Share this entry

ordinance Syllabification: or·di·nance
Pronunciation: /ˈôrd(ə)nəns/

Definition of ordinance in English:


1North American A piece of legislation enacted by a municipal authority: a city ordinance banned smoking in nearly all types of restaurants
More example sentences
  • For instance, it is clear that where police enforce municipal ordinances against unlawful assembly, civil disturbance and harassment, anti-abortion protestors move to another location.
  • The South Hills municipality passed an ordinance this month banning smoking in public places for those under age 18.
  • Police representatives insisted that it was the responsibility of escorts to ensure they knew and abided by municipal, provincial and federal laws, ordinances and bylaws.
2An authoritative order; a decree.
Example sentences
  • The details regarding the narrow limits that exist on the right to use these rooms and tight controls over them have since been regulated in special state government ordinances in order to prevent misuse.
  • The Cabinet approved an ordinance regulating the inspections connected to direct control of the protection of classified information.
  • Initially, the Government ordinance was received with mixed feelings by the public, and coldly by the Association of Hotel and Restaurant Owners, which argued that the regulations would ruin their businesses.
3A prescribed religious rite: Talmudic ordinances
More example sentences
  • Communion among Christians includes the recognition of certain sacred rites, especially the sacraments or ordinances that come to us from Christ and the apostles.
  • The rituals and ordinances of the Jews were set aside with that Nation and now the church does not have part in such observances.
  • Historic Protestantism differs from Roman Catholicism in that it teaches that the ordinances of preaching and sacraments do not work automatically.


Middle English (also in the sense 'arrangement in ranks'): from Old French ordenance, from medieval Latin ordinantia, from Latin ordinare 'put in order' (see ordain).

Words that rhyme with ordinance

adamance • penance

Definition of ordinance in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwɑːˈfəː
a hairdresser