View synonyms for of



[ uhv, ov; unstressed uhvbefore consonants, uh ]


  1. (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.

  2. (used to indicate derivation, origin, or source):

    a man of good family; the plays of Shakespeare; a piece of cake.

  3. (used to indicate cause, motive, occasion, or reason):

    to die of hunger.

  4. (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.

  5. (used to indicate apposition or identity):

    Is that idiot of a salesman calling again?

  6. (used to indicate specific identity or a particular item within a category):

    the city of Chicago; thoughts of love.

  7. (used to indicate possession, connection, or association):

    the king of France; the property of the church.

  8. (used to indicate inclusion in a number, class, or whole):

    one of us.

  9. (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.

  10. (used to indicate reference or respect):

    There is talk of peace.

  11. (used to indicate qualities or attributes):

    an ambassador of remarkable tact.

  12. (used to indicate a specified time):

    They arrived of an evening.

  13. Chiefly Northern U.S. before the hour of; until:

    twenty minutes of five.

  14. on the part of:

    It was very mean of you to laugh at me.

  15. in respect to:

    fleet of foot.

  16. set aside for or devoted to:

    a minute of prayer.

  17. Archaic. by:

    consumed of worms.



[ uhv ]

auxiliary verb

, Nonstandard.
  1. have:

    He should of asked me first.


or OF., O.F.

abbreviation for


  1. variant of ob- (by assimilation) before f: offend.



abbreviation for

  1. Old French (language)



/ ɒv; əv /


  1. 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 gerund

    the breathing of clean air (object)

    the breathing of a fine swimmer (subject)

  2. used to indicate possession, origin, or association

    the house of my sister

    to die of hunger

  3. used after words or phrases expressing quantities

    a pint of milk

  4. constituted by, containing, or characterized by

    a man of some depth

    a family of idiots

    a rod of iron

  5. used to indicate separation, as in time or space

    within a mile of the town

    within ten minutes of the beginning of the concert

  6. used to mark apposition

    the city of Naples

    a speech on the subject of archaeology

  7. about; concerning

    speak to me of love

  8. used in passive constructions to indicate the agent

    he was beloved of all

  9. informal.
    used to indicate a day or part of a period of time when some activity habitually occurs

    I go to the pub of an evening

  10. before the hour of

    a quarter of nine

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Usage Note

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. couple, off.
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See off
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Spelling Note

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] or [uh] 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.
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Word History and Origins

Origin of of1

First recorded before 900; Middle English, Old English: “of, off”; cognate with German ab, Latin ab, Greek apó; a- 2, o', off

Origin of of2

A phonetic spelling representing the pronunciation of the word in continuous rapid speech
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Word History and Origins

Origin of of1

Old English (as prep and adv); related to Old Norse af, Old High German aba, Latin ab, Greek apo
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Example Sentences

The Dallas Cowboys sell out their state-of-the art football stadium.

We happily hoist our egg nog in the air, embrace each other, and raise our out-of-tune voices in song.

DISH delivers a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience to every room of your home, wirelessly.

The company recently partnered with Oakley to create a one-of-a-kind single malt Scotch flask.

A much larger number are immediately separated from their infants, who are typically placed in some form of out-of-home care.

You never know when you are going to stumble upon a jewel in the most out-of-the-way corner.

But Lessard's a overbearin' son-of-a-gun all round, and he's always breakin' out in a new place.

Mr. Slocum was not educated in a university, and his life has been in by-paths, and out-of-the-way places.

The Spanish men-of-war, which were always painted white, had their colour changed to dark grey like the American ships.

Later on the commander of a German man-of-war and his staff were received and fêted by the Captain-General.





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