follow Dictionary.com

13 Essential Literary Terms

our

[ouuh r, ou-er; unstressed ahr] /aʊər, ˈaʊ ər; unstressed ɑr/
pronoun
1.
(a form of the possessive case of we used as an attributive adjective):
Our team is going to win. Do you mind our going on ahead?
Compare ours.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English oure, Old English ūre, suppletive genitive plural of we from same base as ūs us
Can be confused
are, hour, our.
Usage note
See me.

-our

British
1.
variant of -or1 .
Usage note
See -or1.

we

[wee] /wi/
plural pronoun, possessive our or ours, objective us.
1.
nominative plural of I.
2.
(used to denote oneself and another or others):
We have two children. In this block we all own our own houses.
3.
(used to denote people in general):
the marvels of science that we take for granted.
4.
(used to indicate a particular profession, nationality, political party, etc., that includes the speaker or writer):
We in the medical profession have moral responsibilities.
5.
Also called the royal we. (used by a sovereign, or by other high officials and dignitaries, in place of I in formal speech):
We do not wear this crown without humility.
6.
Also called the editorial we. (used by editors, writers, etc., to avoid the too personal or specific I or to represent a collective viewpoint):
As for this column, we will have nothing to do with shady politicians.
7.
you (used familiarly, often with mild condescension or sarcasm, as in addressing a child, a patient, etc.):
We know that's naughty, don't we? It's time we took our medicine.
8.
(used in the predicate following a copulative verb):
It is we who should thank you.
9.
(used in apposition with a noun, especially for emphasis):
We Americans are a sturdy lot.
Origin
before 900; Middle English, Old English wē; cognate with Dutch wij, German wir, Old Norse vēr, Gothic weis

I

[ahy] /aɪ/
pronoun, nominative I, possessive my or mine, objective me; plural nominative we, possessive our or ours, objective us.
1.
the nominative singular pronoun, used by a speaker in referring to himself or herself.
noun, plural I's.
2.
(used to denote the narrator of a literary work written in the first person singular).
3.
Metaphysics. the ego.
Origin
before 900; Middle English ik, ich, i; Old English ic, ih; cognate with German ich, Old Norse ek, Latin ego, Greek egṓ, OCS azŭ, Lithuanian aš, Sanskrit ahám
Usage note
See me.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for our
  • The business sector is dazzlingly productive, but it also periodically blows up our financial system.
  • The problem of evil is one of our oldest intellectual conundrums.
  • our bodies adjust to the cycle of day and night thanks to specialized neurons in our eyes.
  • Scientists have come to some surprising conclusions about the world and our place in it.
  • We were so pleased to harvest any honey from our bees.
  • our consciousness seems to exist in an immaterial realm, distinct from the meat on our bones.
  • The inability to agree on the principles that underlie our beliefs is at the root of our political discord.
  • our contemporary version of this trend, though, has become skeptical even about skepticism.
  • The main reason that our friends give for moving is school quality.
  • Take a look at the complete line-up of bloggers at our brand new blog network.
British Dictionary definitions for our

our

/aʊə/
determiner
1.
of, belonging to, or associated in some way with us: our best vodka, our parents are good to us
2.
belonging to or associated with all people or people in general: our nearest planet is Venus
3.
a formal word for my used by editors or other writers, and monarchs
4.
(informal) (often sarcastic) used instead of your: are our feet hurting?
5.
(dialect) belonging to the family of the speaker: it's our Sandra's birthday tomorrow
Word Origin
Old English ūre (genitive plural), from us; related to Old French, Old Saxon ūser, Old High German unsēr, Gothic unsara

i

//
noun (pl) i's, I's, Is
1.
the ninth letter and third vowel of the modern English alphabet
2.
any of several speech sounds represented by this letter, in English as in bite or hit
3.
  1. something shaped like an I
  2. (in combination): an I-beam
4.
dot the i's and cross the t's, to pay meticulous attention to detail

i

symbol
1.
the imaginary number √–1 Also called j

I1

//
pronoun
1.
(subjective) refers to the speaker or writer
Word Origin
C12: reduced form of Old English ic; compare Old Saxon ik, Old High German ih, Sanskrit ahám

