• WordNet 3.6
    • n cordite explosive powder (nitroglycerin and guncotton and petrolatum) dissolved in acetone and dried and extruded in brown cords
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Cordite kôrd"īt (Mil) A smokeless powder composed of nitroglycerin, guncotton, and mineral jelly, and used by the British army and in other services. In making it the ingredients are mixed into a paste with the addition of acetone and pressed out into cords (of various diameters) resembling brown twine, which are dried and cut to length. A variety containing less nitroglycerin than the original is known as cordite M. D.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n cordite A smokeless powder, introduced in 1889, and adopted in the British military and naval service for small arms and guns of all calibers. Abandoned in 1902. It is brown in color, and is composed of 58 parts of nitroglycerin, 37 parts of guncotton, and 5 parts of mineral jelly (vaseline). The name is derived from the fact that it is made in the forms of cords or cylinders by pressing the composition through holes of varying size. The cylinders for heavy guns are made tubular. Cordite imparts a high velocity to the projectile without undue pressure, is very stable under extreme climatic conditions, and its ballistic properties are not seriously affected by moisture. The objection to it is that the high degree of heat developed upon combustion causes rapid erosion of the bore of the gun.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Cordite an approved smokeless gunpowder, so called from its cord-like appearance
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From Cord (n.)
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr. corde—L. chorda. See Chord.


In literature:

The 465 Holland & Holland double cordite rifle.
"The Land of Footprints" by Stewart Edward White
CORDITE, a smokeless powder, invented by Sir F. A. Abel, being composed principally of gun-cotton and glycerine.
"The Nuttall Encyclopaedia" by Edited by Rev. James Wood
I have now to rely on cordite, which, however, only acts as a spill.
"In the Ranks of the C.I.V." by Erskine Childers
They also knew that the cordite cartridges were not adapted to American guns, and should not have been used.
"A Gunner Aboard the "Yankee"" by Russell Doubleday
I had only my little gun and my big double-barreled cordite was at the boma, three hundred yards away.
"In Africa" by John T. McCutcheon
It made me wish, with all my heart, for time and my 450 cordite express, and I half decided to send for it to Rangoon.
"From Edinburgh to India & Burmah" by William G. Burn Murdoch
A high velocity cordite rifle is dangerous to the country people, and some rifle firing black powder should be used.
"The Panjab, North-West Frontier Province, and Kashmir" by Sir James McCrone Douie
But a sergeant picked up a cordite charge and hurled it out of danger.
"World's War Events, Vol. I" by Various
At twenty-five yards or a little under, the cordite rang out.
"The Pools of Silence" by H. de Vere Stacpoole
Thus the cordite, size 30, of the range table has been squeezed through a hole 0.30 in.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 2" by Various

In poetry:

‘Fire’ called the Sergeant-Major.
The muzzles flamed as he spoke:
And the shameless soul of a nameless man
Went up in cordite-smoke.
"The Deserter" by Gilbert Frankau