order - definition and synonyms


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  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the way in which a set of things is arranged or done, so that it is clear which thing is first, second, third etc
    order of:

    You can change the order of the list by using the ‘sortcommand.

    in order (=in the correct order):

    Please try to keep the pictures in order.

    out of order (=in the wrong order):

    Some of the names on the list are out of order.

    in alphabetical/chronological/numerical order (=in order according to spelling, time, or number):

    The computer puts the list in alphabetical order by last name.

    in order of priority/importance/frequency etc:

    We will deal with these problems in order of priority.

    in reverse order (=in the opposite order to what is normal):

    Prizes will be given out in reverse order, starting with the team that finished third.

  2. 2
    [countable] a request for a product to be made for you or delivered to you
    order for:

    A major order for six new ships will guarantee the company’s future.

    place an order (=make a request):

    You may place your order by telephone or on the Internet.

    on order (=asked for but not yet supplied):

    The parts are still on order – we’re expecting them any day.

    made/built to order (=specifically for a particular customer):

    Their computers are all made to order.

    1. a.
      a request for food or drink in a restaurant or hotel
      take someone’s order (=record what a customer wants):

      May I take your order, Sir?

  3. 3
    [countable] an instruction given by someone in a position of authority
    give an order:

    Try to persuade your employees – don’t just give orders.

    take orders from someone (=obey someone):

    I don’t have to take orders from you or anyone else!

    order to do something:

    Captain Turner gave the order to fire.

    obey/disobey orders:

    The colonel admitted that he had disobeyed orders.

    have orders/be under orders to do something (=to have been officially told to do something):

    The guards have orders to shoot anyone breaking into the compound.

    by order of someone (=according to someone’s instructions):

    The documents were burned by order of the king.

    1. a.
      a legal document that says what someone must or must not do

      an eviction order

  4. 4
    [uncountable] a situation in which people obey the law and follow the accepted rules of social behaviour
    social/public order:

    Violent protests in the street revealed a breakdown of social order.

    maintain/restore order:

    The new president’s most urgent task will be to maintain order.

    1. a.
      the fact of obeying the rules of a formal meeting, for example in a parliament
      call/bring a meeting to order (=make everyone start obeying the rules):

      The Chair called the meeting to order.

  5. 5
    [uncountable] a situation in which everything is well organized or arranged

    I’m trying to bring a bit of order to the garden.

    in order:

    I want to get my accounts in order before I leave.

     Synonyms and related words
    See also house
  6. 6
    [singular] the general situation at a particular time, especially the existing political, economic, or social system that is used at a particular time

    With the arrival of industrialization, the old social order was slowly breaking down.

    the established/existing order:

    Anti-capitalist protesters are seen as a threat to the existing order.

  7. 7
    [singular] formal a particular type or quality

    We accept that peaceful protest should be allowed, but this is something of a very different order.

    Storms of this order are fortunately quite rare.

    of a high/the highest order (=of the best or worst type):

    The job calls for problem-solving skills of a high order.

    It was economic lunacy of the highest order.

  8. 9
    [countable] biology a large group of plants or animals that are related to each other. An order includes more than a family and less than a class.