Synonym Chooser

How is the word ordinance distinct from other similar nouns?

Some common synonyms of ordinance are canon, law, precept, regulation, rule, and statute. While all these words mean "a principle governing action or procedure," ordinance applies to an order governing some detail of procedure or conduct enforced by a limited authority such as a municipality.

a city ordinance

When can canon be used instead of ordinance?

The words canon and ordinance can be used in similar contexts, but canon suggests in nonreligious use a principle or rule of behavior or procedure commonly accepted as a valid guide.

the canons of good taste

In what contexts can law take the place of ordinance?

The meanings of law and ordinance largely overlap; however, law implies imposition by a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience on the part of all subject to that authority.

obey the law

When is precept a more appropriate choice than ordinance?

While in some cases nearly identical to ordinance, precept commonly suggests something advisory and not obligatory communicated typically through teaching.

the precepts of effective writing

Where would regulation be a reasonable alternative to ordinance?

While the synonyms regulation and ordinance are close in meaning, regulation implies prescription by authority in order to control an organization or system.

regulations affecting nuclear power plants

When might rule be a better fit than ordinance?

The synonyms rule and ordinance are sometimes interchangeable, but rule applies to more restricted or specific situations.

the rules of the game

When could statute be used to replace ordinance?

The words statute and ordinance are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, statute implies a law enacted by a legislative body.

a statute requiring the use of seat belts

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Cite this Entry

“Ordinance.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/ordinance. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

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