\ ər, ˈȯr How to pronounce or (audio) , Southern also ˈär \

Definition of or

 (Entry 1 of 8)

1 used as a function word to indicate an alternative coffee or teasink or swim , the equivalent or substitutive character of two words or phrases lessen or abate , or approximation or uncertainty in five or six days
2 archaic : either
3 archaic : whether
4 used in logic as a sentential connective that forms a complex sentence which is true when at least one of its constituent sentences is true — compare disjunction

Definition of or (Entry 2 of 8)

archaic
: before

Definition of or (Entry 3 of 8)

archaic
: before
\ ˈȯr How to pronounce or (audio) \

Definition of or (Entry 4 of 8)

: the heraldic color gold or yellow
\ ˈȯr How to pronounce OR (audio) \

Definition of OR (Entry 5 of 8)

: a logical operator that requires at least one of two inputs to be present or conditions to be met for an output to be made or a statement to be executed OR gate in a computer

Definition of OR (Entry 6 of 8)

1 operating room
2 operational research; operations research
3 Oregon
4 owner's risk
5 own recognizance

Definition of -or (Entry 7 of 8)

: one that does a (specified) thing grantor

Definition of -or (Entry 8 of 8)

: condition : activity demeanor

First Known Use of or

Conjunction (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Preposition

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Conjunction (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1947, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for or

Conjunction (1) and Noun (2)

Middle English, alteration of other, alteration of Old English oththe; akin to Old High German eddo or

Preposition

Middle English, from or, adverb, early, before, from Old Norse ār; akin to Old English ǣr early — more at ere

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, gold, from Latin aurum — more at aureus

Noun suffix (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French -ur, -our, -eour & Latin -or; Anglo-French -ur, -our, from Latin -or; Anglo-French -eour, from Latin -ator, from -a-, verb stem + -tor, agent suffix; akin to Greek -tōr, agent suffix, Sanskrit -tā

Noun suffix (2)

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about or

Time Traveler for or

Time Traveler

The first known use of or was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for or

Cite this Entry

“Or.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/or. Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for or

\ ər How to pronounce or (audio) , ˈȯr \

Kids Definition of or

used between words or phrases that are choices juice or milkWill you leave or stay?

Kids Definition of OR

Oregon
\ ər \

Kids Definition of -or

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: someone or something that does a specified thing actor elevator

Kids Definition of -or (Entry 2 of 4)

: condition : activity demeanor

Medical Definition of OR

operating room

Legal Definition of OR

own recognizance

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on or

Nglish: Translation of or for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of or for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about or

Comments on or

What made you want to look up or? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!