3 [awr] Heraldry.
the tincture, or metal, gold: represented either by gold or by yellow.
of the tincture, or metal, gold: a lion or.

1400–50; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin aurum gold

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a Boolean operator that returns a positive result when either or both operands are positive.


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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
or1 (ɔː, (unstressed) ə)
1.  used to join alternatives: apples or pears; apples or pears or cheese; apples, pears, or cheese
2.  used to join rephrasings of the same thing: to serve in the army, or rather to fight in the army; twelve, or a dozen
3.  used to join two alternatives when the first is preceded by either or whether: whether it rains or not we'll be there; either yes or no
4.  one or two a few
5.  or else See else
6.  a poetic word for either or whether as the first element in correlatives, with or also preceding the second alternative
[C13: contraction of other, used to introduce an alternative, changed (through influence of either) from Old English oththe; compare Old High German odar (German oder)]

or2 (ɔː)
1.  (subordinating; foll by ever or ere) before; when
2.  before
[Old English ār soon; related to Old Norse ār early, Old High German ēr]

or3 (ɔː)
(usually postpositive) heraldry of the metal gold
[C16: via French from Latin aurum gold]

abbreviation for
1.  operations research
2.  Oregon
3.  military other ranks

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1200, from O.E. conj. oþþe "either, or," related to O.N. eða, O.H.G. odar, Ger. oder, Goth. aiþþau "or." This was extended in early M.E. with an -r ending, perhaps by analogy of other "choice between alternative" words that ended this way (either, whether), then reduced
to oþþr, at first in unstressed situations (commonly thus in Northern and Midlands Eng. 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 O.E., where both words originally were oþþe (see nor).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
  1. open reduction

  2. operating room

  3. operations research

  4. Oregon

  5. owner's risk

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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