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From Middle English ordeynen, from Old French ordiner, from Latin ordinare (to order), from ordo (order). Doublet of ordinate.



ordain (third-person singular simple present ordains, present participle ordaining, simple past and past participle ordained)

  1. To prearrange unalterably.
  2. To decree.
    • 1961 November, H. G. Ellison, P. G. Barlow, “Journey through France: Part One”, in Trains Illustrated, page 668:
      On once more we swung, bumping uneasily along in the antique narrow-gauge coach, with gloomy woods and gathering night outside, shouts and songs (and quacks) inside—this was not at all the sort of train ordained by the logical strategists in Paris—then grinding to a stop at a mysterious halt which was no more than a nameboard in the pinewoods, without even a footpath leading to it, but nevertheless with a solitary passenger stolidly waiting.
  3. (religion) To admit into the ministry, for example as a priest, bishop, minister or Buddhist monk, or to authorize as a rabbi.
  4. To predestine.


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