of

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See also: OF, of-, and off

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English of, from Old English of (of, from), an unstressed form of af, æf (from, off, away), from Proto-Germanic *ab (from), from Proto-Indo-European *h₂epo (from, off, back). Cognate with Scots of, af (off, away), West Frisian af, ôf (off, away), Dutch af (off, from), Low German af (off, from), German ab (off, from), Danish af (of), Swedish av (of), Icelandic af (of), Gothic 𐌰𐍆 (af, of, from); and with Latin ab (of, from, by). Compare off.

Pronunciation[edit]

Preposition[edit]

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Wikipedia

of

  1. (heading) Expressing direction.
    1. (now obsolete or dialectal) From (of distance, direction), "off". [from 9th c.]
    2. (obsolete except in phrases) Since, from (a given time, earlier state etc.). [from 9th c.]
      • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Mark IX:
        And he axed his father: howe longe is it agoo, sens this hath happened hym? And he sayde, of a chylde.
      • 1616, William Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, IV.4:
        one that I brought vp of a puppy [] I was sent to deliuer him, as a present to Mistris Siluia, from my Master.
      • 2010, Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, 29 July:
        Obama has been obliged to make nice of late in hope of rescuing the moribund two-state process and preventing resumed West Bank settlement building.
    3. From, away from (a position, number, distance etc.). [from 10th c.]
      • 1932, Time, 30 September:
        Though Washington does not offically recognize Moscow, the Hoover Administration permits a Soviet Russian Information Bureau to flourish in a modest red brick house on Massachusetts Avenue, within a mile of the White House.
      • 2010, The Guardian, 7 November:
        There are now upwards of 1.4 million 99ers in America facing a life with no benefits and few prospects for finding a job in a market in which companies are still not hiring.
    4. (North America, Scotland, Ireland) Before (the hour); to. [from 19th c.]
      • 1940, "Little Bull Booed", Time, 17 June:
        "Fellow Democrats," he began, "I left Washington at a quarter of two this morning []."
      • 1982, TC Boyle, Water Music, Penguin, 2006, p.194:
        Quarter of seven. Fifteen minutes to go.
  2. (heading) Expressing separation.
    1. Indicating removal, absence or separation, with the action indicated by a transitive verb and the quality or substance by a grammatical object. [from 10th c.]
      • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol. II, Book XIII:
        And than he seyde, ‘Lorde God, I thanke The, for I am helyd of thys syknes.’
      • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.1:
        Antigonus [took] upon him to favour a souldier of his by reason of his vertue and valour, to have great care of him, and see whether they could recover him of a lingering and inward disease which had long tormented him [].
      • 1816, Jane Austen, Letter, 20 February:
        I am almost entirely cured of my rheumatism—just a little pain in my knee now and then, to make me remember what it was, and keep on flannel.
      • 1951, Time, 3 September:
        In Houston, ten minutes after the Lindquist Finance Corp. was robbed of $447, Office Manager Howard Willson got a phone call from the thief who complained: "You didn't have enough money over there."
    2. Indicating removal, absence or separation, with resulting state indicated by an adjective. [from 10th c.]
      • 1731, Jonathan Swift, Letter, 28 August:
        But schemes are perfectly accidental: some will appear barren of hints and matter, but prove to be fruitful [].
      • 2010, Stuart James, The Guardian, 31 October:
        Yet for long spells Villa looked laboured and devoid of ideas.
    3. (obsolete) Indicating removal, absence or separation, construed with an intransitive verb. [14th-19th c.]
      • 1822, Jacob Bailey Moore, New Hampshire, vol.1, p.5:
        He was kindly treated by the people at Saco, and recovered of his wounds.
  3. (heading) Expressing origin.
    1. Indicating an ancestral source or origin of descent. [from 9th c.]
      • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts II:
        They wondred all, and marveylled sayinge amonge themselves: Loke, are not all these which speake off galile? And howe heare we every man his awne tongue wherein we were boren?
      • 1954, The Rotarian, vol.85:6:
        My father was born of a family of weavers in Manchester, England.
      • 2010, "The Cost of Repair", The Economist:
        Nothing may come of these ideas, yet their potential should not be dismissed.
    2. Indicating a (non-physical) source of action or emotion; introducing a cause, instigation; from, out of, as an expression of. [from 9th c.]
      • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol. II, Book X}:
        I requyre you of knyghthode, telle me youre name.
      • 1803, John Smalley, Sermons:
        Undoubtedly it is to be understood, that inflicting deserved punishment on all evil doers, of right, belongs to God.
      • 2008, Rowenna Davis, The Guardian, 3 December:
        The woman who danced for me said she was there of her own free will, but when I pushed a bit further, I discovered that she "owed a man a lot of money", and had to pay it back quickly.
    3. Following an intransitive verb: indicating the source or cause of the verb. [from 10th c.]
      • 2006, Joyce Carol Oates, The Female of the Species:
        He smelled of beer and cigarette smoke and his own body.
      • 2010, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi, The Guardian, 5 October:
        Two men, one from Somalia and one from Zimbabwe, died of terminal illnesses shortly after their incarceration ended.
    4. Following an adjective. [from 13th c.]
      • 2010, Bagehot, The Economist, 23 September:
        Lib Dems were appalled by Mr Boles’s offer, however kindly meant: the party is so frightened of losing its independence under Mr Clegg that such a pact would “kill” him, says a senior member.
  4. (heading) Expressing agency.
    1. Following a passive verb to indicate the agent (for most verbs, now usually expressed with by). [from 9th c.]
      • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Acts IX:
        After a good while, the iewes toke cousell amonge themselves to kyll him. But their layinges awayte wer knowen of Saul.
      • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.1:
        she might appeare to be the lively patterne of another Lucrece, yet know I certainly that, both before that time and afterward, she had beene enjoyed of others upon easier composition.
      • 1995, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
        The family is ordained of God.
      • 2008, "Selling rhythm to the world", The Economist, 27 March:
        Colombia and Venezuela share an elegantly restrained style, with much back-stepping, smaller hand-movements and little use of the elaborate, arm-tangling moves beloved of Cuban dancers.
    2. Used to introduce the "subjective genitive"; following a noun to form the head of a postmodifying noun phrase. [from 13th c.]
      • 1994, Paul Coates, Film at the Intersection of High and Mass Culture, p.136:
        In Blood and Sand, meanwhile, Valentino repeatedly solicits the attention of women who have turned away from him.
      • 2009, "Head to head", The Economist, 28 December:
        Somehow Croatia has escaped the opprobrium of the likes of the German Christian Democrats and others that are against any rapid enlargement of the European Union to the include rest of the western Balkans.
    3. Following an adjective, used to indicate the agent of something described by the adjective. [from 16th c.]
      • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma:
        When this was over, Mr. Woodhouse gratefully observed,—"It is very kind of you, Mr. Knightley, to come out at this late hour to call upon us."
      • 2007, Dorian Lynskey, The Guardian, 10 January:
        Morrissey's spokesperson says he is considering the offer. It would perhaps be rude of him to decline.
  5. (heading) Expressing composition, substance.
    1. After a verb expressing construction, making etc., used to indicate the material or substance used. [from 9th c.]
      • 1846, Herman Melville, Typee:
        The mallet is made of a hard heavy wood resembling ebony, is about twelve inches in length, and perhaps two in breadth, with a rounded handle at one end [...].
    2. Directly following a noun, used to indicate the material from which it is made. [from 10th c.]
      • 2010, Simon Mawer, The Guardian, 23 January:
        Perhaps symbolically, Van Doesburg was building a house of straw: he died within a few months of completion, not in Meudon but in Davos, of a heart attack following a bout of asthma.
    3. Indicating the composition of a given collective or quantitative noun. [from 12th c.]
      • 1853, William Makepeace Thackeray, Barry Lyndon:
        His papers at this period contain a mass of very unedifying and uninteresting documents [].
      • 2010, Polly Vernon, The Guardian, 31 October:
        I'd expected to be confronted by oodles of barely suppressed tension and leather-clad, pouty-mouthed, large-haired sexiness; the visual shorthand of rock gods in general, and Jon Bon Jovi in particular.
    4. Used to link a given class of things with a specific example of that class. [from 12th c.]
      • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe:
        This having the rainy month of March and April to water it, sprung up very pleasantly, and yielded a very good crop [].
      • 2010, Maya Jaggi, The Guardian, 30 October:
        In his studio in the Behlendorf woods, near the Baltic city of Lübeck, Günter Grass reflects on the outcry over his fictive memoir Peeling the Onion.
    5. Linking two nouns in near-apposition, with the first qualifying the second; "which is also". [from 14th c.]
      • 1911, Katherine Mansfield, In a German Pension:
        As he swallowed the soup his heart warmed to this fool of a girl.
      • 2010, Sean O'Hagan, The Guardian, 22 August:
        "I'm having a bitch of a day," he says, after ordering a restorative pint of Guinness and flopping down in a seat by the front window.
  6. (heading) Introducing subject matter.
    1. Linking an intransitive verb, or a transitive verb and its subject (especially verbs to do with thinking, feeling, expressing etc.), with its subject-matter: concerning, with regard to. [from 10th c.]
      • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma:
        he spoke of his uncle with warm regard, was fond of talking of him [].
      • 1871–72, George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 3:
        "You must not judge of Celia's feeling from mine. I think she likes these small pets."
      • 2010, Rebecca Seal, The Guardian, 19 October:
        while producing Cook, which includes more than 250 seasonal recipes by 80 different chefs, we washed up more than 500 times (oh, how I dreamed of dishwashers).
    2. Following a noun (now chiefly nouns of knowledge, communication etc.), to introduce its subject matter; about, concerning. [from 12th c.]
      • 1859, Charles Dickens, (title):
        A Tale of Two Cities.
      • 2010, The Economist, 21 October:
        Recession and rising unemployment have put paid to most thoughts of further EU enlargement.
    3. Following an adjective, to introduce its subject matter. [from 15th c.]
      • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick:
        The same secludedness and isolation to which the schoolmaster whale betakes himself in his advancing years, is true of all aged Sperm Whales.
  7. (heading) Having partitive effect.
    1. Following a number or other quantitive word: introducing the whole for which is indicated only the specified part or segment; "from among". [from 9th c.]
      • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur, Vol. II, Book X:
        I meddyll nat of their maters; and therefore there is none that lovyth me of them.
      • 1789, Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol.VI:
        The dead bodies of the Koreish were despoiled and insulted; two of the most obnoxious prisoners were punished with death [].
      • 2010, Michael Wood, The Guardian, 10 November:
        Many of the civilisational achievements of Mesopotamia are the product of that symbiosis.
    2. Following a noun indicating a given part. [from 9th c.]
      • 2005, Naomi Wolf, The Treehouse, p.58:
