Webster 1913 Edition
auther, either, or, AS.
āwðer, contr. from
Whether, and cf.
A particle that marks an alternative;
as, you may read. It corresponds to
ormay write, – that is, you may do one of the things at your pleasure, but not both
You may ride either to LondonIt often connects a series of words or propositions, presenting a choice of either;
as, he may study law,.
orhe may enter into trade
If man’s convenience, health,
Orsafety interfere, his rights and claims
☞ Or may be used to join as alternatives terms expressing unlike things or ideas (as, is the orange sour or sweet?), or different terms expressing the same thing or idea; as, this is a sphere, or globe.
☞ Or sometimes begins a sentence. In this case it expresses an alternative or subjoins a clause differing from the foregoing. “Or what man is there of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone?”Or for either is archaic or poetic.
Matt. vii. 9 (Rev. Ver.).
Maugre thine heed, thou must for indigence
orborrow thy dispence.
[F., fr. L.
Yellow or gold color, – represented in drawing or engraving by small dots.
Webster 1828 Edition
OR, a termination of Latin nouns, is a contraction of vir, a man, or from the same radix. The same word vir, is in our mother tongue, wer, and from this we have the English termination er.
It denotes an agent, as in actor, creditor. We annex it to many words of English origin, as in lessor, as we do er to words of Latin and Greek origin, as in astronomer, laborer. In general, or is annexed to words of Latin, and er to those of English origin.
OR, conj. [It seems that or is a mere contraction of other.]
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. Matt. 7 and 9.
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.
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 supposed to be a corruption of ere.