Meaning of ORDER in English

I. or ‧ der 1 S1 W1 /ˈɔːdə $ ˈɔːrdər/ BrE AmE noun

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ order ≠ ↑ disorder , ↑ ordering ; adjective : ↑ ordered ≠ ↑ disordered , ↑ orderly ≠ ↑ disorderly ; verb : ↑ order ]

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


a) 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.

b) 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.

2 . ARRANGEMENT [uncountable and countable] the way that things or events are arranged in relation to each other, so that one thing is first, another thing is second etc SYN sequence

in the right/correct order

Make sure that you put the books back in the right order.

out of order/in the wrong order

The files are all out of order

in order (=one after another, according to a plan)

Then they call out our names in order and we answer yes or no.

in alphabetical order

Their names are arranged in alphabetical order.

in order of importance/difficulty etc

The cities are listed in order of importance.

Students learn the verbs in order of difficulty.

in ascending/descending order (=starting with the lowest or highest number)

The prices are given in ascending order.

in reverse order

She read out the names in reverse order.

There seemed to be no logical order to the sections.

3 . INSTRUCTION [countable usually plural] an instruction to do something that is given by someone in authority

order to do something

The captain had to give the order to abandon ship.

under orders (from somebody) (to do something)

She is under orders to have a complete rest.

on sb’s orders

He was thrown into the river on the emperor’s orders.

by order of somebody

The company cannot be identified by order of the court.

4 . 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.

5 . 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.

6 . FOR FOOD OR DRINK [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

7 . FOR GOODS [countable]

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

8 . 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 SYN 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.


In everyday English, people usually say that a machine or piece of equipment is not working or is broken rather than out of order :

The phone’s not working.

9 . 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

10 . be in (good) working/running order in good condition or working well:

She keeps her bicycle in good working order.

11 . SOCIAL/ECONOMIC SITUATION [singular] 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.

12 . 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.

13 . 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.

14 . 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

15 . withdraw/retreat in good order to move away from the enemy in war in an organized way

16 . 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 SYN approximately :

a figure in the order of $7 million

17 . RELIGIOUS GROUP [countable] a society of ↑ monk s or ↑ nun s (=people who live a holy life according to religious rules) :

the Benedictine Order

order of

the order of Jesuits

18 . take (holy) orders to become a priest

19 . SECRET SOCIETY [countable] an organization or a society whose members meet for secret ceremonies

20 . OFFICIAL HONOUR [countable] 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

21 . MONEY [countable] an official piece of paper that can be exchanged for money ⇨ ↑ money order , ↑ postal order

22 . the lower orders British English old-fashioned people who belong to the lowest social class

23 . ANIMALS/PLANTS [countable] technical a group of animals or plants that are considered together because they ↑ evolve d from the same plant or animal ⇨ ↑ class 1 (5), ↑ species

24 . COMPUTER [countable] American English a list of jobs that a computer has to do in a particular order SYN queue British English

25 . 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 ↑ call 1 (16), ⇨ set/put your own house in order at ↑ house 1 (7), ⇨ be given/get your marching orders at ↑ march 1 (5), ⇨ in short order at ↑ short 1 (22), ⇨ under starter’s orders at ↑ starter , ⇨ tall order at ↑ tall

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ the right/correct order

Of course, the notes must be played in the right order.

▪ the wrong order

The pages had been put in the wrong order.

▪ the same order

He always closed the windows in the same order.

▪ reverse order

They announced the results in reverse order, starting with the last.

▪ alphabetical order

List the names in alphabetical order.

▪ numerical order

The dogs are given numbers, and stand in numerical order while the judge looks at them.

▪ chronological order (=the order that things happened in time)

The paintings are arranged in chronological order.

▪ ascending/descending order (=with the lowest or highest number first)

The films are ranked in ascending order of profitability.

▪ a logical order

Put the events of the story into a logical order.

■ phrases

▪ put/arrange something in order

Decide what points you want to talk about, and put them in order.

▪ in order of importance/priority/preference etc

The country’s main exports were, in order of importance, coffee, sugar, and soya beans.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ verbs

▪ give/issue an order

Do not fire until I give the order.

▪ obey an order

He refused to obey this order.

▪ follow orders/carry out orders (=obey them)

The men argued that they had only been following orders.

▪ take orders from somebody (=be given orders by them and obey them)

I don’t take orders from you!

▪ disobey/ignore an order

Anyone who disobeys these orders will be severely punished.

▪ have orders to do something

The soldiers had orders to shoot anyone on the streets after 10 o'clock.

▪ receive an order

The general says he received no order to withdraw.

▪ make an order (=used of a court)

The court made an adoption order.


▪ a direct order (=a clear order)

What happens to a soldier who disobeys a direct order?

▪ strict orders

They had strict orders not to allow anyone through.

▪ a court order (=when a judge in a court says you must do something)

Now they’re faced with a court order that could force them to leave.

▪ an executive order (=an order from a president)

President Grant issued an executive order establishing a reservation for the Nex Perce Indians.

▪ doctor’s orders (=when the doctor says you must do something)

She was to rest as much as possible on doctor’s orders.

II. order 2 S2 W2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ order ≠ ↑ disorder , ↑ ordering ; adjective : ↑ ordered ≠ ↑ disordered , ↑ orderly ≠ ↑ disorderly ; verb : ↑ order ]

1 . ASK FOR FOOD/DRINK [intransitive and transitive] to ask for food or a drink in a restaurant, bar etc:

Anne ordered another glass of wine.

Are you ready to order?

He sat down and ordered a meal.

2 . ASK FOR GOODS [intransitive and transitive] to ask for goods or services to be supplied:

I’ve ordered a new computer from the supplier.

order somebody something

I’ll order you a taxi.

3 . TELL SOMEBODY TO DO SOMETHING [transitive] to tell someone that they must do something, especially using your official power or authority:

The court ordered his release from prison.

‘Stay right there,’ she ordered.

order somebody to do something

Tom was ordered to pay £300 as compensation.

Her doctor had ordered her to rest for a week.

be ordered back to something

The soldiers were ordered back to their units.

order that

He ordered that the house be sold.

4 . ARRANGE [transitive] to arrange something in an order:

The list is ordered alphabetically.

• • •

THESAURUS (for Meaning 3)

■ to tell someone they must do something

▪ order to tell someone that they must do something, using your official power or authority:

A policeman ordered him to stop.


He ordered his men to put down their weapons.


‘Don’t move,’ he ordered.

▪ tell to say to someone that they must do something:

Stop telling me what to do!


The headmaster told me to wait outside his office.

▪ give orders/instructions to tell someone exactly what they must do:

The police chief gave orders to shoot.


The doctor gave instructions that she should rest as much as possible.

▪ command used about a high-ranking person such as a general, captain, or king ordering someone to do something:

The general commanded the troops to fall back.


They believe that the Lord has commanded them to do this.

▪ instruct formal to tell someone to do something, especially when you tell them exactly how it should be done:

The architect was instructed to keep the plans simple.


She took three tablets every day, as instructed by her doctor.

▪ direct to give someone an official or legal order to do something:

The judge directed the jury to find her not guilty.

▪ subpoena /səˈpiːnə, səb-/ to officially order someone to appear in a court of law in order to answer questions:

Another three of the President’s advisors were subpoenaed.

order somebody around ( also order somebody about British English ) phrasal verb

to give someone orders in an annoying or threatening way:

How dare he order her about like that?

order somebody ↔ out phrasal verb

to order soldiers or police to go somewhere to stop violent behaviour by a crowd:

The governor decided to order out the National Guard.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.