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The FindLaw Legal Dictionary -- free access to over 8260 definitions of legal terms. Search for a definition or browse our legal glossaries.



order n

1 : a state of peace, freedom from unruly behavior, and respect for law and proper authority [maintain law and ]
2 : an established mode or state of procedure [a call to ]
3 a : a mandate from a superior authority see also executive order
b : a ruling or command made by a competent administrative authority
: one resulting from administrative adjudication and subject to judicial review and enforcement [an administrative may not be inconsistent with the Constitution "Wells v. State, 654 So. 2d 145 (1995)"]
c : an authoritative command issued by the court [violated a court and was jailed for contempt]

cease-and-de·sist order
[sēs-ənd-di-zist-, -sist-]
: an order from a court or quasi-judicial tribunal to stop engaging in a particular activity or practice (as an unfair labor practice) compare injunction, mandamus, stay

consent order
: an agreement of litigating parties that by consent takes the form of a court order

final order
: an order of a court or quasi-judicial tribunal which leaves nothing further to be determined or accomplished in that forum except execution of the judgment and from which an appeal will lie

gag order
: an order barring public disclosure or discussion (as by the involved parties or the press) of information relating to a case

order to show cause
: an order requiring the prospective object of a legal action to show cause why that action should not take place called also show cause order

pretrial order
: a court order setting out the rulings, stipulations, and other actions taken at a pretrial conference

protection order
: restraining order in this entry

protective order
: an order issued for the protection of a particular party: as
a : an order that limits, denies, or defers discovery by a party in order to prevent undue embarrassment, expense, oppression, or disclosure of trade secrets
b : restraining order in this entry

qualified domestic relations order
: an order, decree, or judgment that satisfies the criteria set out in section 414 of the Internal Revenue Code for the payment of all or part of individual pension, profit sharing, or retirement benefits usually to a divorcing spouse (as for alimony or child support) NOTE: The alienation or assignment of funds under a qualified domestic relations order does not affect the tax status of the plan from which such funds are paid.

re·strain·ing order
1 : temporary restraining order in this entry
2 : an order of a specified duration issued after a hearing attended by all parties that is intended to protect one individual from violence, abuse, harassment, or stalking by another esp. by prohibiting or restricting access or proximity to the protected party [excluded from the home by a restraining order issued because of domestic violence] called also protection order protective order compare temporary restraining order in this entry

show cause order
: order to show cause in this entry

tem·po·rary restraining order
1 : an order of brief duration that is issued ex parte to protect the plaintiff's rights from immediate and irreparable injury by preserving a situation or preventing an act until a hearing for a preliminary injunction can be held
2 : a protective order issued ex parte for a brief period prior to a hearing on a restraining order attended by both parties and intended to provide immediate protection from violence or threatened violence

turn·over order
: an order commanding one party to turn over property to another
: an order commanding a judgment debtor to turn over assets to a judgment creditor [turnover order in aid of execution "California Code of Civil Procedure"]
c : a command issued by a military superior
4 a : a direction regarding the party to whom a negotiable instrument shall be paid [pay to the of John Doe] see also money order, negotiable instrument
b : an instruction or authorization esp. to buy or sell goods or securities or to perform work [a purchase ] [a work ]

alternative order
: an order to a broker in which alternative methods of carrying out the order (as by buying or selling) are set forth

open order
1 : an order to buy securities or commodity futures that remains effective until filled or canceled
2 : an order for merchandise expressed in very general terms so that the seller has considerable latitude in selecting the articles actually provided

stop order
: an order to a broker to buy or sell a security when the price advances or declines to a designated level
c : goods or items bought or sold [the was received in good condition]

to order
: according to the specifications of an order esp. of a bearer or endorsee [payable to bearer or to order]

adj : payable to a named person or to an individual that person names by an endorsement [ instrument] compare bearer

Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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