ord·​nance ˈȯrd-nən(t)s How to pronounce ordnance (audio)
: military supplies including weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and maintenance tools and equipment
bombers dropped heavy concentrations of ordnance on every targeted airfieldRon Dick
: a service of the army charged with the procuring, distributing, and safekeeping of ordnance
: cannon, artillery
Several pieces of ordnance bombarded the entrenched enemy.

Examples of ordnance in a Sentence

The company was outfitted with 50-millimeter ordnance. the army is waiting for the heavy ordnance to be brought in
Recent Examples on the Web Authorities and aid groups have voiced concern about the spread of waterborne diseases and shifting of explosive ordnance from Libya's recent conflicts. Samy Magdy and Yousef Mourad The Associated Press, Arkansas Online, 17 Sep. 2023 Others are attack drones, dropping ordnance or exploding on impact, killing Russian soldiers hiding in trenches, blowing up tanks on the front lines, striking artillery pieces hidden in tree lines and hitting stockpiles of munitions and key supply lines. Ian Pannell, ABC News, 14 Sep. 2023 Key developments Blinken visited a border guard facility in the Kyiv region, a field that is being cleared of unexploded Russian ordnance northeast of the capital and a nearby school that is being turned into a museum after Russian forces held hostages there. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 7 Sep. 2023 In the summer of 2003, not long after U.S. forces had taken Baghdad, a group of Marines was clearing unexploded ordnance in central Iraq when one of the small grenades littering the ground detonated. John Ismay, New York Times, 3 Sep. 2023 Gustafson was an explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the 716th Ordnance Company, the statement said. Anchorage Daily News, 6 Sep. 2023 Back in 2020, however, New York passed a 1949 ordnance. David G.w. Birch, Forbes, 16 July 2023 Advertisement The International Committee of the Red Cross said in 2010 that between 10 and 40 percent of ordnance released by cluster munitions used in recent conflicts failed to explode immediately, presenting a major threat to civilians. Júlia Ledur, Washington Post, 7 July 2023 Almost 20,000 people were killed by exploding landmines and other ordnance between 1979 and August 2022, according to the Cambodian Mine Action and Victim Assistance Authorities. Time, 15 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ordnance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English ordinaunce, from Anglo-French ordenance disposition, preparation, military provisions — more at ordinance

First Known Use

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

Time Traveler
The first known use of ordnance was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near ordnance

Cite this Entry

“Ordnance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ordnance. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


ord·​nance ˈȯrd-nən(t)s How to pronounce ordnance (audio)
: military supplies
also : the branch of the army that obtains and gives out military supplies

More from Merriam-Webster on ordnance

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