British Library Cataloguing Data
The concise Oxford dictionary of current English.--8th ed.
1. English language--Dictionaries
I. Allen, R. E. (Robert Edward), 1944-423
ISBN 0-19-861243-5 thumb index
ISBN 0-19-861200-1 plain
oaf n. (pl. oafs) 1 an awkward lout. 2 a stupid person. ЬЬoafish
adj. oafishly adv. oafishness n. [orig. = elf's child, var.
of obs. auf f. ON lfr elf]
oak n. 1 any tree or shrub of the genus Quercus usu. having lobed
leaves and bearing acorns. 2 the durable wood of this tree,
used esp. for furniture and in building. 3 (attrib.) made of
oak (oak table). 4 a heavy outer door of a set of university
college rooms. 5 (the Oaks) (treated as sing.) an annual race
at Epsom for three-year-old fillies (from the name of a nearby
estate). Ьoak-apple (or -gall) an apple-like gall containing
larvae of certain wasps, found on oak trees. ЬЬoaken adj. [OE
ac f. Gmc]
oakum n. a loose fibre obtained by picking old rope to pieces and
used esp. in caulking. [OE ‘cumbe, acumbe, lit. 'off-combings']
O. & M. abbr. organization and methods.
OAP abbr. Brit. old-age pensioner.
oar n. 1 a pole with a blade used for rowing or steering a boat by
leverage against the water. 2 a rower. Ьput one's oar in
interfere, meddle. rest (US lay) on one's oars relax one's
efforts. ЬЬoared adj. (also in comb.). oarless adj. [OE ar f.
Gmc, perh. rel. to Gk eretmos oar]
oarfish n. a ribbonfish, Regalecus glesne.
oarlock n. US a rowlock.
oarsman n. (pl. -men; fem. oarswoman, pl. -women) a rower.
oarweed n. (also oreweed) any large marine alga esp. of the genus
Laminaria, often growing along shores.
OAS abbr. 1 Organization of American States. 2 on active service.
oasis n. (pl. oases) 1 a fertile spot in a desert, where water is
found. 2 an area or period of calm in the midst of turbulence.
[LL f. Gk, app. of Egypt. orig.]
oast n. a kiln for drying hops. Ьoast-house a building containing
this. [OE ast f. Gmc]
oat n. 1 a a cereal plant, Avena sativa, cultivated in cool
climates. b (in pl.) the grain yielded by this, used as food.
2 any other cereal of the genus Avena, esp. the wild oat, A.
fatua. 3 poet. the oat-stem used as a musical pipe by shepherds
etc., usu. in pastoral or bucolic poetry. 4 (in pl.) sl.
sexual gratification. Ьfeel one's oats colloq. 1 be lively. 2
US feel self-important. oat-grass any of various grasses, esp.
of the genus Arrhenatherum. off one's oats colloq. not hungry.
sow one's oats (or wild oats) indulge in youthful excess or
promiscuity. ЬЬoaten adj. [OE ate, pl. atan, of unkn. orig.]
oatcake n. a thin unleavened biscuit-like food made of oatmeal, common
in Scotland and N. England.
oath n. (pl. oaths) 1 a solemn declaration or undertaking (often
naming God) as to the truth of something or as a commitment to
future action. 2 a statement or promise contained in an oath
(oath of allegiance). 3 a profane or blasphemous utterance; a
curse. Ьon (or under) oath having sworn a solemn oath. take
(or swear) an oath make such a declaration or undertaking. [OE
ath f. Gmc]
oatmeal n. 1 meal made from ground oats used esp. in porridge and
oatcakes. 2 a greyish-fawn colour flecked with brown .
ob- prefix (also oc- before c, of- before f, op- before p) occurring
mainly in words of Latin origin, meaning: 1 exposure, openness
(object; obverse). 2 meeting or facing (occasion; obvious). 3
direction (oblong; offer). 4 opposition, hostility, or
resistance (obstreperous; opponent; obstinate). 5 hindrance,
blocking, or concealment (obese; obstacle; occult). 6 finality
or completeness (obsolete; occupy). 7 (in modern technical
words) inversely; in a direction or manner contrary to the usual
(obconical; obovate). [L f. ob towards, against, in the way
Obad. abbr. Obadiah (Old Testament).
obbligato n. (pl. -os) Mus. an accompaniment, usu. special and unusual
in effect, forming an integral part of a composition (with
violin obbligato). [It., = obligatory, f. L obligatus past
part. (as OBLIGE)]
obconical adj. (also obconic) in the form of an inverted cone.
obcordate adj. Biol. in the shape of a heart and attached at the pointed
obdurate adj. 1 stubborn. 2 hardened against persuasion or influence.
ЬЬobduracy n. obdurately adv. obdurateness n. [ME f. L
obduratus past part. of obdurare (as OB-, durare harden f.
