Of: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
September 29, 2023

1. Of (Preposition): Used to indicate distance or separation, as in time or space.
2. Of (Preposition): Used to indicate a point of reckoning.
3. Of (Preposition): Used to indicate origin or derivation.
4. Of (Preposition): Used to indicate the cause, motive, or reason.
5. Of (Preposition): Used to indicate the component materials, qualities, or aspects.
6. Of (Preposition): Used to indicate possession, belonging, or relation.

"Of" is a term you might encounter virtually every day, serving multiple purposes in the English language. This article will delve into the detailed meaning, usage, pronunciation, and other relevant aspects of "of." Read further to improve your knowledge about this simple yet crucial term.

"Of" Definition: What Does "Of" Mean?

"Of" is a versatile word in English with a variety of uses and meanings. Its usage is primarily seen as a preposition in sentences.

  • Distance or Separation: "Of" can indicate distance or separation in time or space. Example: 'A mile of the road.'
  • Point of Reckoning: "Of" can identify a specific point in relation to something else. Example: 'North of the river.'
  • Origin or Derivation: "Of" can denote the origin, source, or derivation. Example: 'The city of Rome.'
  • Reason, Cause, or Motive: "Of" can imply the cause, motive, or reason. Example: 'Died of fever.'
  • Component Materials, Qualities, or Aspects: "Of" can suggest the component materials, qualities, or aspects. Example: 'A man of honor.'
  • Possession, Belonging, or Relation: "Of" can mean the relation, belonging, or possession. Example: 'The book of John.'

Parts of Speech

In the English language, "of" primarily functions as a preposition. It enables the formation of "prepositional phrases," which can function as adjectives or adverbs. For instance, in the sentence, "The color of the sky is blue," "of the sky" is a prepositional phrase functioning as an adjective to modify "color."

How to Pronounce "Of"?

Pronouncing "of" correctly is key to fluid communication.

Phonetic Pronunciation: əv /uhv/

Synonyms of "Of": Other Ways to Say "Of"

Given "of's" multifunctionality, its synonyms may vary depending on context.

  • From
  • About
  • With
  • For
  • Regarding

Antonyms of "Of": Other Ways to Say "Of"

As a foundational preposition, "of" does not have straightforward antonyms in most contexts.

Examples of "Of" in a Sentence

The word "of" seamlessly integrates into sentences to draw connections.

Here are ten sentences to demonstrate its varied usage:

1. The flavors of the dish were tantalizing.
2. It's made of sturdy oak wood.
3. Critics of modern art often say, "Judge not lest ye be judged."
4. She spoke of times gone by.
5. I'm thinking of visiting Italy next summer.
6. The peculiar behavior of the fish makes me think there must be something in the water.
7. The color of the sky reminded me of her eyes.
8. On the eve of our big presentation, we said, "Good luck to us."
9. The photo of the sunset was taken with a professional camera.
10. The announcement of the new policy is making waves in the industry.

Frequency of Use

The word "of" is one of the most used words in English literature and everyday conversation. Its usage has remained consistent over time. According to various linguistic studies, "of" ranks as the fourth most common word in English.

Variants of "Of"

As a preposition, "of" doesn't have direct variants like verb or adjectival forms. However, it's worth noting its use in various contractions and combinations in English, like "o'clock" (of the clock) or "don't" (do not).

Related Terms to "Of"

The word "of" is a preposition with various applications in English. Several terms and expressions are associated with or include "of," shedding light on its diverse roles in sentences.

1. Off
2. Of-age
3. Of course
4. Of which
5. Of late
6. Of note
7. Of sorts
8. Of old

Etymology: History and Origins of "Of"

The word "of" has a rich linguistic history. It originates from Old English and has cognates in other Germanic languages. "Of" derives from the Old English "of," akin to Old High German "oba" (over, above), Latin "super" (over, above), and Greek "hyper" (over, above).

Derivatives and Compounds of "Of"

Being a simple preposition, "of" doesn't directly give rise to derivatives or compound words. However, its presence in various phrases and idiomatic expressions speaks to its versatility.

1. Of-age: Refers to someone who has reached a specific age, typically adulthood.
2. Of course: An expression that means certainly or definitely.

Common Misspellings of "Of"

Despite its simplicity, "of" is sometimes misspelled, particularly in its confusion with "off."

1. Off
2. Ov
3. Opf

10 Idioms Similar to "Of"

The word "of" is found in numerous idiomatic expressions that enhance the richness of the English language.

1. Of two minds
2. Out of town
3. Birds of a feather
4. Make a mountain out of a molehill
5. Bored out of one's mind
6. Out of the blue
7. Piece of cake
8. Of one's own accord
9. Out of sorts
10. A man of his word

10 Common Questions About "Of"

While "of" may seem straightforward, its varied usage can lead to questions and curiosities.

1. What role does "of" play in a sentence?

"Of" is a preposition that can indicate possession, origin, or association among other relationships.

2. How is "of" different from "off"?

While "of" is a preposition, "off" is generally an adverb or preposition indicating separation, distance, or disconnection.

3. Why is "of" commonly misused in "could of"?

This misuse stems from the phonetic similarity between "of" and the contraction "‘ve" in spoken English, leading to written errors.

4. Can "of" begin a sentence?

Yes, especially in descriptive phrases, e.g., "Of all the books, this one is my favorite."

5. Is "of" always necessary in sentences?

Not always. Sometimes, sentences can be restructured to eliminate the use of "of", without changing the meaning.

6. How is "of" used in dates?

It's used to link the day and the month, e.g., "4th of July".

7. Can "of" be replaced by another preposition?

Depending on the context, "of" can sometimes be replaced by other prepositions, but it often results in a change of meaning.

8. How does "of" function in idiomatic expressions?

"Of" typically maintains its role as a preposition within idioms, linking related ideas or concepts.

9. Is the use of "of" consistent in other languages?

No, the use and function of "of" can vary significantly across languages.

10. How can one master the use of "of"?

Regular reading, writing, and focused grammar exercises can help solidify the understanding and correct use of "of."


"Of" is a fundamental building block in the English language, underscoring numerous relationships and associations between ideas, things, and concepts. Its correct use is vital for clear, accurate communication. As with many aspects of language, the mastery of "of" is achieved through consistent exposure and practice. Explore our entire definitions section to learn more about words and their meanings.

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