From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English ordinaunce (ca. 1300), from Old French ordenance (decree, command) (modern French ordonnance), from Medieval Latin ordinantia, from ordinans, the present participle of ordino (put in order) (whence ordain). Doublet of ordonnance.



ordinance (plural ordinances)

  1. (US) A local law, passed by e.g. a city.
  2. An edict or decree, authoritative order.
    1. (England) Prior to the Third English Civil War, a decree of Parliament.
    2. (UK, pre-1992 universities, Commonwealth) Detailed legislation that translates the broad principles of the university's charter and statutes into practical effect.
    3. (Hong Kong) A law enacted by the Hong Kong Legislative Council.[1]
    4. (India, Pakistan) A temporary legislation promulgated by the president on the recommendation of the cabinet.
  3. A religious practice or ritual prescribed by a church.
    Coordinate term: sacrament
  4. (proscribed) Alternative form of ordnance (military equipment, especially artillery).
    • 2001 November 16, Andrew E. Mathis, The King Arthur Myth in Modern American Literature, McFarland, →ISBN, page 196:
      The battered walls of Fort Sumter were reinforced, and heavier caliber ordinance was mounted in the embrasures, doubling the firepower , []
    • 2012 03, John Christgau, Birch Coulie: The Epic Battle of the Dakota War, U of Nebraska Press, →ISBN, page 57:
      The ordinance officer at Fort Ridgely had packed.62 caliber rather than .58 caliber ammunition. There was no point in any of the men remonstrating over the stupidity of the ordinance officer.
    • 2012 July 13, Gerard de Marigny, Rise to the Call, JarRyJorNo Publishing, →ISBN:
      Large caliber ordinance was already ripping into the floor just in front of them. She grabbed his arm and shouted the best she could, “Do you know how ... to fire a weapon, Skully?”

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

With prefixes



  1. ^ Law Drafting Division, Department of Justice (2012), chapter 1.1, in Drafting Legislation in Hong Kong — A Guide to Styles and Practices[1], 1.1.1, page 1: “Hong Kong legislation consists of laws enacted by the Legislative Council (LegCo), which are known as “Ordinances”...”