OBE abbr. (in the UK) Officer of the Order of the British Empire.
obeah n. (also obi) a kind of sorcery practised esp. in the West
Indies. [W. Afr.]
obeche n. 1 a West African tree, Triplochiton scleroxylon. 2 the
light-coloured timber from this. [Nigerian name]
obedience n. 1 obeying as an act or practice or quality. 2 submission to
another's rule or authority. 3 compliance with a law or
command. 4 Eccl. a compliance with a monastic rule. b a
sphere of authority (the Roman obedience). Ьin obedience to
actuated by or in accordance with. [ME f. OF f. L obedientia
obedient adj. 1 obeying or ready to obey. 2 (often foll. by to)
submissive to another's will; dutiful (obedient to the law).
ЬЬobediently adv. [ME f. OF f. L obediens -entis (as OBEY)]
obeisance n. 1 a bow, curtsey, or other respectful or submissive gesture
(make an obeisance). 2 homage, submission, deference (pay
obeisance). ЬЬobeisant adj. obeisantly adv. [ME f. OF
obeissance (as OBEY)]
obeli pl. of OBELUS.
obelisk n. 1 a a tapering usu. four-sided stone pillar set up as a
monument or landmark etc. b a mountain, tree, etc., of similar
shape. 2 = OBELUS. [L obeliscus f. Gk obeliskos dimin. of
obelize v.tr. (also -ise) mark with an obelus as spurious etc. [Gk
obelizo f. obelos: see OBELISK]
obelus n. (pl. obeli) 1 a dagger-shaped reference mark in printed
matter. 2 a mark (-- or *!) used in ancient manuscripts to mark
a word or passage, esp. as spurious. [L f. Gk obelos SPIT(2)]
obese adj. very fat; corpulent. ЬЬobeseness n. obesity n. [L
obesus (as OB-, edere eat)]
obey v. 1 tr. a carry out the command of (you will obey me). b
carry out (a command) (obey orders). 2 intr. do what one is
told to do. 3 tr. be actuated by (a force or impulse).
ЬЬobeyer n. [ME f. OF obeir f. L obedire (as OB-, audire hear)]
obfuscate v.tr. 1 obscure or confuse (a mind, topic, etc.). 2 stupefy,
bewilder. ЬЬobfuscation n. obfuscatory adj. [LL obfuscare (as
OB-, fuscus dark)]
obi(1) var. of OBEAH.
obi(2) n. (pl. obis) a broad sash worn with a Japanese kimono. [Jap.
obit n. colloq. an obituary. [abbr.]
n. (pl. obiter dicta) 1 a judge's expression of opinion
uttered in court or giving judgement, but not essential to the
decision and therefore without binding authority. 2 an
incidental remark. [L f. obiter by the way + dictum a thing
obituary n. (pl. -ies) 1 a notice of a death or deaths esp. in a
newspaper. 2 an account of the life of a deceased person. 3
(attrib.) of or serving as an obituary. ЬЬobituarial adj.
obituarist n. [med.L obituarius f. L obitus death f. obire
obit- die (as OB-, ire go)]
object n. & v. --n. 1 a material thing that can be seen or touched.
2 (foll. by of) a person or thing to which action or feeling is
directed (the object of attention; the object of our study). 3
a thing sought or aimed at; a purpose. 4 Gram. a noun or its
equivalent governed by an active transitive verb or by a
preposition. 5 Philos. a thing external to the thinking mind or
subject. 6 derog. a person or thing of esp. a pathetic or
ridiculous appearance. 7 Computing a package of information and
a description of its manipulation. --v. 1 intr. (often foll.
by to, against) express or feel opposition, disapproval, or
reluctance; protest (I object to being treated like this;
objecting against government policies). 2 tr. (foll. by that +
clause) state as an objection (objected that they were kept
waiting). 3 tr. (foll. by to, against, or that + clause) adduce
(a quality or fact) as contrary or damaging (to a case). Ьno
object not forming an important or restricting factor (money no
object). object-ball Billiards etc. that at which a player aims
the cue-ball. object-glass the lens in a telescope etc. nearest
to the object observed. object language 1 a language described
by means of another language (see METALANGUAGE). 2 Computing a
language into which a program is translated by means of a
compiler or assembler. object-lesson a striking practical
example of some principle. object of the exercise the main
point of an activity. ЬЬobjectless adj. objector n. [ME f.
med.L objectum thing presented to the mind, past part. of L
objicere (as OB-, jacere ject- throw)]
objectify v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 make objective; embody. 2 present as an
object of perception. ЬЬobjectification n.
objection n. 1 an expression or feeling of opposition or disapproval. 2
the act of objecting. 3 an adverse reason or statement. [ME f.
OF objection or LL objectio (as OBJECT)]
adj. 1 open to objection. 2 unpleasant, offensive.
ЬЬobjectionableness n. objectionably adv.
objective adj. & n. --adj. 1 external to the mind; actually existing;
real. 2 (of a person, writing, art, etc.) dealing with outward
things or exhibiting facts uncoloured by feelings or opinions;
not subjective. 3 Gram. (of a case or word) constructed as or
appropriate to the object of a transitive verb or preposition
(cf. ACCUSATIVE). 4 aimed at (objective point). 5 (of
symptoms) observed by another and not only felt by the patient.
