an authoritative rule or law; a decree or command.
a public injunction or regulation: a city ordinance against excessive horn blowing.
something believed to have been ordained, as by a deity or destiny.
  1. an established rite or ceremony.
  2. a sacrament.
  3. the communion.

Origin of ordinance

1275–1325; Middle English ordinaunce (< Old French ordenance) < Medieval Latin ordinantia, derivative of Latin ordinant- (stem of ordināns), present participle of ordināre to arrange. See ordination, -ance
Related formspre·or·di·nance, noun
Can be confusedordinance ordnance ordonnance

Synonyms for ordinance

1, 2. order.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ordinance

Contemporary Examples of ordinance

Historical Examples of ordinance

  • And the sacred "ordinance," with all other proprieties, was left in ruins that day.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • "If there were not an ordinance against the hurling of missiles," finished the widower.

  • "Your Majesty's ordinance as to duelling is receiving our best attention," he assured me.

  • Where is an ordinance about pleasure similar to that about pain to be found in your laws?



  • It is the old Icelandic ordinance, but it has gone from Iceland.

British Dictionary definitions for ordinance



an authoritative regulation, decree, law, or practice

Word Origin for ordinance

C14: from Old French ordenance, from Latin ordināre to set in order
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 ordinance

c.1300, "an authoritative direction, decree, or command" (narrower or more transitory than a law), from Old French ordenance (Modern French ordonnance) or directly from Medieval Latin ordinantia, from Latin ordinantem (nominative ordinans), present participle of ordinare "put in order" (see ordain). By early 14c. senses had emerged of "arrangement in ranks or rows" (especially in order of battle), also "warlike provisions, equipment" (a sense now in ordnance).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper