There are 2 main definitions of of in English:

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of 1

Pronunciation: /ɒv/
Pronunciation: /(ə)v/


1Expressing the relationship between a part and a whole:
1.1With the word denoting the part functioning as the head of the phrase: the sleeve of his coat in the back of the car the days of the week
More example sentences
  • Alana wiped her tears with the sleeve of her sweater.
  • Our kids were still asleep in the back of the car.
  • Moderate to vigorous exercise - if done most days of the week - also goes a long way toward keeping your heart healthy.
1.2After a number, quantifier, or partitive noun, with the word denoting the whole functioning as the head of the phrase: nine of the children came to the show a series of programmes [with mass noun]: a piece of cake
More example sentences
  • Police said two of the men charged were using false identities.
  • Some of the children had fallen asleep.
  • His career as television's pre-eminent art historian started with a series of programmes made for ITV.
2Expressing the relationship between a scale or measure and a value: an increase of 5% a height of 10 metres
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 15
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, in which the first is the head of the phrase and the second is something associated with it: 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 Watford
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 or type and the thing being specified which belongs to such a category: the city of Prague the idea of a just society the population of interbreeding individuals this type of book
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.
6Expressing the relationship between an abstract concept having a verb-like meaning and a noun denoting the subject of the underlying verb: the opinion of the directors the decision of the County Council
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.
6.1Where the second noun denotes the object of the underlying verb: the murder of two boys payment of his debts an admirer of Dickens
More example sentences
  • I almost went home, not particularly relishing the thought of an evening in a pub full of football supporters.
  • He had nothing to do with the murder of the child.
  • There has been strong criticism of the police for moving too slowly in the investigation.
6.2Where the head of the phrase is a predicative adjective: it was kind of you to ask I am certain of that
More example sentences
  • He could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty of all charges against him.
  • She said she panics when people are behind her and has become suspicious of men.
  • Well, it was kind of him to let you stay here.
7Indicating the relationship between a verb and an indirect object:
7.1With a verb expressing a mental state: 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?
7.2Expressing a cause: he died of cancer
More example sentences
  • He died of a heart attack at the age of 58.
8Indicating 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.
9North 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

Line breaks: of

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There are 2 main definitions of of in English:

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OF 2

Entry from US English dictionary


Old French.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: OF

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