--n. 1 something sought or aimed at; an objective point. 2
Gram. the objective case. 3 = object-glass. ЬЬobjectival adj.
objectively adv. objectiveness n. objectivity n. objectivize
v.tr. (also -ise). objectivization n. [med.L objectivus (as
n. 1 the tendency to lay stress on what is objective. 2
Philos. the belief that certain things (esp. moral truths) exist
apart from human knowledge or perception of them. ЬЬobjectivist
n. objectivistic adj.
n. (pl. objets d'art pronunc. same) a small decorative object.
[F, lit. 'object of art']
objurgate v.tr. literary chide or scold. ЬЬobjurgation n. objurgatory
adj. [L objurgare objurgat- (as OB-, jurgare quarrel f.
adj. Bot. (esp. of leaves) lanceolate with the more pointed
end at the base.
oblate(1) n. a person dedicated to a monastic or religious life or work.
[F f. med.L oblatus f. offere oblat- offer (as OB-, ferre
oblate(2) adj. Geom. (of a spheroid) flattened at the poles (cf.
PROLATE). [mod.L oblatus (as OBLATE(1))]
oblation n. Relig. 1 a thing offered to a divine being. 2 the
presentation of bread and wine to God in the Eucharist.
ЬЬoblational adj. oblatory adj. [ME f. OF oblation or LL
oblatio (as OBLATE(1))]
obligate v. & adj. --v.tr. 1 (usu. in passive; foll. by to + infin.)
bind (a person) legally or morally. 2 US commit (assets) as
security. --adj. Biol. that has to be as described (obligate
parasite). ЬЬobligator n. [L obligare obligat- (as OBLIGE)]
n. 1 the constraining power of a law, precept, duty, contract,
etc. 2 a duty; a burdensome task. 3 a binding agreement, esp.
one enforceable under legal penalty; a written contract or bond.
4 a a service or benefit (repay an obligation). b indebtedness
for this (be under an obligation). Ьday of obligation Eccl. a
day on which all are required to attend Mass or Communion. of
obligation obligatory. ЬЬobligational adj. [ME f. OF f. L
obligatio -onis (as OBLIGE)]
adj. 1 legally or morally binding. 2 compulsory and not merely
permissive. 3 constituting an obligation. ЬЬobligatorily adv.
[ME f. LL obligatorius (as OBLIGE)]
oblige v. 1 tr. (foll. by to + infin.) constrain, compel. 2 tr. be
binding on. 3 tr. a make indebted by conferring a favour. b
(foll. by with, or by + verbal noun) gratify (oblige me by
leaving). c perform a service for (often absol.: will you
oblige?). 4 tr. (in passive; foll. by to) be indebted (am
obliged to you for your help). 5 intr. colloq. (foll. by with)
make a contribution of a specified kind (Doris obliged with a
song). 6 tr. archaic or Law (foll. by to, or to + infin.) bind
by oath, promise, contract, etc. Ьmuch obliged an expression of
thanks. ЬЬobliger n. [ME f. OF obliger f. L obligare (as OB-,
obligee n. Law a person to whom another is bound by contract or other
legal procedure (cf. OBLIGOR).
obliging adj. courteous, accommodating; ready to do a service or
kindness. ЬЬobligingly adv. obligingness n.
obligor n. Law a person who is bound to another by contract or other
legal procedure (cf. OBLIGEE).
oblique adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 a slanting; declining from the
vertical or horizontal. b diverging from a straight line or
course. 2 not going straight to the point; roundabout,
indirect. 3 Geom. a (of a line, plane figure, or surface)
inclined at other than a right angle. b (of an angle) acute or
obtuse. c (of a cone, cylinder, etc.) with an axis not
perpendicular to the plane of its base. 4 Anat. neither
parallel nor perpendicular to the long axis of a body or limb.
5 Bot. (of a leaf) with unequal sides. 6 Gram. denoting any
case other than the nominative or vocative. --n. 1 an oblique
stroke (/). 2 an oblique muscle. --v.intr. (obliques,
obliqued, obliquing) esp. Mil. advance obliquely. Ьoblique
oration (or speech) = reported speech (see REPORT). oblique
sphere see SPHERE. ЬЬobliquely adv. obliqueness n. obliquity
n. [ME f. F f. L obliquus]
v.tr. 1 a blot out; efface, erase, destroy. b leave no clear
traces of. 2 deface (a postage stamp etc.) to prevent further
use. ЬЬobliteration n. obliterative adj. obliterator n. [L
obliterare (as OB-, litera LETTER)]
oblivion n. 1 a the state of having or being forgotten. b disregard; an
unregarded state. 2 an amnesty or pardon. Ьfall into oblivion
be forgotten or disused. [ME f. OF f. L oblivio -onis f.
oblivious adj. 1 (often foll. by of) forgetful, unmindful. 2 (foll. by
to, of) unaware or unconscious of. ЬЬobliviously adv.
