or Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “or” in the English Dictionary

"or" in British English

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orconjunction

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 ​quiteremember 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 just ​kidding - or was he (= but it is ​possible that he was not)?A2 used after a ​negativeverb to ​mean not one thing and also not another: The ​child never ​smiles or ​laughs.
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  • or conjunction (IF NOT)

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

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  • 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 very well ​recently. Or they were, until two ​days ago.

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  • I'll do it ​later. Or, at least I'll ​try to do it.
  • Football, or ​soccer as it's sometimes called, is very ​popular in the ​country.

ORnoun

uk   /ˌəʊˈɑːr/  us   /ˌoʊˈɑːr/
  • OR noun (IN HOSPITAL)

[C] US abbreviation for operating room
  • OR noun (ADDRESS)

written abbreviation for the US ​state of Oregon: used in ​addresses
(Definition of or from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"or" in American English

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orconjunction

 us   /ɔr, ər/
  • or conjunction (POSSIBILITIES)

used to ​connect different ​possibilities: Is today ​Tuesday or ​Wednesday? You can get that ​blouse in ​blue, ​gray, or ​white. There were ten or twelve ​people in the ​room (= ​approximately that ​number of ​people). We’d ​better make a ​decisionsoon or the ​wholedeal will ​fall through. After a ​negativeverb, or can also ​continue the ​negativemeaning of the ​verb: He won’t ​eatmeat or ​fish (= and will not ​eatfish either).
  • or conjunction (EXPLAIN)

used to show that a word or phrase ​means the same as, or ​explains or corrects, another word or phrase: Photons, or ​individualparticles of ​light, ​travelhugedistances in ​space. Things were going well, or ​seemed to be, but the ​relationship had already ​begun to ​change.
Idioms

ORnoun [C]

 us   /ˈoʊˈɑr/
abbreviation foroperatingroom
(Definition of or from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"OR" in Business English

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ORnoun [U]

uk   us  
WORKPLACE, MANAGEMENT →  operations research
(Definition of OR from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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