Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “or”

See all translations

or

conjunction uk   strong /ɔːr/ us    /ɔːr/ weak /ər/  /ɚ/

or conjunction (POSSIBILITIES)

A1 used to connect different possibilities: Is it Tuesday or Wednesday today? You can pay now or when you come back to pick up the paint. Are you listening to me or not? The patent was granted in (either) 1962 or 1963 - I can't quite remember which. It doesn't matter whether you win or lose - it's taking part that's important. There were ten or twelve (= approximately that number of) people in the room. He was only joking - or was he (= but it is possible that he was not)?A2 used after a negative verb to mean not one thing and also not another: The child never smiles or laughs.
Compare
More examples

or conjunction (IF NOT)

B1 if not: You should eat more, or you'll make yourself ill.
More examples

or conjunction (EXPLAIN)

B2 used to show that a word or phrase means the same as, or explains, limits, or corrects, another word or phrase: Rosalind, or Roz to her friends, took the initiative. Things have been going quite well recently. Or they were, up until two days ago.
More examples
(Definition of or conjunction from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of or?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “or” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

be as cold as ice

to be extremely cold

Word of the Day

Let’s celebrate! (words and phrases for parties)

by Kate Woodford,
December 17, 2014
​​​ With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, we thought it a good time to look at the language of parties and celebrations. First, let’s start with the word ‘party’ itself. To have or throw a party or, less commonly, to give a party is to arrange a party: We’re having a

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More