noun or·di·nance \ˈrd-nən(t)s, ˈr-də-nən(t)s\

: a law or regulation made by a city or town government

Full Definition of ORDINANCE

a :  an authoritative decree or direction :  order
b :  a law set forth by a governmental authority; specifically :  a municipal regulation
:  something ordained or decreed by fate or a deity
:  a prescribed usage, practice, or ceremony

Examples of ORDINANCE

  1. The town has passed a zoning ordinance limiting construction.
  2. <a local ordinance forbids all street parking during snowstorms>


Middle English, from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French ordenance order, disposition, from Medieval Latin ordinantia, from Latin ordinant-, ordinans, present participle of ordinare to put in order — more at ordain
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of ORDINANCE

law, rule, regulation, precept, statute, ordinance, canon mean a principle governing action or procedure. law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority <obey the law>. rule applies to more restricted or specific situations <the rules of the game>. regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system <regulations affecting nuclear power plants>. precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching <the precepts of effective writing>. statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body <a statute requiring the use of seat belts>. ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality <a city ordinance>. canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide <the canons of good taste>.

Other Legal Terms

actionable, alienable, carceral, chattel, complicity, decedent, larceny, malfeasance, modus operandi
ORDINANCE Defined for Kids


noun or·di·nance \ˈr-də-nəns\

Definition of ORDINANCE for Kids

:  a law or regulation especially of a city or town


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