obliviousness n. [ME f. L obliviosus (as OBLIVION)]
oblong adj. & n. --adj. 1 deviating from a square form by having one
long axis, esp. rectangular with adjacent sides unequal. 2
greater in breadth than in height. --n. an oblong figure or
object. [ME f. L oblongus longish (as OB-, longus long)]
obloquy n. 1 the state of being generally ill spoken of. 2 abuse,
detraction. [ME f. LL obloquium contradiction f. L obloqui deny
(as OB-, loqui speak)]
obnoxious adj. offensive, objectionable, disliked. ЬЬobnoxiously adv.
obnoxiousness n. [orig. = vulnerable (to harm), f. L obnoxiosus
or obnoxius (as OB-, noxa harm: assoc. with NOXIOUS)]
oboe n. 1 a a woodwind double-reed instrument of treble pitch and
plaintive incisive tone. b its player. 2 an organ stop with a
quality resembling an oboe. Ьoboe d'amore an oboe wth a
pear-shaped bell and mellow tone, pitched a minor third below a
normal oboe, commonly used in baroque music. ЬЬoboist n. [It.
oboe or F hautbois f. haut high + bois wood: d'amore = of love]
obol n. an ancient Greek coin, equal to one-sixth of a drachma. [L
obolus f. Gk obolos, var. of obelos OBELUS]
obovate adj. Biol. (of a leaf) ovate with the narrower end at the
obscene adj. 1 offensively or repulsively indecent, esp. by offending
accepted sexual morality. 2 colloq. highly offensive or
repugnant (an obscene accumulation of wealth). 3 Brit. Law (of
a publication) tending to deprave or corrupt. ЬЬobscenely adv.
obsceneness n. [F obscЉne or L obsc(a)enus ill-omened,
obscenity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state or quality of being obscene. 2 an
obscene action, word, etc. [L obscaenitas (as OBSCENE)]
n. opposition to knowledge and enlightenment. ЬЬobscurant n.
obscurantist n. [obscurant f. G f. L obscurans f. obscurare:
obscure adj. & v. --adj. 1 not clearly expressed or easily understood.
2 unexplained, doubtful. 3 dark, dim. 4 indistinct; not clear.
5 hidden; remote from observation. 6 a unnoticed. b (of a
person) undistinguished, hardly known. 7 (of a colour) dingy,
dull, indefinite. --v.tr. 1 make obscure, dark, indistinct, or
unintelligible. 2 dim the glory of; outshine. 3 conceal from
sight. Ьobscure vowel = indeterminate vowel. ЬЬobscuration n.
obscurely adv. [ME f. OF obscur f. L obscurus dark]
obscurity n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being obscure. 2 an obscure
person or thing. [F obscurit‚ f. L obscuritas (as OBSCURE)]
n. earnest entreaty. [ME f. L obsecratio f. obsecrare entreat
(as OB-, sacrare f. sacer sacri sacred)]
obsequies n.pl. 1 funeral rites. 2 a funeral. ЬЬobsequial adj. [ME,
pl. of obs. obsequy f. AF obsequie, OF obseque f. med.L
obsequiae f. L exsequiae funeral rites (see EXEQUIES): assoc.
with obsequium (see OBSEQUIOUS)]
adj. servilely obedient or attentive. ЬЬobsequiously adv.
obsequiousness n. [ME f. L obsequiosus f. obsequium compliance
(as OB-, sequi follow)]
n. 1 the act or process of keeping or performing a law, duty,
custom, ritual, etc. 2 an act of a religious or ceremonial
character; a customary rite. 3 the rule of a religious order.
4 archaic respect, deference. [ME f. OF f. L observantia (as
observant adj. & n. --adj. 1 acute or diligent in taking notice. 2
attentive in esp. religious observances (an observant few).
--n. (Observant) a member of the branch of the Franciscan order
that observes the strict rule. ЬЬobservantly adv. [F (as
n. 1 the act or an instance of noticing; the condition of being
noticed. 2 perception; the faculty of taking notice. 3 a
remark or statement, esp. one that is of the nature of a
comment. 4 a the accurate watching and noting of phenomena as
they occur in nature with regard to cause and effect or mutual
relations. b the noting of the symptoms of a patient, the
behaviour of a suspect, etc. 5 the taking of the sun's or
another heavenly body's altitude to find a latitude or
longitude. 6 Mil. the watching of a fortress or hostile
position or movements. Ьobservation car esp. US a carriage in
a train built so as to afford good views. observation post Mil.
a post for watching the effect of artillery fire etc. under
observation being watched. ЬЬobservational adj.
observationally adv. [ME f. L observatio (as OBSERVE)]
n. (pl. -ies) a room or building equipped for the observation
of natural, esp. astronomical or meteorological, phenomena.
