[ uhv, ov; unstressed uh v or, esp. before consonants, uh ]
/ ʌv, ɒv; unstressed əv or, esp. before consonants, ə /
(used to indicate distance or direction from, separation, deprivation, etc.): within a mile of the church; south of Omaha; to be robbed of one's money.
(used to indicate derivation, origin, or source): a man of good family; the plays of Shakespeare; a piece of cake.
(used to indicate cause, motive, occasion, or reason): to die of hunger.
(used to indicate material, component parts, substance, or contents): a dress of silk; an apartment of three rooms; a book of poems; a package of cheese.
(used to indicate apposition or identity): Is that idiot of a salesman calling again?
(used to indicate specific identity or a particular item within a category): the city of Chicago; thoughts of love.
(used to indicate possession, connection, or association): the king of France; the property of the church.
(used to indicate inclusion in a number, class, or whole): one of us.
(used to indicate the objective relation, the object of the action noted by the preceding noun or the application of a verb or adjective): the ringing of bells; He writes her of home; I'm tired of working.
(used to indicate reference or respect): There is talk of peace.
(used to indicate qualities or attributes): an ambassador of remarkable tact.
(used to indicate a specified time): They arrived of an evening.
Chiefly Northern U.S. before the hour of; until: twenty minutes of five.
on the part of: It was very mean of you to laugh at me.
in respect to: fleet of foot.
set aside for or devoted to: a minute of prayer.
Archaic. by: consumed of worms.
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Question 1 of 7
Origin of of1
usage note for of
Of is sometimes added to phrases beginning with the adverb how or too followed by a descriptive adjective: How long of a drive will it be? It's too hot of a day for tennis. This construction is probably modeled on that in which how or too is followed by much, an unquestionably standard use in all varieties of speech and writing: How much of a problem will that cause the government? There was too much of an uproar for the speaker to be heard. The use of of with descriptive adjectives after how or too is largely restricted to informal speech. It occurs occasionally in informal writing and written representations of speech. See also couple, off.
Words nearby of
Definition for of (2 of 4)
[ uh v ]
/ əv /
auxiliary verb Pronunciation Spelling.
have: He should of asked me first.
usage note for of
Because the preposition of, when unstressed ( a piece of cake ), and the unstressed or contracted auxiliary verb have ( could have gone, could've gone ) are both pronounced [uh v] /əv/ or [uh] /ə/ in connected speech, inexperienced writers commonly confuse the two words, spelling have as of ( I would of handed in my book report, but the dog ate it ). Professional writers have been able to exploit this spelling deliberately, especially in fiction, to help represent the speech of the uneducated: If he could of went home, he would of.
Definition for of (3 of 4)
or OF, O.F.
Definition for of (4 of 4)
variant of ob- (by assimilation) before f: offend.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for of (1 of 2)
/ (ɒv, unstressed əv) /
used with a verbal noun or gerund to link it with a following noun that is either the subject or the object of the verb embedded in the gerundthe breathing of a fine swimmer (subject); the breathing of clean air (object)
used to indicate possession, origin, or associationthe house of my sister; to die of hunger
used after words or phrases expressing quantitiesa pint of milk
constituted by, containing, or characterized bya family of idiots; a rod of iron; a man of some depth
used to indicate separation, as in time or spacewithin a mile of the town; within ten minutes of the beginning of the concert
used to mark appositionthe city of Naples; a speech on the subject of archaeology
about; concerningspeak to me of love
used in passive constructions to indicate the agenthe was beloved of all
informal used to indicate a day or part of a period of time when some activity habitually occursI go to the pub of an evening
US before the hour ofa quarter of nine
Word Origin for of
Old English (as prep and adv); related to Old Norse af, Old High German aba, Latin ab, Greek apo
British Dictionary definitions for of (2 of 2)
Old French (language)
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