WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
or1 /ɔr; unstressed ɚ/USA pronunciation   conj. 
  1. (used to connect words, phrases, or clauses that represent or stand for choices, alternatives, or options):to be or not to be; Do you want vanilla or chocolate?
  2. (used to connect different words or names that refer to the same thing):the Hawaiian, or Sandwich, Islands.
  3. (used with the word either to connect two clauses showing one choice followed by another):Either we go now or we wait till tomorrow.
  4. (used to correct or rephrase what was previously said):His autobiography, or rather his memoirs, will be published soon.
  5. otherwise;
    or else:Be here on time, or we'll leave without you.

OR,  an abbreviation of:
  1. operating room.
  2. Oregon.

-or,2 suffix. 
  • -or is used to form nouns that are agents, or that do or perform a function:debtor; traitor;projector;repressor;
    sensor;
    tractor.

  • WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
    or1  (ôr; unstressed ər),USA pronunciation  conj. 
    1. (used to connect words, phrases, or clauses representing alternatives):books or magazines; to be or not to be.
    2. (used to connect alternative terms for the same thing):the Hawaiian, or Sandwich, Islands.
    3. (used in correlation):either … or;or … or;whether … or.
    4. (used to correct or rephrase what was previously said):His autobiography, or rather memoirs, will soon be ready for publication.
    5. otherwise;
      or else:Be here on time, or we'll leave without you.
    6. [Logic.]the connective used in disjunction.
    • 1150–1200; Middle English, origin, originally the second, unstressed member of correlative other … or, earlier other … other, Old English āther … oththe, ā-hwætheroththe, for oththe … oththe either … or; compare ay1, whether
      See  and/or, either. 

    or2  (ôr),USA pronunciation prep., conj. [Chiefly Irish, Scot., and Eng.]
  • British Terms, Scottish Termsbefore;
    ere.
    • bef. 950; Middle English, Old English ār soon, early; cognate with Old Norse ār, Gothic air early; compare Old English ǣr soon, before, ere

    or3  (ôr),USA pronunciation [Heraldry.]
    n. 
    1. Heraldrythe tincture, or metal, gold: represented either by gold or by yellow.

    adj. 
    1. Heraldryof the tincture, or metal, gold:a lion or.
    • Latin aurum gold
    • Middle French
    • late Middle English 1400–50

    OR  (ôr),USA pronunciation n. 
  • Computinga Boolean operator that returns a positive result when either or both operands are positive.

  • OR, 
    1. Lawon (one's own) recognizance.
    2. operating room.
    3. operations research.
    4. Oregon (approved esp. for use with zip code).
    5. owner's risk.

    -or1 : 
  • Pronounsa 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  -id 4 (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
    ).
    • Latin -ōr-, stem of -or, earlier -os
    • Anglo-French, Old French
    • Latin; in some cases continuing Middle English -our
      While the -or spelling of the suffix  -or 1 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  -or 1,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  -or 2 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, esp. with reference to Jesus.

    -or2 : 
  • 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  -er 1, 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; projector;repressor;sensor;
    tractor.
    • Latin -ātōr- -ator; compare -eur
    • 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
    • Anglo-French, Old French -o(u)r
    • Middle English

    O.R., 
  • owner's risk.

  • WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
    OR  (ôr),USA pronunciation n. 
  • Computinga Boolean operator that returns a positive result when either or both operands are positive.
    • 1940–45


    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    or /ɔː; (unstressed) ə/ conj (coordinating)
    1. used to join alternatives
    2. used to join rephrasings of the same thing: to serve in the army, or rather to fight in the army, twelve, or a dozen
    3. used to join two alternatives when the first is preceded by either or whether: whether it rains or not we'll be there, either yes or no
    4. one or twoa few
    5. a poetic word for either or whether as the first element in correlatives, with or also preceding the second alternative
    Etymology: 13th Century: contraction of other, used to introduce an alternative, changed (through influence of either) from Old English oththe; compare Old High German odar (German oder)
    or /ɔː/ adj
    1. (usually postpositive) of the metal gold
    Etymology: 16th Century: via French from Latin aurum gold



    OR abbreviation for
    1. operations research
    2. Oregon
    3. other ranks



    -or suffix forming nouns
    1. a person or thing that does what is expressed by the verb: actor, conductor, generator, sailor
    Etymology: via Old French -eur, -eor, from Latin -or or -ātor
    -or suffix forming nouns
    1. indicating state, condition, or activity: terror, error
    2. the US spelling of -our



    'or' also found in these entries:
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