Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: ordre, from Latin ordo 'arrangement, group'


1 noun
or‧der1 S1 W1

for a purpose


in order to do something

for the purpose of doing something:
Samuel trained every day in order to improve his performance.
In order to understand how the human body works, you need to have some knowledge of chemistry.

in order for/that

formal so that something can happen or so that someone can do something:
Sunlight is needed in order for the process of photosynthesis to take place in plants.


[uncountable and countable] the way that things or events are arranged in relation to each other, for example showing whether something is first, second, third etc [= sequence]
in ( ... ) order
The photographs can be viewed in any order.
Make a list of what you have to do, and put them in order with the most important at the top.
in order of importance/priority/preference etc
Students learn the verbs in order of difficulty.
do something in order (=do things one after another, according to a plan)
Then they call out our names in order and we answer yes or no.
Your paragraphs are not arranged in a logical order.
in the right/correct order
Replace all the pieces in the correct order.
out of order/in the wrong order
Be careful not to get the cards in the wrong order.
He always shaves his face in the same order, right side, then left.
in reverse order (=in the opposite order to what is usual)
in descending/ascending order (=starting with the highest or lowest number)
The leaflet gives details of all the hotels in the area in descending order of price.


[countable usually plural] an instruction to do something that is given by someone in authorityCOLLOCATIONS COLLOCATIONS
an/the order to do something give/issue an order follow/obey orders take orders from somebody receive an order have (strict) orders to do something/be under (strict) orders to do something (=have been told to do something) court order doctor's orders (=when the doctor says you must do something) by order of somebody/on the orders of somebody
The captain had to give the order to abandon ship.
I followed your orders to the letter (=I did exactly what you ordered).
He received a direct order from the President.
She is under strict orders to have a complete rest.
The government obtained a court order requiring the editor to reveal his source.
I've got to take it easy - doctor's orders.
The company cannot be identified by order of the court.

controlled situation

[uncountable] a situation in which rules are obeyed and authority is respected:
the breakdown of law and order
The riots are a threat to public order.
keep order/keep somebody in order (=stop people from behaving badly)
The physics teacher couldn't keep order in any class.
She had trouble keeping her teenage sons in order.
The army was called in to restore order.

well-organized state

[uncountable] a situation in which everything is controlled, well organized, and correctly arranged:
Let's have some order in here.
You need to put your financial affairs in order.
She keeps her room in good order.

for food or drink

BBT [countable]
a) a request for food or drink in a restaurant or bar:
The waiter took our orders.
last orders British English (=the last time you can order a drink before a bar closes)
Last orders now please!
b) the food or drink you have asked for in a restaurant or bar:
When our order finally arrived we were very hungry indeed.
side order

for goods

a) a request by a customer for a company to supply goods:
Goods will be sent within 24 hours of receiving your order.
You can always cancel your order if you change your mind.
The government has placed an order for (=asked a company to supply) new weapons.
Please complete the enclosed order form.
on order (=asked for, but not yet received)
My bicycle is on order.
make/supply something to order (=produce something especially for a particular customer)
They make hand-made shoes to order.
b) goods that you have ordered from a company:
Your order has arrived - you can collect it from the store any time.
mail order

be out of order

a) if a machine or piece of equipment is out of order, it is not working:
The phone is out of order again.
b) British English informal if someone's behaviour is out of order, it is unacceptable [= out of line American English]
c) to be breaking the rules in a committee, court, parliament etc:
The MP's remarks were ruled out of order.

be in order

a) if something is in order, it is correct or right:
Everything is in order.
b) to be a suitable thing to do or say on a particular occasion:
I hear congratulations are in order.
c) if an official document is in order, it is legal and correct:
Is your passport in order?
d) if something that you do is in order, it is allowed by the rules in a committee, court, parliament etc

be in (good) working/running order

in good condition or working well:
She keeps her bicycle in good working order.

social/economic situation

[singular]PSS the political, social, or economic situation at a particular time
social/political order
He called the rioters a threat to the social order.
The people of South Africa wanted a new order.
He dared to challenge the established (=traditional) order.

be the order of the day

a) to be suitable for a particular occasion or situation:
Casual clothes are the order of the day.
b) to be very common at a particular time - used especially when you disapprove of something:
Sexual explicitness is the order of the day.

the order of things

the way that life and the world are organized and intended to be:
People accepted the class system as part of the natural order of things.

of a high order/of the highest order

also of the first order of a very good kind or of the best kind:
an achievement of the highest order

withdraw/retreat in good order

to move away from the enemy in war in an organized way

in the order of something/of the order of something

also on the order of something American English a little more or a little less than a particular amount, especially a high amount [= approximately]:
a figure in the order of $7 million

religious group

[countable]RR a society of monks or nuns (=people who live a holy life according to religious rules):
the Benedictine Order
order of
the order of Jesuits

take (holy) orders

RRC to become a priest

secret society

[countable]SSO an organization or society whose members meet for secret ceremonies

official honour

[countable]PGO a group of people who have received a special official reward from a king, president etc for their services or achievements:
the Order of the Garter


[countable]BFB an official piece of paper that can be exchanged for money money order, postal order

the lower orders

British English old-fashioned people who belong to the lowest social class


[countable] technicalHBP a group of animals or plants that are considered together because they evolved from the same plant or animal class1 (5), species


[countable] American English a list of jobs that a computer has to do in a particular order [= queue British English]

Order! Order!

spoken used to ask people to stop talking in a meeting or parliament
pecking order, point of order, standing order

➔ call somebody/something to order

at call1 (16)

; ➔ set/put your own house in order

at house1 (7)

; ➔ be given/get your marching orders

at march1 (5)

; ➔ in short order

at short1 (22)

; ➔ under starter's orders

at starter

; ➔ tall order

at tall

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