The Orderly Root of Order

Order is an important concept. Being able to group things in different patterns and organize them, from disorderly to orderly, general to specific, specific to general, is used in our daily lives, which prompts the question: where do we get the word “order” from? Order comes from the Latin root ordo, which appears in the base form of -ordo-. Here are a few instances in which it is used:


Orderliness- The state of being in order, of being arranged
Disorder- Chaos, disarray; from dis-, meaning apart, so “apart from order”
Ordinary- Average, normal
(In-)Ordinance- 1) A rule or decree 2) Excessiveness or immoderateness; from in-, meaning not, so “not in order
Coordinate- Equal, parallel; from co-, meaning together, so “together in order
Subordinate- Below in ranking, inferior; from sub-, meaning under, so “under order
Insubordinate- Stubborn, rebellious; from in-, meaning not, and sub-, meaning under, so “not under order

For further reading: NTC’s Dictionary of Latin and Greek Origins by Bob Moore (1997)


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