Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.
  • transitive v. To authorize as a rabbi.
  • transitive v. To order by virtue of superior authority; decree or enact.
  • transitive v. To prearrange unalterably; predestine: by fate ordained. See Synonyms at dictate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to prearrange unalterably
  • v. to decree
  • v. to admit into the ministry of the Christian church
  • v. to authorize as a rabbi
  • v. to predestine

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To set in order; to arrange according to rule; to regulate; to set; to establish.
  • transitive v. To regulate, or establish, by appointment, decree, or law; to constitute; to decree; to appoint; to institute.
  • transitive v. To set apart for an office; to appoint.
  • transitive v. To invest with ministerial or sacerdotal functions; to introduce into the office of the Christian ministry, by the laying on of hands, or other forms; to set apart by the ceremony of ordination.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To set or place in proper order; arrange; prepare; make ready; hence, to construct or constitute with a view to a certain end.
  • To set up; establish; institute; appoint: order.
  • To dispose or regulate according to will or purpose; prescribe; give orders or directions for; command; enact; decree: used especially of the decrees of Providence or of fate; hence, to destine.
  • To set apart for an office; select; appoint.
  • To destine, set apart, etc., to a certain spiritual condition, or to the fulfilment of a certain providential purpose: especially in Biblical usage.
  • Eccles., to invest with ministerial or sacerdotal functions; confer holy orders upon; appoint to or formally introduce into the ministerial office: used especially of admission to the priesthood, as distinguished from making a deacon and consecrating a bishop. See ordination, 2.
  • Synonyms To destine, enact, order, prescribe, enjoin. In regard to the making of human laws or the acts of Providence, ordain is the most weighty and solemn word in use: as, the Mayor and Common Council do ordain; “the powers that be are ordained of God,”

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. invest with ministerial or priestly authority
  • v. appoint to a clerical posts
  • v. issue an order
  • v. order by virtue of superior authority; decree

Etymologies

Middle English ordeinen, from Old French ordener, ordein-, from Latin ōrdināre, to organize, appoint to office, from ōrdō, ōrdin-, order; see ar- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin ordinare ("to order"), from ordo ("order"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In reference to the word ordain, we shall speak under the sixth proposition.

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 3

  • The word "ordain" -- then and now -- means "to order by virtue of superior authority," meaning "We the people" are the superior authority.

    Jackson Williams: Glenn Beck, Unhinged in Texas

  • To deny that the elders have the right to ordain is to run directly against the expressed declaration of the Bible.

    Scraps of African Methodist Episcopal History

  • The best known inside the church was the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, a highly traditional French cleric who took his differences with Rome into open schism and was excommunicated, along with the four men he dared to "ordain" as bishops, in the year of our lord 1970.

    The Pope’s Denial Problem

  • We must never forget that it is "We the people ..." who have the power, the genius and the vision to "ordain" a better world for all humanity and achieve what was once thought to be beyond humanity's grasp: "a world that works for everyone."

    Give-Get Nation: Born on the Fourth of July

  • Give-Get Nation: Born on the Fourth of July yahooBuzzArticleHeadline = 'Give-Get Nation: Born on the Fourth of July'; yahooBuzzArticleSummary = 'Article: "We the people ..." who have the power, the genius and the vision to "ordain" a better world for all humanity and achieve what was once thought to be beyond humanity\'s grasp: "a world that works for everyone."'

    Give-Get Nation: Born on the Fourth of July

  • Nowadays, that is more true than ever, in the Catholic Church and particularly in those ecclesial communities that "ordain" women to the ministry—so much so that, if we did have women's ordination in the two communions that can plausibly claim historical and confessional continuity with the Church of the Apostles, I suspect the demographics would not take terribly long to yield a "priesthood" composed disproportionately of middle-aged and elderly women.

    Archive 2006-04-01

  • [240: 1] The word [Greek: katastêsês], here translated "ordain," should rather be rendered _constitute_, or _establish_.

    The Ancient Church Its History, Doctrine, Worship, and Constitution

  • "The diocese prays that all those involved in this attempt to 'ordain' ` Roman Catholic Womenpriests will be reconciled with the church, and that the harm and division caused will be healed," the Diocese of Venice, Fla., said in a statement.

    Clerical Whispers

  • But the reaction suggests that many readers didn't read the story the same way I did, especially once they had seen the problematic headline, and so I decided to rethink the use of a few words - especially "ordain" and "ordination" - in the story about the actual event.

    GetReligion

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