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ei·​ther-or ˌē-t͟hər-ˈȯr How to pronounce either-or (audio)
 also  ˌī-
: an unavoidable choice or exclusive division between only two alternatives


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: of or marked by either-or : black-and-white

Examples of either-or in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Related content: Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says U.S. 43/I-65 debate ‘simply not an either-or proposition’ Mobile, Tuscaloosa mayors join West Alabama officials to tout U.S. 43 project Where should the money go? John Sharp | Jsharp@al.com, al, 8 Sep. 2023 Teaching math should not be an either-or situation, said Sarah Powell, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin who researches math instruction. By Ariel Gilreath Of The Hechinger Report and Jackie Valley Of The Christian Science Monitor, Dallas News, 29 Aug. 2023 Powell, the University of Texas professor, said teaching math should not be an either-or situation. Ariel Gilreath, al, 29 Aug. 2023 That either-or captures our usual common sense and has the comfort of simplicity. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 26 July 2023 Gonzalez, whose group seeks to safeguard the wages and working conditions of apparel workers, resisted the notion of housing and jobs as an either-or proposition. David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, 3 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'either-or.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1922, in the meaning defined above


1926, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of either-or was in 1922

Dictionary Entries Near either-or

Cite this Entry

“Either-or.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/either-or. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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