[mod.L observatorium f. L observare (as OBSERVE)]
observe v. 1 tr. (often foll. by that, how + clause) perceive, note;
take notice of; become conscious of. 2 tr. watch carefully. 3
tr. a follow or adhere to (a law, command, method, principle,
etc.). b keep or adhere to (an appointed time). c maintain
(silence). d duly perform (a rite). e celebrate (an
anniversary). 4 tr. examine and note (phenomena) without the
aid of experiment. 5 tr. (often foll. by that + clause) say,
esp. by way of comment. 6 intr. (foll. by on) make a remark or
remarks about. ЬЬobservable adj. observably adv. [ME f. OF
observer f. L observare watch (as OB-, servare keep)]
observer n. 1 a person who observes. 2 an interested spectator. 3 a
person who attends a conference etc. to note the proceedings but
does not participate. 4 a a person trained to notice and
identify aircraft. b a person carried in an aeroplane to note
the enemy's position etc.
obsess v.tr. (often in passive) preoccupy, haunt; fill the mind of (a
person) continually. ЬЬobsessive adj. & n. obsessively adv.
obsessiveness n. [L obsidere obsess- (as OB-, sedere sit)]
obsession n. 1 the act of obsessing or the state of being obsessed. 2 a
persistent idea or thought dominating a person's mind. 3 a
condition in which such ideas are present. ЬЬobsessional adj.
obsessionalism n. obsessionally adv. [L obsessio (as OBSESS)]
obsidian n. a dark glassy volcanic rock formed from hardened lava. [L
obsidianus, error for obsianus f. Obsius, the name (in Pliny)
of the discoverer of a similar stone]
adj. becoming obsolete; going out of use or date.
ЬЬobsolescence n. [L obsolescere obsolescent- (as OB-, solere
obsolete adj. 1 disused, discarded, antiquated. 2 Biol. less developed
than formerly or than in a cognate species; rudimentary.
ЬЬobsoletely adv. obsoleteness n. obsoletism n. [L obsoletus
past part. (as OBSOLESCENT)]
obstacle n. a person or thing that obstructs progress. Ьobstacle-race a
race in which various obstacles have to be negotiated. [ME f.
OF f. L obstaculum f. obstare impede (as OB-, stare stand)]
obstetric adj. (also obstetrical) of or relating to childbirth and
associated processes. ЬЬobstetrically adv. obstetrician n.
[mod.L obstetricus for L obstetricius f. obstetrix midwife f.
obstare be present (as OB-, stare stand)]
n.pl. (treated as sing.) the branch of medicine and surgery
concerned with childbirth and midwifery.
obstinate adj. 1 stubborn, intractable. 2 firmly adhering to one's
chosen course of action or opinion despite dissuasion. 3
inflexible, self-willed. 4 unyielding; not readily responding
to treatment etc. ЬЬobstinacy n. obstinately adv. [ME f. L
obstinatus past part. of obstinare persist (as OB-, stare
adj. 1 turbulent, unruly; noisily resisting control. 2 noisy,
vociferous. ЬЬobstreperously adv. obstreperousness n. [L
obstreperus f. obstrepere (as OB-, strepere make a noise)]
obstruct v.tr. 1 block up; make hard or impossible to pass. 2 prevent
or retard the progress of; impede. ЬЬobstructor n. [L
obstruere obstruct- (as OB-, struere build)]
n. 1 the act or an instance of blocking; the state of being
blocked. 2 the act of making or the state of becoming more or
less impassable. 3 an obstacle or blockage. 4 the retarding of
progress by deliberate delays, esp. of Parliamentary business.
5 Sport the act of unlawfully obstructing another player. 6
Med. a blockage in a bodily passage, esp. in an intestine.
ЬЬobstructionism n. (in sense 4). obstructionist n. (in sense
4). [L obstructio (as OBSTRUCT)]
adj. & n. --adj. causing or intended to cause an obstruction.
--n. an obstructive person or thing. ЬЬobstructively adv.
obtain v. 1 tr. acquire, secure; have granted to one. 2 intr. be
prevalent or established or in vogue. ЬЬobtainable adj.
obtainability n. obtainer n. obtainment n. obtention n. [ME
f. OF obtenir f. L obtinere obtent- keep (as OB-, tenere hold)]
obtrude v. 1 intr. be or become obtrusive. 2 tr. (often foll. by on,
upon) thrust forward (oneself, one's opinion, etc.)
importunately. ЬЬobtruder n. obtrusion n. [L obtrudere
obtrus- (as OB-, trudere push)]
obtrusive adj. 1 unpleasantly or unduly noticeable. 2 obtruding oneself.
ЬЬobtrusively adv. obtrusiveness n. [as OBTRUDE]
obtund v.tr. blunt or deaden (a sense or faculty). [ME f. L obtundere
obtus- (as OB-, tundere beat)]
obtuse adj. 1 dull-witted; slow to understand. 2 of blunt form; not
sharp-pointed or sharp-edged. 3 (of an angle) more than 90ш and
less than 180ш. 4 (of pain or the senses) dull; not acute.
ЬЬobtusely adv. obtuseness n. obtusity n. [L obtusus past
part. (as OBTUND)]
obverse n. & adj. --n. 1 a the side of a coin or medal etc. bearing
the head or principal design. b this design (cf. REVERSE). 2
the front or proper or top side of a thing. 3 the counterpart
of a fact or truth. --adj. 1 Biol. narrower at the base or
point of attachment than at the apex or top (see OB- 7). 2
answering as the counterpart to something else. ЬЬobversely
adv. [L obversus past part. (as OBVERT)]
obvert v.tr. Logic alter (a proposition) so as to infer another
proposition with a contradictory predicate, e.g. no men are
immortal to all men are mortal. ЬЬobversion n. [L obvertere
obvers- (as OB-, vertere turn)]
obviate v.tr. get round or do away with (a need, inconvenience, etc.).
