- the tincture, or metal, gold: represented either by gold or by yellow.
- of the tincture, or metal, gold: a lion or.
- a Boolean operator that returns a positive result when either or both operands are positive.
- used to join alternativesapples or pears; apples or pears or cheese; apples, pears, or cheese
- used to join rephrasings of the same thingto serve in the army, or rather to fight in the army; twelve, or a dozen
- used to join two alternatives when the first is preceded by either or whetherwhether it rains or not we’ll be there; either yes or no
- one or two a few
- or else See else (def. 3)
- a poetic word for either or whether as the first element in correlatives, with or also preceding the second alternative
- (subordinating; foll by ever or ere) before; when
- (usually postpositive) heraldry of the metal gold
- operations research
- military other ranks
conj.c.1200, from Old English conjunction oþþe “either, or,” related to Old Frisian ieftha, Middle Dutch ofte, Old Norse eða, Old High German odar, German oder, Gothic aiþþau “or.” This was extended in early Middle English (and Old High German) with an -r ending, perhaps by analogy with “choice between alternative” words that ended thus (e.g. either, whether), then reduced to oþþr, at first in unstressed situations (commonly thus in Northern and Midlands English by 1300), and finally reduced to or, though other survived in this sense until 16c. The contraction took place in the second term of an alternative, such as either … or, a common construction in Old English, where both words originally were oþþe (see nor).