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Meaning of “or” in the English Dictionary

"or" in British English

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orconjunction

uk   strong /ɔːr/ weak /ər/  us   /ɔːr/  /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 just kidding - 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.
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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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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 decision soon or the whole deal will fall through.
After a negative verb, or can also continue the negative meaning of the verb: He won’t eat meat or fish (= and will not eat fish 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 individual particles of light, travel huge distances in space. Things were going well, or seemed to be, but the relationship had already begun to change.
Idioms

ORnoun [C]

 us   /ˈoʊˈɑr/
abbreviation foroperating room
(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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