The Meaning of "Higher Order"
The phrase "higher order" is used throughout logic and computer science, though not necessarily with a precise or consistent meaning in all cases.
In logic, first-order quantification refers to the kind of universal and existential ( and ) quantifiers that you see in CS 2800. These let you quantify over some domain of interest, such as the natural numbers. But for any given quantification, say , the variable being quantified represents an individual element of that domain, say the natural number 42.
Second-order quantification lets you do something strictly more powerful, which is to quantify over properties of the domain. Properties are assertions about individual elements, for example, that a natural number is even, or that it is prime. In some logics we can equate properties with sets of individual, for example the set of all even naturals. So second-order quantification is often thought of as quantification over sets. You can also think of properties as being functions that take in an element and return a Boolean indicating whether the element satisfies the property; this is called the characteristic function of the property.
Third-order logic would allow quantification over properties of properties, and fourth-order over properties of properties of properties, and so forth. Higher-order logic refers to all these logics that are more powerful than first-order logic; though one interesting result in this area is that all higher-order logics can be expressed in second-order logic.
In programming languages, first-order functions similarly refer to functions that operate on individual data elements (e.g., strings, ints, records, variants, etc.). Whereas higher-order function can operate on functions, much like higher-order logics can quantify over over properties (which are like functions).