lo·​gis·​tics | \ lō-ˈji-stiks How to pronounce logistics (audio) , 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

The port employs more than 100,000 people, helping fuel a logistics and trade sector that makes up nearly a quarter of the city’s economic activity. Joanne Chiu, WSJ, "Hong Kong Port Alliance Challenged by Cargo Owners," 13 Jan. 2019 Zhang was accused of improperly obtaining 31.9 million yuan ($4.9 million) from a government program for a logistics and information management project. Washington Post, "Chinese retail tycoon’s fraud conviction thrown out," 2 June 2018 With sufficient public investment, Mr Correa says, Paraguay could become an international logistics and manufacturing hub, and a major trading portal for Brazil. The Economist, "The son of an ex-dictator’s secretary is elected president of Paraguay," 28 Apr. 2018 Despite having built that gas station into an international logistics giant, Moroun's father Tufick did not leave his son controlling interest of the company: Moroun got 49%, his sisters the rest. Detroit Free Press, "Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun eyes 'twilight deal' as his son rises," 22 Mar. 2018 Goods-producing industries slashed payrolls by 32,000 jobs, potentially a signal of weaker output that would reduce demand for transportation and logistics services. Jennifer Smith, WSJ, "Parcel Carriers Slashed 9,700 Jobs in February," 8 Mar. 2019 Economists have warned Beijing might target service industries such as engineering or logistics, in which the United States runs a trade surplus with China. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "China puts off licenses for US companies amid tariff battle," 11 Sep. 2018 Giving yourself as much time as possible to sort out the logistics is really an act of kindness. Korin Miller, SELF, "6 Different End-of-Life Care Options to Know if You or a Loved One Is Sick," 18 Dec. 2018 Take, for example, Ryder, a transportation and logistics company based in Miami. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Companies who donated to Republicans made sure the tax cuts looked helpful for workers," 17 Dec. 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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Learn More about logistics

Statistics for logistics

Last Updated

5 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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