of an

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English[edit]

Phrase[edit]

of an (or of a before consonant sounds. See an for further information.)

  1. (chiefly obsolete) Having the same.
    The two main players were roughly of an age.
    • 1825 March 16, Robert Southey, “Letter XVII”, in Life and Correspondence of Robert Southey, page 56:
      He and F were of an age and standing, the giants of the house, but F was the braver, and did us the good office of keeping him in order.
    • 1854, Elias Darnell, Journal of the Campaign, page 74:
      Allen said, "If we were of an age, and on an equal footing, you would not give me the lie so often."
    • 2001, Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Dart, ISBN 0312872380, page 73:
      When she turned to kiss Alcuin, they were of a height.
  2. (idiomatic, dialectal) Indicates a more or less habitual activity during the given part of the day.
    Of an evening, I like to play chess. i.e., On some evenings, I like to play chess.
    Of a morning, they would work in their garden. i.e., They generally worked in their garden in the morning.

Usage notes[edit]

The first sense functions as an adjective and is generally used with be. The second sense functions as an adverb.

The phrase of a can also occur naturally in a prepositional phrase using of (e.g., the shell of an egg).

Anagrams[edit]