a smokeless, slow-burning powder composed of 30 to 58 percent nitroglycerin, 37 to 65 percent cellulose nitrate, and 5 to 6 percent mineral jelly.

Nearby words

  1. cordillera oriental,
  2. cordillera real,
  3. cordilleras,
  4. cording,
  5. cordis,
  6. cordless,
  7. cordless telephone,
  8. cordo-,
  9. cordoba,
  10. cordon

Origin of cordite

1885–90; cord + -ite1, so called from its cordlike form

Also called pyrocellulose. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cordite

British Dictionary definitions for cordite



any of various explosive materials used for propelling bullets, shells, etc, containing cellulose nitrate, sometimes mixed with nitroglycerine, plasticizers, and stabilizers

Word Origin for cordite

C19: from cord + -ite 1, referring to its stringy appearance

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cordite



smokeless explosive, 1889, from cord + -ite (2); so called for its "curiously string-like appearance" in the words of a newspaper of the day.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for cordite



An explosive powder consisting of nitrocellulose, nitroglycerin, and petroleum jelly, used as a propellant for guns. It does not generate smoke and is shaped into cords.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.