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 airfield Ron 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.

Example Sentences

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 Months of crippling economic sanctions may be eroding Russia’s ability to wage war against Ukraine, with stockpiles of weapons, ammunition and heavy ordnance like the cruise missiles that hit Kyiv Monday running low. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 11 Oct. 2022 Last week, receding water levels in a Serbian stretch of the Danube, Europe’s second-largest river, surfaced a flotilla of Nazi-era German warships that were still packed with ammunition and unexploded ordnance. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2022 Eventually, an explosive ordnance disposal team determined the bag — a canvas gym-like bag of some kind, with random items inside — was safe, Dixon said. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Oct. 2022 And investigations by groups that have actually gone to the side examine the ordnance, interviewed people. CBS News, 12 Oct. 2022 Forbes’ Ukraine staff estimated the price tag of the heavy ordnance to be anywhere between $400-$700 million. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 11 Oct. 2022 Extremist forces targeted a U.S.-controlled base in Syria with three rocket attacks Sunday, but the ordnance failed to strike U.S. forces or equipment. Anders Hagstrom, Fox News, 19 Sep. 2022 This new aid package, announced on September 28, also includes 150 Humvees, 150 tactical trucks for towing weapons, 22 radar systems, anti-drone weapons, communications equipment, explosive ordnance disposal equipment, and body armor. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 4 Oct. 2022 And the Marine Corps booth, featuring explosive ordnance disposal robots, was a popular destination for families with small kids. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

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 5 Dec. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.