ЬЬobviation n. [LL obviare oppose (as OB-, via way)]
obvious adj. easily seen or recognized or understood; palpable,
indubitable. ЬЬobviously adv. obviousness n. [L obvius f. ob
viam in the way]
ocarina n. a small egg-shaped ceramic (usu. terracotta) or metal wind
instrument. [It. f. oca goose (from its shape)]
n. the principle attributed to the English philosopher William
of Occam (d. c.1350) that the fewest possible assumptions are
to be made in explaining a thing.
occasion n. & v. --n. 1 a a special or noteworthy event or happening
(dressed for the occasion). b the time or occurrence of this
(on the occasion of their marriage). 2 (often foll. by for, or
to + infin.) a reason, ground, or justification (there is no
occasion to be angry). 3 a juncture suitable for doing
something; an opportunity. 4 an immediate but subordinate or
incidental cause (the assassination was the occasion of the
war). --v.tr. 1 be the occasion or cause of; bring about esp.
incidentally. 2 (foll. by to + infin.) cause (a person or thing
to do something). Ьon occasion now and then; when the need
arises. rise to the occasion produce the necessary will,
energy, ability, etc., in unusually demanding circumstances.
take occasion (foll. by to + infin.) make use of the
opportunity. [ME f. OF occasion or L occasio juncture, reason,
f. occidere occas- go down (as OB-, cadere fall)]
adj. 1 happening irregularly and infrequently. 2 made or meant
for, or associated with, a special occasion. 3 acting on a
special occasion. Ьoccasional cause a secondary cause; an
occasion (see OCCASION n. 4). occasional table a small table
for irregular and varied use. ЬЬoccasionality n. occasionally
Occident n. poet. or rhet. 1 (prec. by the) the West. 2 western
Europe. 3 Europe, America, or both, as distinct from the
Orient. 4 European in contrast to Oriental civilization. [ME
f. OF f. L occidens -entis setting, sunset, west (as OCCASION)]
adj. & n. --adj. 1 of the Occident. 2 western. 3 of Western
nations. --n. (Occidental) a native of the Occident.
ЬЬoccidentalism n. occidentalist n. occidentalize v.tr. (also
-ise). occidentally adv. [ME f. OF occidental or L
occidentalis (as OCCIDENT)]
occipito- comb. form the back of the head. [as OCCIPUT]
occiput n. the back of the head. ЬЬoccipital adj. [ME f. L occiput
(as OB-, caput head)]
Occitan n. (also attrib.) the Proven‡al language. ЬЬOccitanian n. &
adj. [F: cf. LANGUE D'OC]
occlude v.tr. 1 stop up or close (pores or an orifice). 2 Chem. absorb
and retain (gases or impurities). Ьoccluded front Meteorol. a
front resulting from occlusion. [L occludere occlus- (as OB-,
occlusion n. 1 the act or process of occluding. 2 Meteorol. a phenomenon
in which the cold front of a depression overtakes the warm
front, causing upward displacement of warm air between them. 3
Dentistry the position of the teeth when the jaws are closed. 4
the blockage or closing of a hollow organ etc. (coronary
occlusion). 5 Phonet. the momentary closure of the vocal
passage. ЬЬocclusive adj.
occult adj. & v. --adj. 1 involving the supernatural; mystical,
magical. 2 kept secret; esoteric. 3 recondite, mysterious;
beyond the range of ordinary knowledge. 4 Med. not obvious on
inspection. --v.tr. Astron. (of a concealing body much greater
in size than the concealed body) hide from view by passing in
front; conceal by being in front. Ьthe occult occult phenomena
generally. occulting light a lighthouse light that is cut off
at regular intervals. ЬЬoccultation n. occultism n. occultist
n. occultly adv. occultness n. [L occulere occult- (as OB-,
occupant n. 1 a person who occupies, resides in, or is in a place etc.
(both occupants of the car were unhurt). 2 a person holding
property, esp. land, in actual possession. 3 a person who
establishes a title by taking possession of something previously
without an established owner. ЬЬoccupancy n. (pl. -ies). [F
occupant or L occupans -antis (as OCCUPY)]
n. 1 what occupies one; a means of passing one's time. 2 a
person's temporary or regular employment; a business, calling,
or pursuit. 3 the act of occupying or state of being occupied.
4 a the act of taking or holding possession of (a country,
district, etc.) by military force. b the state or time of this.
5 tenure, occupancy. 6 (attrib.) for the sole use of the
occupiers of the land concerned (occupation road). [ME f. AF
ocupacioun, OF occupation f. L occupatio -onis (as OCCUPY)]
adj. 1 of or in the nature of an occupation or occupations. 2
(of a disease, hazard, etc.) rendered more likely by one's
occupation. Ьoccupational therapy mental or physical activity
designed to assist recovery from disease or injury.
occupier n. Brit. a person residing in a property as its owner or
occupy v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 reside in; be the tenant of. 2 take up or
fill (space or time or a place). 3 hold (a position or office).