I2

symbol
1.
(chem) iodine
2.
(physics) current
3.
(physics) isospin
4.
(logic) a particular affirmative categorial statement, such as some men are married, often symbolized as SiP Compare A, E, O1
5.
(Roman numeral) one See Roman numerals
abbreviation
6.
Italy (international car registration)
Word Origin
(for sense 4) from Latin (aff)i(rmo) I affirm

-our

suffix
1.
indicating state, condition, or activity: behaviour, labour
Word Origin
in Old French -eur, from Latin -or, noun suffix

we

/wiː/
pronoun (subjective)
1.
refers to the speaker or writer and another person or other people: we should go now
2.
refers to all people or people in general: the planet on which we live
3.
  1. when used by editors or other writers, and formerly by monarchs, a formal word for I1
  2. (as noun): he uses the royal we in his pompous moods
4.
(informal) used instead of you with a tone of persuasiveness, condescension, or sarcasm: how are we today?
Word Origin
Old English wē, related to Old Saxon wī, Old High German wir, Old Norse vēr, Danish, Swedish vi, Sanskrit vayam
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for our
pron.

Old English ure "of us," genitive plural of the first person pronoun, from Proto-Germanic *ons (cf. Old Saxon usa, Old Frisian use, Old High German unsar, German unser, Gothic unsar "our"), from PIE *nes-, oblique case of personal pronoun in first person plural (cf. Latin nos "we," noster "our"). Also cf. ours. Ourselves (late 15c.), modeled on yourselves, replaced original construction we selfe, us selfum, etc.

I

pron.

12c. shortening of Old English ic, first person singular nominative pronoun, from Proto-Germanic *ekan (cf. Old Frisian ik, Old Norse ek, Norwegian eg, Danish jeg, Old High German ih, German ich, Gothic ik), from PIE *eg-, nominative form of the first person singular pronoun (cf. Sanskrit aham, Hittite uk, Latin ego (source of French Je), Greek ego, Russian ja, Lithuanian ). Reduced to i by mid-12c. in northern England, it began to be capitalized mid-13c. to mark it as a distinct word and avoid misreading in handwritten manuscripts.

The reason for writing I is ... the orthographic habit in the middle ages of using a 'long i' (that is, j or I) whenever the letter was isolated or formed the last letter of a group; the numeral 'one' was written j or I (and three iij, etc.), just as much as the pronoun. [Otto Jespersen, "Growth and Structure of the English Language," p.233]
The form ich or ik, especially before vowels, lingered in northern England until c.1400 and survived in southern dialects until 18c. The dot on the "small" letter -i- began to appear in 11c. Latin manuscripts, to distinguish the letter from the stroke of another letter (such as -m- or -n-). Originally a diacritic, it was reduced to a dot with the introduction of Roman type fonts.

we

pron.

Old English we, from Proto-Germanic *wiz (cf. Old Saxon wi, Old Norse ver, Danish vi, Old Frisian wi, Dutch wij, Old High German and German wir, Gothic weis "we"), from PIE *wei- (cf. Sanskrit vayam, Old Persian vayam, Hittite wesh "we," Old Church Slavonic ve "we two," Lithuanian vedu "we two").

The "royal we" (use of plural pronoun to denote oneself) is at least as old as "Beowulf" (c.725); use by writers to establish an impersonal style is also from Old English; it was especially common 19c. in unsigned editorials, to suggest staff consensus, and was lampooned as such since at least 1853 (cf. also wegotism).

-our

see -or.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
our in Medicine

I

  1. The symbol for the element iodine.

  2. iThe symbol for current.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
our in Science
i
  (ī)   
The number whose square is equal to -1. Numbers expressed in terms of i are called imaginary or complex numbers.
I  
  1. The symbol for electric current.

  2. The symbol for iodine.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Related Abbreviations for our

OUR

oxygen utilization rate

i

imaginary unit

I

  1. current
  2. ice
  3. incomplete
  4. institute
  5. intelligence
  6. interstate
  7. iodine
  8. isospin
  9. Italy (international vehicle ID)
  10. 1

We

Wednesday
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with our
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for our

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for our

3
4
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with our

Nearby words for our