[ awrd-nuh ns ]
/ ˈɔrd nəns /


cannon or artillery.
military weapons with their equipment, ammunition, etc.
the branch of an army that procures, stores, and issues, weapons, munitions, and combat vehicles and maintains arsenals for their development and testing.


Nearby words

  1. ordinary wave,
  2. ordinary-language philosophy,
  3. ordinate,
  4. ordination,
  5. ordn.,
  6. ordnance datum,
  7. ordnance survey,
  8. ordo,
  9. ordonnance,
  10. ordos

Origin of ordnance

First recorded in 1620–30; syncopated variant of ordinance

Can be confusedordinance ordnance ordonnance

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

Examples from the Web for ordnance

British Dictionary definitions for ordnance


/ (ˈɔːdnəns) /


cannon or artillery
military supplies; munitions
the ordnance a department of an army or government dealing with military supplies

Word Origin for ordnance

C14: variant of ordinance

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 ordnance



"cannon, artillery," 1540s, a clipped form of ordinance (q.v.) which was attested from late 14c. in the sense of "military materials, provisions of war;" a sense now obsolete but which led to those of "engines for discharging missiles" (early 15c.) and "branch of the military concerned with stores and materials" (late 15c.). The shorter word was established in these distinct senses by 17c. Ordnance survey (1833), official survey of Great Britain and Ireland, was undertaken by the government under the direction of the Master-General of the Ordnance (a natural choice, because gunners have to be skilled at surveying ranges and distances).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper