Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Ordinance or Ordnance?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between ordinance and ordnance?

Ordinance is a noun denoting an authoritative rule or regulation.
  • Slavery was abolished by a royal ordinance in 1897.
Ordnance is a mass noun referring to military materiel or artillery.
  • Do not touch any military ordnance that may be found lying around this area.


The noun ordinance is an authoritative order or regulation.

  • No law or ordinance is mightier than understanding. (Plato)
  • Law: an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community. (Thomas Aquinas)


The mass noun ordnance refers to military materiel (e.g., weapons, ammunition, fuel).

  • The guns are a new and impressive addition of ordnance.
  • Military aircrafts can be used to carry a wide variety of ordnance.
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