Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Military materiel, such as weapons, ammunition, combat vehicles, and equipment.
  • n. The branch of an armed force that procures, maintains, and issues weapons, ammunition, and combat vehicles.
  • n. Cannon; artillery.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. military equipment, especially weapons and ammunition.
  • n. artillery.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Heavy weapons of warfare; cannon, or great guns, mortars, and howitzers; artillery; sometimes, a general term for all weapons, ammunitiion, and appliances used in war.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Cannon or great guns collectively, including mortars and howitzers; artillery.
  • n. A board composed of United States ordnance-officers distinguished for their attainments in the theory and practice of heavy ordnance, its construction and use, whose duty it is to conduct experiments, and test and report upon all ordnance subjects referred to it by the chief of ordnance. This board is designated by the Secretary of War, and is advisory to the chief of ordnance of the army.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. military supplies
  • n. large but transportable armament

Etymologies

Middle English ordnaunce, variant of ordinaunce, order, military provision; see ordinance.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
A reduced form of ordinance, which is attested from the late 14th century in the sense of "military equipment or provisions". The sense of "artillery" arises in the early 15th century, the sense "military logistics" in the late 15th century. The shortened form ordnance arises by the 17th century, now distinct in meaning from the surviving meanings of ordinance. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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