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[kawr-dahyt] /ˈkɔr daɪt/
a smokeless, slow-burning powder composed of 30 to 58 percent nitroglycerin, 37 to 65 percent cellulose nitrate, and 5 to 6 percent mineral jelly.
Also called pyrocellulose.
Origin of cordite
1885-90; cord + -ite1, so called from its cordlike form Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for cordite


any of various explosive materials used for propelling bullets, shells, etc, containing cellulose nitrate, sometimes mixed with nitroglycerine, plasticizers, and stabilizers
Word Origin
C19: from cord + -ite1, referring to its stringy appearance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cordite

smokeless explosive, 1889, from cord + -ite (2); so called for its "curiously string-like appearance" in the words of a newspaper of the day.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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cordite in Science
An explosive powder consisting of nitrocellulose, nitroglycerin, and petroleum jelly, used as a propellant for guns. It does not generate smoke and is shaped into cords.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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