podcasts, websites, and meet-ups. Sarah Scoles, Longreads, "Meet the New Mormons," 8 June 2018 The fascinating modern historic events there now were instigated by an unorthodox president who may be about to accomplish what orthodox leaders never could. Andrew Malcolm, San Francisco Chronicle, "Trump’s Korea initiative is risky and unprecedented," 2 May 2018 The closest synagogue at the time was a conservative synagogue on Third Avenue and McDowell Road, a long walk for orthodox worshipers who did not drive on the Sabbath. Jessica Boehm, azcentral, "Founding family of Phoenix synagogue saved 1,500 people during the Holocaust," 12 Apr. 2018 Santos is likely to continue Uribe's crackdown on crime and on the FARC insurgency as well as his orthodox financial policies. Newsweek, "Amazing Photos of Bioluminescent Phytoplankton," 14 Mar. 2018 Generally speaking, the Jewish community can be divided up into three types of affiliation-orthodox, conservative and reform. Patricia Dillon, Houston Chronicle, "Villager Q & A: Rabbi Mendel Blecher of Chabad of The Woodlands," 23 Feb. 2018 The event, hosted by Shabbat San Diego, calls on Jewish San Diegans, whether orthodox, reform or secular, to observe a Shabbat, or Jewish Sabbath, as a sign of unity with Jews around the world. Kate Morrissey, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Thousands of San Diegans to make bread, observe traditional Shabbat in international celebration," 23 Oct. 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for orthodox


Middle English orthodoxe, from Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French orthodoxe, from Late Latin orthodoxus, from Late Greek orthodoxos, from Greek orth- + doxa opinion — more at doxology


see orthodox entry 1

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Statistics for orthodox

Last Updated

1 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for orthodox

The first known use of orthodox was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for orthodox



English Language Learners Definition of orthodox

: accepted as true or correct by most people : supporting or believing what most people think is true

: accepting and closely following the traditional beliefs and customs of a religion

Orthodox : of or relating to the Orthodox Church


or·​tho·​dox | \ˈȯr-thə-ˌdäks \

Kids Definition of orthodox

1 : approved as measuring up to some standard : conventional orthodox medicine

2 : closely following the established beliefs of a religion

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a nest or breeding place

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