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[awr-dn-uh ns] /ˈɔr dn əns/
an authoritative rule or law; a decree or command.
a public injunction or regulation:
a city ordinance against excessive horn blowing.
something believed to have been ordained, as by a deity or destiny.
  1. an established rite or ceremony.
  2. a sacrament.
  3. the communion.
1275-1325; Middle English ordinaunce (< Old French ordenance) < Medieval Latin ordinantia, derivative of Latin ordinant- (stem of ordināns), present participle of ordināre to arrange. See ordination, -ance
Related forms
preordinance, noun
Can be confused
ordinance, ordnance, ordonnance.
1,2. order. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for ordinances
  • Over the past few years many cities have, in response to public pressure, relaxed ordinances against the birds.
  • Many communities nationwide have implemented breed-specific ordinances in hopes of decreasing such incidents.
  • It's possible to conform to local laws and ordinances, but fail to account for a lender requirement as well.
  • But the law is difficult to enforce and, unlike other ordinances covering gender and disability, exempts many government bodies.
  • For information regarding other ordinances, please contact us.
  • The website version of these ordinances is for citizen convenience.
  • In addition to the index, the ordinances are divided into eight main sections.
  • ordinances are laws adopted by local agencies such as cities or counties.
  • Its ordinances have to be enacted with a majority in both linguistic groups.
British Dictionary definitions for ordinances


an authoritative regulation, decree, law, or practice
Word Origin
C14: from Old French ordenance, from Latin ordināre to set in order
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 ordinances



c.1300, "an authoritative direction, decree, or command" (narrower or more transitory than a law), from Old French ordenance (Modern French ordonnance) or directly from Medieval Latin ordinantia, from Latin ordinantem (nominative ordinans), present participle of ordinare "put in order" (see ordain). By early 14c. senses had emerged of "arrangement in ranks or rows" (especially in order of battle), also "warlike provisions, equipment" (a sense now in ordnance).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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