Language: Old English
Origin: oththe


or S1 W1


used between two words or phrases to show that either of two things is possible, or used before the last in a list of possibilities or choices:
Shall we go out to the cinema or stay at home?
You can have ham, cheese or tuna.
... or anything/something spoken (=or something of the same kind)
Would you like a coffee or something?
She wasn't involved in drugs or anything like that.
Grapes are usually either green or red.
He's going to do it whether we like it or not.
You must do the job yourself or else employ someone else to do it.

and not

used after a negative verb when you mean not one thing and also not another thing:
He doesn't have a television or a video.
Sonia never cleans or even offers to wash the dishes.

avoiding bad result

used to say that something bad could happen if someone does not do a particular thing:
Wear your coat or you'll catch cold.
Hurry up or we'll be late.
I had to defend myself or else he'd have killed me.
You'd better hand over the money, or else (=used to threaten someone).


used to correct something that you have said or to give more specific information:
It's going to snow tomorrow, or that's what the forecast says.
John picked us up in his car, or rather his dad's car which he'd borrowed.
We've cleaned it all up, or at least most of it.


used to prove that something must be true, by saying that the situation would be different if it was not true:
He must be at home, or his car wouldn't be here.
It's obviously not urgent or else they would have called us straight away.

uncertain amounts

used to show that you are guessing at an amount or number because you cannot be exact:
The boy was three or four years of age.
I saw Donald leaving a minute or two ago.
There's a motel a mile or so down the road (=about a mile or possibly a little more).

Dictionary results for "or"
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