ordinance

noun
or·​di·​nance | \ˈȯrd-nən(t)s, ˈȯr-də-nən(t)s\

Definition of ordinance 

1a : an authoritative decree or direction : order On that day the king signed three ordinances.

b : a law set forth by a governmental authority specifically : a municipal regulation A city ordinance forbids construction work to start before 8 a.m.

2 : something ordained or decreed by fate or a deity Let ordinance come as the gods foresay [=foretell] it.— William Shakespeare

3 : a prescribed usage, practice, or ceremony observes the ordinance of abstinence during Lent

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of ordinance in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

An ordinance that requires all products be lab tested and tracked went into effect this summer, leading many to brace for a supply shortage. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Cannabis, coworking, and the marijuana-industry land rush," 24 July 2018 Constant, one of the Anchorage Assemblymembers helping draft an ordinance for a ban, said Anchorage should follow the example set by other towns, like Wasilla in Palmer, to stem trash problems. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Somebody’s got to do it.’ Anchorage Assembly members consider banning plastic shopping bags," 8 July 2018 In 2011, protesters rallied at a park downtown against an ordinance that prohibited the official flying of the Confederate battle flag alongside the US, state, and city flags. Jessica Mendoza, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Red Hen aftermath, a community wades through nation's vitriol," 29 June 2018 If the council were to adopt the LID ordinance, protests would be accepted for an additional 30 days. Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times, "Seattle’s waterfront-overhaul plan meeting resistance from the people who are supposed to foot the $200M bill for it," 26 Oct. 2018 The clerk’s office keeps all City Council meeting agendas, minutes, legislation, ordinances, etc. Laura Mcgann, Vox, "John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the rise of reality TV politics," 26 Aug. 2018 Upper Arlington has a strong anti-solicitation ordinance, and the Sharps had been warned against putting their deliveries on the steps of people who didn't want them. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., chicagotribune.com, "'First day of paper route and we are pulled over by police:' The latest in #LivingWhileBlack," 11 July 2018 Benjamin believes that the ordinance — which was indeed invalidated, but not until after the marches — saved lives. NBC News, "'We don't have to accept the carnage': Towns take a stand on gun control," 2 July 2018 The City Council unanimously voted during a meeting on Tuesday to direct staff to draft the ordinance, which would be similar to what Pasadena offers its residents. Anthony Clark Carpio, latimes.com, "Burbank to consider relocation assistance for renters," 30 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ordinance.' 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 ordinance

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for ordinance

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

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Statistics for ordinance

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ordinance

The first known use of ordinance was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for ordinance

ordinance

noun

English Language Learners Definition of ordinance

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

ordinance

noun
or·​di·​nance | \ˈȯr-də-nəns \

Kids Definition of ordinance

: a law or regulation especially of a city or town

ordinance

noun
or·​di·​nance | \ˈȯrd-ᵊn-əns \

Legal Definition of ordinance 

: an authoritative decree or law especially : a municipal regulation a zoning ordinance

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