There are 2 main definitions of of in English:

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of 1

Pronunciation: /əv/


1Expressing the relationship between a part and a whole: the sleeve of his coat in the back of the car the days of the week a series of programs a piece of cake a lot of money
2Expressing the relationship between a scale or measure and a value: an increase of 5 percent a height of 10 feet
More example sentences
  • The rise represents an increase of 36 per cent over three years.
  • Apple trees normally grow to a height of 20 to 30 feet.
  • Male lions can attain a weight of up to 225 kg.
2.1Expressing an age: a boy of fifteen
More example sentences
  • Almost 40 years ago, as a boy of ten, I was subjected to persistent bullying at a new school.
  • He was a man of middle age, tall with brown hair.
  • For a baby of only three months, she was remarkably heavy.
3Indicating an association between two entities, typically one of belonging: the son of a friend the government of India a photograph of the bride [with a possessive]: a former colleague of John’s
More example sentences
  • He was about five years older than me but I knew him as he was the son of one of my mum's friends
  • Back in the early 1960s, the government of Italy decided to set up an agency to regulate the production of wines.
  • On the cover was a photograph of an elderly couple, a man standing behind a lady with his arms wrapped tightly around her.
3.1Expressing the relationship between an author, artist, or composer and their works collectively: the plays of Shakespeare the paintings of Rembrandt
More example sentences
  • Music inspired by the plays of Shakespeare was the theme for Saturday night's 10th anniversary concert.
  • His mother sang and played the songs of Cole Porter and Jerome Kern
  • At about this time Correggio travelled to Rome where he must have studied classical works and the paintings of Raphael and Michelangelo.
4Expressing the relationship between a direction and a point of reference: north of Chicago on the left of the picture
More example sentences
  • The familiar chimneys of the main railway offices can be seen at the back, on the left of the picture.
  • He grew up in Encinitas, a small beach town just north of San Diego.
  • Kentucky is the largest beef-producing state east of the Mississippi.
5Expressing the relationship between a general category and the thing being specified which belongs to such a category: the city of Prague the idea of a just society the set of all genes
More example sentences
  • It was a packed house, with people of all ages enjoying a brilliant night out.
  • Two thirds of the artists were of Jewish backgrounds.
  • According to myth, the city of Rome was founded by twin brothers, Romulus and Remus, in 753 BC.
5.1Governed by a noun expressing the fact that a category is vague: this type of book the general kind of answer that would satisfy me
More example sentences
  • The £10,000 prize is awarded to the person who, in the opinion of the jury, has made the greatest contribution to art in the previous 12 months.
  • Under the governing charter, all UN countries are bound to accept the decision of the 15-member council.
  • Residents are already making preparations for the arrival of the hurricane.
6Indicating the relationship between a verb and an indirect object.
6.1With a verb expressing a mental state: they must be persuaded of the severity of the problem I don’t know of anything that would be suitable
More example sentences
  • There is a high proportion of this electorate who are not persuaded of his leadership abilities.
  • Do you know of any grants, scholarships, or programs designed to help someone in my position?
  • What do you think of the result of today's meeting?
6.2Expressing a cause: he died of cancer
More example sentences
  • He died of a heart attack at the age of 58.
7Indicating the material or substance constituting something: the house was built of bricks walls of stone
More example sentences
  • The bungalows are built of wood, concrete, and brick.
  • Pale walls of sand-colored stone encircled the town.
  • They lived in a simple house with bamboo walls and a roof made of coconut leaves.
8North American Expressing time in relation to the following hour: it would be just a quarter of three in New York
More example sentences
  • I want you home by quarter of five because your grandma's coming for dinner at five.
  • I'd love to stay here with you, but it's ten of two.
  • We were still eating supper when Gabe knocked on the door at quarter of eight.


It is a mistake to use of instead of have in constructions such as you should have asked (not you should of asked). For more information, see have (usage).



be of

Possess intrinsically; give rise to: this work is of great interest and value
More example sentences
  • The story was of particular interest to me as a New Zealander living in Australia.
  • Listen and make the other person feel that what he or she is saying is of interest to you.
  • The school has a number of buildings listed as being of historic interest.

of all

Denoting the least likely or expected example: Jordan, of all people, committed a flagrant foul
More example sentences
  • Though he says his writing was inspired by, of all people, Mickey Spillane, I suspect that's a bit of wry humor.
  • How ironic, you of all people, giving someone else a lecture on how to treat friends.
  • Amanda went weak with relief. He, of all men, had come to her rescue.

of all the nerve (or British cheek)

An expression of indignation.
Example sentences
  • Jerry decided to give me a detailed explanation of some date he had, of all the nerve!

of an evening (or morning, etc.)

1On most evenings (or mornings, etc.).
Example sentences
  • When I was growing up The Archers was a regular feature, always on in the kitchen of an evening and my sister and I were forced to keep quiet for the critical 15 minutes.
  • Thanks for confirming my long-held belief that I'm better off slowly destroying my liver than staying in of an evening.
  • We've come to delight in having a few tealights burning of an evening.
2At some time in the evenings (or mornings, etc.).
Example sentences
  • If you're generally stuck for something to have for dinner of an evening, then hop along to The Red Kitchen and see what people there are having.
  • Besides, the three of you look impossibly cute when you're sat like that of an evening.
  • Now - you MUST bring Connie over to the club for dinner of an evening soon; my wife was only talking to her last week and she was saying it's been so long since we've all eaten together!


Old English, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch af and German ab, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin ab and Greek apo.

Words that rhyme with of

hereof, thereof, whereof

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: of

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There are 2 main definitions of of in English:

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OF 2


Old French.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: OF

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