Definition for OR

OR, conj. [Sax. other; G. oder. It seems that or is a contraction of other. “Tell us by what auctoritie thou doest these thynges. Other who is he that gave the thys auctorite?” – Tyndale's New Testament.]

A connective that marks an alternative. “You may read or may write;” that is, you may do one of the things at your pleasure, but not both. It corresponds to either. You may either ride to London, or to Windsor. It often connects a series of words or propositions, presenting a choice of either. He may study law or medicine or divinity, or he may enter into trade. Or sometimes begins a sentence, but in this case it expresses an alternative with the foregoing sentence. – Matth. vii. and ix. In poetry, or is sometimes used for either. For thy vast bounties are so numberless, / That them or to conceal or else to tell / Is equally impossible. – Cowley. Or is often used to express an alternative of terms, definitions or explanations of the same thing in different words. Thus we say, a thing is a square, or a figure under four equal sides and angles. Or ever. In this phrase, or is a corruption of ere, Sax. aere, before; that is, before ever.

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