        everyone, even the ladies of the village, called the dish tzigayner shmeklekh, or “gypsies' penises.”
      • 2006, Norman Mailer, The Big Empty:
        That, I think, is the buried core of the outrage people feel most generally.
    3. (now archaic, literary) With preceding partitive word assumed, or as a predicate after to be: some, an amount of, one of. [from 9th c.]
      • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Matthew XXV:
        And the folysshe sayde to the wyse: geve us of youre oyle, for oure lampes goo out?
      • 1819, John Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale":
        My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains / My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk [].
      • 1846, James Fenimore Cooper, The Redskins:
        Dunning, however, is of the old school, and does not like new faces; so he will have no Irishman at his door [].
    4. Linking to a genitive noun or possessive pronoun, with partitive effect (though now often merged with possessive senses, below). [from 13th c.]
      • 1893, Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance, IV:
        He is just what I should have liked a son of mine to be.
      • 2010, Michael Tomasky, The Guardian, 27 August:
        In its flattering way, the press tried to invest this habit of Bush's with the sense that it was indicative of a particularly sharp wit.
  8. (heading) Expressing possession.
    1. Belonging to, existing in, or taking place in a given location, place or time. Compare "origin" senses, above. [from 9th c.]
      • 1908, EF Benson, The Blotting Book:
        Thus, as he dressed, the thoughts and the rage of yesterday began to stir and move in his mind again.
      • 2003, Julian Borger, The Guardian, 20 August:
        Within ten seconds, the citizens of New York, Cleveland, Detroit and Toronto were being given first-hand experience of what it was like to live in the nineteenth century.
    2. Belonging to (a place) through having title, ownership or control over it. [from 9th c.]
      • 1977, The Guardian, 28 October:
        In a much-anticipated radio broadcast the Duke of Edinburgh said last night that Britain will be a grim place in the year 2000 [].
      • 2001, Dictionary of National Biography, 2001, p.27:
        The third son, William John (1826-1902), was headmaster of the Boys' British School, Hitchin [].
    3. Belonging to (someone or something) as something they possess or have as a characteristic; the "possessive genitive". (With abstract nouns, this intersects with the subjective genitive, above under "agency" senses.) [from 13th c.]
      • 1933, Havelock Ellis, Psychology of Sex, vol.4:
        The breasts of young girls sometimes become tender at puberty in sympathy with the evolution of the sexual organs [].
      • 2010, Marina Hyde, The Guardian, 29 October:
        It amounts to knocking on the door of No 10 then running away.
  9. (heading) Forming the "objective genitive".
    1. Following an agent noun, verbal noun or noun of action. [from 12th c.]
      • 1611, Bible, Authorized Version, Matthew IV:
        And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
      • 2000, Sheila Ruth, Issues in Feminism:
        Antifeminism has been a credible cover and an effective vehicle because the hatred of women is not politically anathema on either the Right or the Left.
  10. (heading) Expressing qualities or characteristics.
    1. (now archaic or literary) Linking an adjective with a noun or noun phrase to form a quasi-adverbial qualifier; in respect of, as regards. [from 13th c.]
      • 1917, Zane Gray, Wildfire, p.35:
        He was huge, raw-boned, knotty, long of body and long of leg, with the head of a war charger.
      • 2004, Sean Ingle, The Guardian, 11 August:
        Still nimble of mind and fleet of foot, Morris buzzed here and there, linking well and getting stuck in at every opportunity.
    2. Indicating a quality or characteristic; "characterized by". [from 13th c.]
      • 1891, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Boscombe Valley Mystery:
        His frank acceptance of the situation marks him as either an innocent man, or else as a man of considerable self-restraint and firmness.
      • 1951, Jacob Bronowski, The Common Sense of Science:
        No other man has made so deep a mark on his time and on our world unless he has been a man of action, a Cromwell or a Napoleon.
    3. Indicating quantity, age, price etc. [from 13th c.]
      • 1903, Frank Norris, The Pit, Doubleday 1924, p.4:
        She was a tall young girl of about twenty-two or three, holding herself erect and with fine dignity.
      • 2006, Serway & Jewett, Principles of Physics, p.428:
        A police car, traveling southbound at a speed of 40.0 m/s, approaches with its siren producing sound at a frequency of 2 500 Hz.
  11. (heading) Expressing a point in time.
    1. (chiefly regional) During the course of (a set period of time, day of the week etc.), now specifically with implied repetition or regularity. [from 9th c.]
      • Charles Dickens
        For, sometimes of an afternoon when Miss Pupford has been reading the paper through her little gold eye-glass [] she has become agitated [].
      • 1897, Henry James, What Maisie Knew:
        If there was a type Ida despised, Sir Claude communicated to Maisie, it was the man who pottered about town of a Sunday [].
    2. (UK dialectal) For (a given length of time), chiefly in negative constructions. [from 13th c.]
      I've not tekken her out of a goodly long while.
    3. Used after a noun to indicate duration of a state, activity etc. [from 18th c.]
      • 2011, Grant McCabe, The Sun, 2 March:
        The cab driver's claim he was sleepwalking during the attack has already been supported by his wife of 37 years.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (belonging to or associated with): When applied to a person or persons, the possessive is generally used instead.
  • (containing, comprising, or made from): Of may be used directly with a verb or adjectival phrase.
  • When modifying a noun, modern English uses more and more noun adjuncts rather than of. Examples include part of speech (16th century) vs. word class (20th century), Federal Bureau of Investigation (1908) vs. Central Intelligence Agency (1947), and affairs of the world (18th century) vs. world affairs (20th century).

