lo·​gis·​tics | \lō-ˈji-stiks, lə-\

Definition of logistics 

1 : the aspect of military science dealing with the procurement, maintenance, and transportation of military matériel, facilities, and personnel

2 : the handling of the details of an operation the logistics of a political campaign

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How are logistics and logic related?

Logistics follows the same pattern of other plural nouns—such as ballistics, linguistics, statistics, or physics—that represent fields of study and take either a singular or plural verb.

Logic, used strictly in the singular, is a science that deals with the formal principles of reason. If a visitor walks in the house with wet hair, it is logical for one to assume that it is raining outside. Logistics, which involves such concerns as the delivery of personnel or supplies in an efficient manner, can often employ logic, such as by reasoning out the path least likely to interrupt the flow of a delivery:

As with many other areas of the economy, the digital revolution is having a profound effect on delivery logistics. The combination of mobile computing, analytics, and cloud services, all of which are fueled by the Internet of Things (IoT), is changing how delivery and fulfillment companies are conducting their operations.
—Andrew Meola, Business Insider, 14 Oct. 2016

Both logic and logistics ultimately derive from the Greek logos, meaning "reason." But while logic derives directly from Greek, logistics took a longer route, first passing into French as logistique, meaning "art of calculating," and then into English from there.

Examples of logistics in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

While at Henkel, Mr. Pilz led an effort to outsource its North American logistics operations by hiring a third-logistics provider to manage all its relationships with shipping and logistics providers. Erica E. Phillips, WSJ, "Logistics Movers: Honeywell Names Former SpaceX, Amazon Executive to Run Supply Chain," 9 July 2018 Rockport couldn’t separate itself from Adidas’ logistics network until last November. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, "Rockport ends up in bankruptcy court with a buyer in the wings," 14 May 2018 The BrainOS platform will power Savioke robots for hotels, hospital and logistics industries. Mike Freeman, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego's Brain Corp. invests in robotics startup to push its AI tech into new industries," 5 July 2018 The North Korean delegation is led by Kim Chang-son, a top logistics and protocol official, Yonhap said. Motoko Rich, New York Times, "Trump and Abe to Meet Before North Korea Summit," 28 May 2018 The White House's top logistics official, deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin, was deployed to Singapore this weekend to finalize details with North Korea counterparts. Kevin Liptak And Jeremy Diamond, CNN, "From grin to grim: Inside the Trump-Kim summit collapse," 24 May 2018 One of Germany’s largest electric fleets is owned by Deutsche Post DHL, a logistics giant, and includes around 12,000 e-bikes and e-trikes (three-wheeled ones). The Economist, "How two-wheelers are weaving their way into urban transport," 21 June 2018 That could lead to a logistics problem, though, with tournaments in another state. Shelby Dermer, Cincinnati.com, "Sports parents give advice to others on how to budget time effectively," 20 June 2018 Matthew Harrison Martland, former director of distribution and logistics, aiding and abetting the altering of county of origin marks, the Times News reported. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "Boots said ‘Made in the USA,’ and the military bought thousands. They were from China," 13 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'logistics.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of logistics

circa 1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for logistics

French logistique art of calculating, logistics, from Greek logistikē art of calculating, from feminine of logistikos of calculation, from logizein to calculate, from logos reason

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Time Traveler for logistics

The first known use of logistics was circa 1861

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More Definitions for logistics

Financial Definition of logistics

What It Is

Logistics is the integration and management of the product value chain from suppliers to the customer.  It includes all aspects of the chain of production, including design, suppliers, financing, information, energy, transportation, distribution, and sales.

How It Works

Logistics involves the integration of the production and delivery of a product or service in order to ensure efficient and effective management.  Originally, logistics was used in the military to coordinate the delivery of soldiers and weapons to the right place at the right time.  The critical nature of the place and timing in war required special integration and precision.

Logistics consists of identifying the steps in a production value chain, ensuring just in time (JIT) delivery of the inputs for an assembly process, coordinating the flow of information, and the scheduling of delivery.   As the diagram shows, logistics manages the flow from supplier to customer in order to ensure that supply and product inventory is not accumulated or wasted. An efficient production and delivery process prevents the tying up or loss of valuable capital.

While logistics is a process used by many companies (made famous by Walmart, for example), it is used increasingly as a business model by various warehouse and distribution companies (such as UPS and Fedex).

Why It Matters

Logistics manages the flow of supplies to match the needs of the producer with the schedule of sales to customers.  Logistics coordinates the flow of information, providing feedback about sales, financing when due, and the delivery of product from various suppliers.  With the increase in global sources of suppliers as well as global consumer markets, the use of logistics to coordinate production and distribution is growing in importance.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of logistics

: the things that must be done to plan and organize a complicated activity or event that involves many people

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Comments on logistics

What made you want to look up logistics? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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