ord·​nance | \ˈȯrd-nən(t)s \

Definition of ordnance 

1a : military supplies including weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and maintenance tools and equipment bombers dropped heavy concentrations of ordnance on every targeted airfield— Ron Dick

b : a service of the army charged with the procuring, distributing, and safekeeping of ordnance

2 : cannon, artillery Several pieces of ordnance bombarded the entrenched enemy.

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Synonyms for ordnance


artillery, guns

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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

The now-56-year-old retired Navy explosive-ordnance-disposal technician served in the Bosnian War and later founded a military contracting firm. Jim Rendon, Marie Claire, "When Female Veterans Return Home," 29 Oct. 2018 Initially, explosives were strapped to the drone, thus creating flying IEDs for one-time-use, but later the group learned how to reuse drones by dropping grenades or other ordnances. Ulrike Franke, The Verge, "The Caracas drone attack won’t be the last of its kind," 17 Aug. 2018 The driver, who was not publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene as explosive-ordnance crews and Fairfield emergency officials responded. Alex Johnson /, NBC News, "Vehicle explodes at entrance to California Air Force base, killing driver," 22 Mar. 2018 University Heights residents were asked to shelter in place while a bomb squad investigated possible military ordnance discovered by a construction crew Tuesday morning. Lyndsay Winkley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Residents shelter in place after construction crew finds possible military ordnance," 22 May 2018 The Army Service units—ordnance, engineers, signal, medical, transportation, quartermaster and others—built up stock piles so large there was no chance of putting many under cover. Popular Mechanics, "How the D-Day Invasion Was Planned," 6 June 2017 The weapons loaders assemble ordnance and load bombers as though every mission is real. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "B-52 Bombers Could Quadruple Their Wing Bomb Loads," 25 June 2018 Despite the odds and the incoming ordnance, the citizens of Vicksburg retained their pluck and defiance to the bitter end. Russell S. Bonds, WSJ, "‘Vicksburg’ Review: The Falling Tide of Gray," 20 June 2018 Before any of that can happen, the Army would need to clean up unexploded ordnance from its tests, which could be costly and take a while. Hayden Carpenter, Outside Online, "Our Next National Park Could Be in New Mexico," 3 July 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for ordnance

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

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Statistics for ordnance

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for ordnance

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

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More Definitions for ordnance



English Language Learners Definition of ordnance

: military supplies including weapons, ammunition, armor, vehicles, etc.

: large, heavy guns on wheels


ord·​nance | \ˈȯrd-nəns \

Kids Definition of ordnance

1 : military supplies (as guns, ammunition, trucks, and tanks)

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More from Merriam-Webster on ordnance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ordnance

Spanish Central: Translation of ordnance

Nglish: Translation of ordnance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ordnance for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ordnance

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


to enclose within walls

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