of1/ʌv, ɑv; unstressed əv or, esp. before consonants, ə/USA pronunciationprep.
(used to indicate distance or direction from something, separation from something, or the condition of having been deprived of something):We came within a mile of the house. He was robbed of all his money.
by; coming from:the songs of Gershwin.
(used to indicate that the preceding noun concerns or is about the following noun):a book of mythology (= the book is about/concerns mythology).
resulting from, caused by, or in connection with:He was dead of hunger.
containing; made up of:a dress of silk.
(used to indicate that the preceding noun and the following noun are considered to be the same):Only a genius of a pilot could have saved us.
owned by, possessed by, or closely associated with:the property of the church (= The property is owned by the church).
having; possessing:a woman of courage (= The woman possesses courage).
(used to indicate that a noun is included, or to show a part of an amount):You are now one of us. Three-fifths of a cup should be enough.
(used to indicate that the following noun is the object or receiver of the action of the -ing form of the verb that precedes):the bombing of the city (= The city is being bombed.)
(used to indicate that the following noun is the subject or doer of the action of the -ing form of the verb that precedes):the crying of the baby (= It is the baby who does the crying).
Dialect Termsbefore the hour of; until:at ten minutes of one.
(used to indicate a certain time):It was the autumn of 1941.
of1(uv, ov; unstressed əv or, esp. before consonants, ə),USA pronunciationprep.
(used to indicate distance or direction from, separation, deprivation, etc.):within a mile of the church;south of Omaha;to be robbed of one's money.
(used to indicate derivation, origin, or source):a man of good family;the plays of Shakespeare;a piece of cake.
(used to indicate cause, motive, occasion, or reason):to die of hunger.
(used to indicate material, component parts, substance, or contents):a dress of silk; a book of poems;a package of cheese.
(used to indicate apposition or identity):Is that idiot of a salesman calling again?
(used to indicate specific identity or a particular item within a category):the city of Chicago; thoughts of love.
(used to indicate possession, connection, or association):the king of France; the property of the church.
(used to indicate inclusion in a number, class, or whole):one of us.
(used to indicate the objective relation, the object of the action noted by the preceding noun or the application of a verb or adjective):the ringing of bells;He writes her of home;I'm tired of working.
(used to indicate reference or respect):There is talk of peace.
(used to indicate qualities or attributes):an ambassador of remarkable tact.
(used to indicate a specified time):They arrived of an evening.
Dialect Terms[Chiefly Northern U.S.]before the hour of; until:twenty minutes of five.
on the part of:It was very mean of you to laugh at me.
in respect to:fleet of foot.
set aside for or devoted to:a minute of prayer.
[Archaic.]by:consumed of worms.
bef. 900; Middle English, Old English: of, off; cognate with German ab, Latin ab, Greek apó. See off,a-2, o'
Of is sometimes added to phrases beginning with the adverbhowortoofollowed by a descriptive adjective:How long of a drive will it be? It's too hot of a day for tennis.This construction is probably modeled on that in whichhowortoois followed bymuch,an unquestionably standard use in all varieties of speech and writing:How much of a problem will that cause the government? There was too much of an uproar for the speaker to be heard.The use of of with descriptive adjectives afterhowortoois largely restricted to informal speech. It occurs occasionally in informal writing and written representations of speech. See also couple, off.
Because the preposition of, when unstressed ( a piece of cake ), and the unstressed or contracted auxiliary verb have ( could have gone, could've gone ) are both pronounced
(əv),USA pronunciation or
(əv),USA pronunciation in connected speech, inexperienced writers commonly confuse the two words, spelling have as of ( I would of handed in my book report, but the dog ate it ). Professional writers have been able to exploit this spelling deliberately, especially in fiction, to help represent the speech of the uneducated: If he could of went home, he would of.
used with a verbal noun or gerund to link it with a following noun that is either the subject or the object of the verb embedded in the gerund: the breathing of a fine swimmer (subject), the breathing of clean air (object)
used to indicate possession, origin, or association: the house of my sister, to die of hunger
used after words or phrases expressing quantities: a pint of milk
constituted by, containing, or characterized by: a family of idiots, a rod of iron, a man of some depth
used to indicate separation, as in time or space: within a mile of the town, within ten minutes of the beginning of the concert
used to mark apposition: the city of Naples, a speech on the subject of archaeology
about; concerning: speak to me of love
used in passive constructions to indicate the agent: he was beloved of all
informalused to indicate a day or part of a period of time when some activity habitually occurs: I go to the pub of an evening
USbefore the hour of: a quarter of nine
Etymology: Old English (as prep and adv); related to Old Norse af, Old High German aba, Latin ab, Greek apo USAGE off