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Verb[edit]

of

  1. (usually in modal perfect constructions) Representing have or 've, chiefly in depictions of colloquial speech.
    • 1926, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Penguin 2000, p. 33:
      "I had a woman up here last week to look at my feet, and when she have been the bill you'd of thought she had my appendicitus out."
    • 1943, Raymond Chandler, The High Window, Penguin 2005, p. 87:
      ‘You must of left your door unlocked. Or even open.’
    • 1992, Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, Bantam Spectra, p. 340:
      "You couldn't of known," Livio says.

See also[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Afrikaans[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Dutch of.

Conjunction[edit]

of

  1. or
  2. whether; if

Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Conjunction[edit]

of

  1. (coordinating) or
    Wil je thee, of heb je liever koffie?
    Do you want tea, or would you prefer coffee?
  2. (subordinating) whether, if
    Ik weet niet of dat wel zo'n goed idee is.
    I don't know if that's such a good idea.
  3. (of ... of) either ... or
    Je kan kiezen: of je bent stil, of je vertrekt.
    You can choose: either you stay quiet, or you get out.
  4. (of ... of dat) whether ... or if
    Ik weet niet of ik moet vertrekken of dat ik het haar moet uitleggen.
    I don't know whether I should leave or if I should explain it to her.

Derived terms[edit]


Icelandic[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Norse, from Proto-Germanic *uber. The original full form is seen in the prefixed form ofur- (overly, super, very). Related to yfir (above) and ofan (from above).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

of

  1. too (to an excessive degree)
    Ég er of falleg.
    I am too beautiful. (referring to a woman)
    Ég er of fallegur.
    I am too beautiful. (referring to a man)

Old English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Unstressed form of æf.

Preposition[edit]

of

  1. of, from, off, out of

Old Saxon[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Unstressed form of af.

Preposition[edit]

of

  1. above
  2. away from

Volapük[edit]

Pronoun[edit]

of (plural ofs)

  1. she (third-person feminine)

Declension[edit]


West Frisian[edit]

Conjunction[edit]

of

  1. or