4 take military possession of (a country, region, town,
strategic position). 5 place oneself in (a building etc.)
forcibly or without authority. 6 (usu. in passive; often foll.
by in, with) keep busy or engaged. [ME f. OF occuper f. L
occupare seize (as OB-, capere take)]
occur v.intr. (occurred, occurring) 1 come into being as an event or
process at or during some time; happen. 2 exist or be
encountered in some place or conditions. 3 (foll. by to; usu.
foll. by that + clause) come into the mind of, esp. as an
unexpected or casual thought (it occurred to me that you were
right). [L occurrere go to meet, present itself (as OB-,
n. 1 the act or an instance of occurring. 2 an incident or
event. Ьof frequent occurrence often occurring. [occurrent
that occurs f. F f. L occurrens -entis (as OCCUR)]
ocean n. 1 a a large expanse of sea, esp. each of the main areas
called the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Antarctic
Oceans. b these regarded cumulatively as the body of water
surrounding the land of the globe. 2 (usu. prec. by the) the
sea. 3 (often in pl.) a very large expanse or quantity of
anything (oceans of time). Ьocean-going (of a ship) able to
cross oceans. ocean tramp a merchant ship, esp. a steamer,
running on no regular line or route. ЬЬoceanward adv. (also
-wards). [ME f. OF occean f. L oceanus f. Gk okeanos stream
encircling the earth's disc, Atlantic]
n. (pl. oceanariums or -ria) a large seawater aquarium for
keeping sea animals. [OCEAN + -ARIUM, after aquarium]
Oceania n. the islands of the Pacific and adjacent seas. ЬЬOceanian
adj. & n. [mod.L f. F Oc‚anie f. L (as OCEAN)]
oceanic adj. 1 of, like, or near the ocean. 2 (of a climate) governed
by the ocean. 3 of the part of the ocean distant from the
continents. 4 (Oceanic) of Oceania.
Oceanid n. (pl. Oceanids or -ides) (in Greek mythology) an ocean
nymph. [Gk okeanis -idos daughter of Oceanus]
n. the study of the oceans. ЬЬoceanographer n. oceanographic
adj. oceanographical adj.
ocellus n. (pl. ocelli) 1 each of the simple, as opposed to compound,
eyes of insects etc. 2 a spot of colour surrounded by a ring of
a different colour on the wing of a butterfly etc. ЬЬocellar
adj. ocellate adj. ocellated adj. [L, dimin. of oculus eye]
ocelot n. 1 a medium-sized cat, Felis pardalis, native to S. and
Central America, having a deep yellow or orange coat with black
striped and spotted markings. 2 its fur. [F f. Nahuatl ocelotl
och int. Sc. & Ir. expressing surprise or regret. [Gael. & Ir.]
oche n. (also hockey) Darts the line behind which the players stand
when throwing. [20th c.: orig. uncert. (perh. connected with OF
ochen cut a deep notch in)]
ocher US var. of OCHRE.
n. (pl. -ies) mob rule. ЬЬochlocrat n. ochlocratic adj. [F
ochlocratie f. Gk okhlokratia f. okhlos mob]
ochre n. (US ocher) 1 a mineral of clay and ferric oxide, used as a
pigment varying from light yellow to brown or red. 2 a pale
brownish yellow. ЬЬochreish adj. ochreous adj. ochrous adj.
ochry adj. [ME f. OF ocre f. L ochra f. Gk okhra yellow ochre]
-ock suffix forming nouns orig. with diminutive sense (hillock;
bullock). [from or after OE -uc, -oc]
ocker n. Austral. sl. a boorish or aggressive Australian (esp. as a
stereotype). [20th c.: orig. uncert.]
o'clock adv. of the clock (used to specify the hour) (6 o'clock).
OCR abbr. optical character recognition.
Oct. abbr. October.
oct. abbr. octavo.
oct- comb. form assim. form of OCTA-, OCTO- before a vowel.
octa- comb. form (also oct- before a vowel) eight. [Gk okta- f. okto
octad n. a group of eight. [LL octas octad- f. Gk oktas -ados f.
octagon n. 1 a plane figure with eight sides and angles. 2 an object
or building with this cross-section. ЬЬoctagonal adj.
octagonally adv. [L octagonos f. Gk octagonos (as OCTA-, -GON)]
n. (pl. octahedrons or octahedra) 1 a solid figure contained
by eight (esp. triangular) plane faces. 2 a body, esp. a
crystal, in the form of a regular octahedron. Ьregular
octahedron an octahedron contained by equal and equilateral
triangles. ЬЬoctahedral adj. [Gk oktaedron (as OCTA-,
octal adj. reckoning or proceeding by eights (octal scale).
adj. 1 esp. Bot. having eight parts. 2 Zool. having organs
arranged in eights.
octane n. a colourless inflammable hydrocarbon of the alkane series.
