American English

Definition of order noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable, countable] the way in which people or things are placed or arranged in relation to each other The names are listed in alphabetical order. in chronological/numerical order arranged in order of priority/importance/size The results, ranked in descending/ascending order, are as follows: All the procedures must be done in the correct order. Let's take the problems in a different order.
  2. 2[uncountable] the state of being carefully and neatly arranged It was time for her to get her life in order. The house had been kept in good order. Get your ideas into some sort of order before you begin to write. It is one of the functions of art to bring order out of chaos. opposite disorder
  3. controlled state
  4. 3[uncountable] the state that exists when people obey laws, rules, or authority The army has been sent in to maintain order in the capital. Some teachers find it difficult to keep their classes in order. The police are trying to restore public order. The argument continued until the chairman called them both to order (= ordered them to obey the formal rules of the meeting). compare disorder see also point of order
  5. instructions
  6. 4[countable] something that someone is told to do by someone in authority order (for somebody/something to do something) He gave orders for the work to be started. order (to do something) The general gave the order to advance. I'm under orders not to let anyone in. She takes orders only from the president. Dogs can be trained to obey orders. (informal) No sugar for me—doctor's orders. Interest rates are controlled by order of the Fed.
  7. goods
  8. 5[countable, uncountable] order (for something) a request to make or supply goods I would like to place an order for ten copies of this book. an order form The machine parts are still on order (= they have been ordered but have not yet been received). These items can be made to order (= produced especially for a particular customer). see also mail order, mail order
  9. 6[countable] goods supplied in response to a particular order that someone has placed The office supplies order is here.
  10. food/drinks
  11. 7[countable] a request for food or drinks in a restaurant, bar etc.; the food or drinks that you ask for May Itake your order? two orders of fried shrimp to go a side order (= for example, vegetables or salad that you eat with your main dish) Topic CollocationsRestaurantseating out eat (lunch/dinner)/dine/meet at/in a restaurant go (out)/take somebody (out) for lunch/dinner/a meal have a meal with somebody make/have a reservation (in/under the name of Baker) reserve a table for six ask for/request a table for two/a table by the windowin the restaurant wait to be seated show somebody to their table sit in the corner/by the window/at the bar/at the counter hand somebody/give somebody the menu/wine list open/read/study/peruse the menu the restaurant has a three-course set menu/a children's menu/an extensive wine list taste/sample/try the wine the waiter takes your order order/choose/have the soup of the day/one of the specials/the house specialty serve/finish the appetizers/the first course/the main course/dessert/coffee complain about the food/the service/your meal enjoy your mealpaying pay/ask for the check/the bill pay for/treat somebody to dinner/lunch/the meal a gratuity/a service charge is (not) included give somebody/leave (somebody) a tip
  12. legal document
  13. 8[countable] a legal document from a court or judge stating that something must happen a judge's order forbidding the reporting of evidence a restraining order see also court order
  14. system
  15. 9[countable, usually singular] (formal) the way that a society, the world, etc. is arranged, with its system of rules and customs a change in the political and social order the natural order of things He was seen as a threat to the established order. Anew order seems to be emerging. The old order in Europe disappeared after World War I.
  16. biology
  17. 10[countable] a group into which animals, plants, etc. that have similar characteristics are divided, smaller than a class and larger than a family the order of primates compare genus
  18. religious community
  19. 11[countable] a group of people living in a religious community, especially monks or nuns religious orders the Benedictine order
  20. special honor
  21. 12[countable] a group of people who have been given a special honor by a queen, king, president, etc. The Order of the Garter is an ancient order of chivalry.
  22. organization or society
  23. 13[countable] a society whose members help each other and who meet for special ceremonies the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks see also money order, standing order
  24. Idioms
    be in/take (holy) orders
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    to be/become a priest
    be a tall order (informal)
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    to be very difficult to do
    call somebody/something to order
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    to ask people in a meeting to be quiet so that the meeting can start or continue
    get your marching orders (informal)
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    to be ordered to leave a place, a job, etc.
    1. 1(of an official document) that can be used because it is all correct and legal synonym valid Is your work permit in order?
    2. 2(formal) as it should be Is everything in order, sir?
    3. 3if something is in order, it is a suitable thing to do or say on a particular occasion I think a drink would be in order.
    in order that.. (formal)
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    so that something can happen Everyone concerned must work together in order that we can reach an agreement on this issue.
    in order to do something
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    with the purpose or intention of doing or achieving something She arrived early in order to get a good seat. In order to get a complete picture, we will need further information. Language Bankprocessdescribing a process This diagram illustrates the process of paper-making. / This diagram shows how paper is made. First/First of all, logs are delivered to a paper mill, where the bark is removed and the wood is cut into small chips. Next/Second, the wood chips are pulped, either using chemicals or in a pulping machine. Pulping breaks down the internal structure of the wood and enables/allows the natural oils to be removed. Once/After the wood has been pulped, the pulp is bleached in order to remove impurities. /…is bleached so that impurities can be removed. The next stage is to feed the pulp into the paper machine, where it is mixed with water and then poured onto a wire conveyor belt. As the pulp travels along the conveyor belt, the water drains away. This causes the solid material to sink to the bottom, forming a layer of paper. At this point the new paper is still wet, so it is passed between large heated rollers, which press out the remaining water and simultaneously dry the paper. / …dry the paper at the same time. The final stage is to wind the paper onto large rolls. /Finally, the paper is wound onto large rolls.
    in running/working order
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    (especially of machines) working well The engine is now in perfect working order.
    in short order
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    quickly and without trouble
    law and order
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    a situation in which people obey the law and behave in a peaceful way The government struggled to maintain law and order. After the riots, the military was brought in to restore law and order. They claim to be the party of law and order.
    of a high order, of the highest/first order
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    of a high quality or degree; of the highest quality or greatest degree The job requires diplomatic skills of a high order. She was a snob of the first order.
    on the order of something (formal)
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    about something; approximately something She earns something on the order of $100,000 a year.
    the order of the day
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    common, popular, or suitable at a particular time or for a particular occasion Pessimism seems to be the order of the day.
    Order! Order!
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    used to remind people to obey the rules of a formal meeting or debate
      out of order
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    1. 1(of a machine, etc.) not working correctly The phone is out of order.
    2. 2not arranged correctly or neatly I checked the files, and some of the papers were out of order.
    3. 3(formal) not allowed by the rules of a formal meeting or debate His objection was ruled out of order.
    a/the pecking order (informal) (often humorous)
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    the order of importance in relation to one another among the members of a group synonym hi‧er‧ar‧chy The Lakers are at the top of the pecking order of NBA teams. to be first in the pecking order
    put/set your (own) house in order
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    to organize your own business or improve your own behavior before you try to criticize someone else
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: order