or

1
[ awr; unstressed er ]
/ ɔr; unstressed ər /

conjunction

(used to connect words, phrases, or clauses representing alternatives): books or magazines; to be or not to be.
(used to connect alternative terms for the same thing): the Hawaiian, or Sandwich, Islands.
(used in correlation): either … or; or … or; whether … or.
(used to correct or rephrase what was previously said): His autobiography, or rather memoirs, will soon be ready for publication.
otherwise; or else: Be here on time, or we'll leave without you.
Logic. the connective used in disjunction.

Origin of or

1
1150–1200; Middle English, orig. the second, unstressed member of correlative other … or, earlier other … other, Old English āther … oththe, ā-hwæther … oththe, for oththe … oththe either … or; cf. ay1, whether
Can be confusedoar o'er or ore

Usage note

Definition for or (2 of 8)

or

2
[ awr ]
/ ɔr /

preposition, conjunction Chiefly Irish, Scot., and English.

before; ere.

Origin of or

2
before 950; Middle English, Old English ār soon, early; cognate with Old Norse ār, Gothic air early; compare Old English ǣr soon, before, ere

Definition for or (3 of 8)

or

3
[ awr ]
/ ɔr /
Heraldry.

noun

the tincture, or metal, gold: represented either by gold or by yellow.

adjective

of the tincture, or metal, gold: a lion or.

Origin of or

3
1400–50; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin aurum gold

Definition for or (4 of 8)

OR

[ awr ]
/ ɔr /

noun

a Boolean operator that returns a positive result when either or both operands are positive.

Origin of OR

1940–45

Definition for or (5 of 8)

OR


Law. on (one's own) recognizance.
operating room.
operations research.
Oregon (approved especially for use with zip code).
owner's risk.

Definition for or (6 of 8)

-or

1

a suffix occurring in loanwords from Latin, directly or through Anglo-French, usually denoting a condition or property of things or persons, sometimes corresponding to qualitative adjectives ending in -id4 (ardor; honor; horror; liquor; pallor; squalor; torpor; tremor); a few other words that originally ended in different suffixes have been assimilated to this group (behavior; demeanor; glamour).

Origin of -or

1
< Latin; in some cases continuing Middle English -our < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin -ōr-, stem of -or, earlier -os

Usage note

While the -or spelling of the suffix -or1 is characteristic of American English, there are occasional exceptions, as in advertising copy, where spellings such as colour and favour seek to suggest the allure and exclusiveness of a product. The spelling glamour is somewhat more common than glamor —not actually an instance of -or1 , but conformed to it orthographically in the course of the word's history. In British English -our is still the spelling in most widespread use, -or being commonly retained when certain suffixes are added, as in color ation, honor ary, honor ific, labor ious, odor iferous. The English of the Southern Hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) tends to mirror British practice, whereas Canadian English shares with the U.S. a preference for -or but with -our spellings as freely used variants.
The suffix -or2 is now spelled -or in all forms of English, with the exception of the word savior, often spelled saviour in the U.S. as well as in Britain, especially with reference to Jesus.

Definition for or (7 of 8)

-or

2

a suffix forming animate or inanimate agent nouns, occurring originally in loanwords from Anglo-French (debtor; lessor; tailor; traitor); it now functions in English as an orthographic variant of -er1, usually joined to bases of Latin origin, in imitation of borrowed Latin words containing the suffix -tor (and its alternant -sor). The association with Latinate vocabulary may impart a learned look to the resultant formations, which often denote machines or other less tangible entities which behave in an agentlike way: descriptor; plexor; projector; repressor; sensor; tractor.

Origin of -or

2
Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French -o(u)r < Latin -ōr-, stem of -or, extracted from -tōr -tor by construing the t as the ending of the past participle (hence Latin factor maker, equivalent to fac(ere) to make + -tor, was analyzed as fact(us), past participle of facere + -or); merged with Anglo-French, Old French -ëo(u)r < Latin -ātōr- -ator; cf. -eur

Definition for or (8 of 8)

O.R.


owner's risk.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for or (1 of 6)

or

1
/ (ɔː, unstressed ə) /

conjunction (coordinating)

used to join alternativesapples or pears; apples or pears or cheese; apples, pears, or cheese
used to join rephrasings of the same thingto serve in the army, or rather to fight in the army; twelve, or a dozen
used to join two alternatives when the first is preceded by either or whetherwhether it rains or not we'll be there; either yes or no
one or two a few
or else See else (def. 3)
a poetic word for either or whether as the first element in correlatives, with or also preceding the second alternative

Word Origin for or

C13: contraction of other, used to introduce an alternative, changed (through influence of either) from Old English oththe; compare Old High German odar (German oder)

British Dictionary definitions for or (2 of 6)

or

2
/ (ɔː) archaic /

conjunction

(subordinating; foll by ever or ere) before; when

preposition

before

Word Origin for or

Old English ār soon; related to Old Norse ār early, Old High German ēr

British Dictionary definitions for or (3 of 6)

or

3
/ (ɔː) /

adjective

(usually postpositive) heraldry of the metal gold

Word Origin for or

C16: via French from Latin aurum gold

British Dictionary definitions for or (4 of 6)

OR


abbreviation for

operations research
Oregon
military other ranks

British Dictionary definitions for or (5 of 6)

-or

1

suffix forming nouns

a person or thing that does what is expressed by the verbactor; conductor; generator; sailor

Word Origin for -or

via Old French -eur, -eor, from Latin -or or -ātor

British Dictionary definitions for or (6 of 6)

-or

2

suffix forming nouns

indicating state, condition, or activityterror; error
the US spelling of -our
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