°Chem. formula: CH. Ьhigh-octane (of fuel used in
internal-combustion engines) having good antiknock properties,
not detonating readily during the power stroke. octane number
(or rating) a figure indicating the antiknock properties of a
fuel. [OCT- + -ANE]
octant n. 1 an arc of a circle equal to one eighth of the
circumference. 2 such an arc with two radii, forming an area
equal to one eighth of the circle. 3 each of eight parts into
which three planes intersecting (esp. at right angles) at a
point divide the space or the solid body round it. 4 Astron. a
point in a body's apparent course 45ш distant from a given
point, esp. a point at which the moon is 45ш from conjunction or
opposition with the sun. 5 an instrument in the form of a
graduated eighth of a circle, used in astronomy and navigation.
[L octans octant- half-quadrant f. octo eight]
octaroon var. of OCTOROON.
octastyle adj. & n. --adj. having eight columns at the end or in front.
--n. an octastyle portico or building. [L octastylus f. Gk
oktastulos (as OCTA- + stulos pillar)]
adj. Chem. having a valency of eight. [OCTA- + VALENCE(1)]
octave n. 1 Mus. a a series of eight notes occupying the interval
between (and including) two notes, one having twice or half the
frequency of vibration of the other. b this interval. c each
of the two notes at the extremes of this interval. d these two
notes sounding together. 2 a group or stanza of eight lines; an
octet. 3 a the seventh day after a festival. b a period of
eight days including a festival and its octave. 4 a group of
eight. 5 the last of eight parrying positions in fencing. 6
Brit. a wine-cask holding an eighth of a pipe. [ME f. OF f. L
octava dies eighth day (reckoned inclusively)]
octavo n. (pl. -os) 1 a size of book or page given by folding a
standard sheet three times to form a quire of eight leaves. 2 a
book or sheet of this size. °Abbr.: 8vo. [L in octavo in an
eighth f. octavus eighth]
octennial adj. 1 lasting eight years. 2 occurring every eight years.
[LL octennium period of eight years (as OCT-, annus year)]
octet n. (also octette) 1 Mus. a a composition for eight voices or
instruments. b the performers of such a piece. 2 a group of
eight. 3 the first eight lines of a sonnet. 4 Chem. a stable
group of eight electrons. [It. ottetto or G Oktett: assim. to
OCT-, DUET, QUARTET]
octo- comb. form (also oct- before a vowel) eight. [L octo or Gk okto
October n. the tenth month of the year. [OE f. L (as OCTO-): cf.
Octobrist n. hist. a member of the moderate party in the Russian Duma,
supporting the Imperial Constitutional Manifesto of 30 Oct.
1905. [OCTOBER, after Russ. oktyabrЎst]
n. & adj. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 an eight-hundredth anniversary.
2 a celebration of this. --adj. of or relating to an
n. (pl. -os) 1 a size of book or page given by folding a
standard sheet into eighteen leaves. 2 a book or sheet of this
size. [in octodecimo f. L octodecimus eighteenth]
n. & adj. --n. a person from 80 to 89 years old. --adj. of
this age. [L octogenarius f. octogeni distributive of
octopod n. any cephalopod of the order Octopoda, with eight arms usu.
having suckers, and a round saclike body, including octopuses.
[Gk oktopous -podos f. okto eight + pous foot]
octopus n. (pl. -es) 1 any cephalopod mollusc of the genus Octopus
having eight suckered arms, a soft saclike body, and strong
beaklike jaws. 2 an organized and usu. harmful ramified power
or influence. [Gk oktopous: see OCTOPOD]
octoroon n. (also octaroon) the offspring of a quadroon and a White, a
person of one-eighth Negro blood. [OCTO- after QUADROON]
adj. & n. --adj. having eight syllables. --n. an octosyllabic
verse. [LL octosyllabus (as OCTO-, SYLLABLE)]
n. & adj. --n. an octosyllabic verse or word. --adj. =
octroi n. 1 a duty levied in some European countries on goods entering
a town. 2 a the place where this is levied. b the officials by
whom it is levied. [F f. octroyer grant, f. med.L auctorizare:
octuple adj., n., & v. --adj. eightfold. --n. an eightfold amount.
--v.tr. & intr. multiply by eight. [F octuple or L octuplus
(adj.) f. octo eight: cf. DOUBLE]
ocular adj. & n. --adj. of or connected with the eyes or sight;
visual. --n. the eyepiece of an optical instrument. Ьocular
spectrum see SPECTRUM. ЬЬocularly adv. [F oculaire f. LL
ocularis f. L oculus eye]
ocularist n. a maker of artificial eyes. [F oculariste (as OCULAR)]
oculate adj. = OCELLATE (see OCELLUS). [L oculatus f. oculus eye]
oculist n. a person who specializes in the medical treatment of eye
disorders or defects. ЬЬoculistic adj. [F oculiste f. L oculus
oculo- comb. form eye (oculo-nasal). [L oculus eye]
OD(2) n. & v. esp. US sl. --n. an overdose, esp. of a narcotic
drug. --v.intr. (OD's, OD'd, OD'ing) take an overdose.
od(1) n. a hypothetical power once thought to pervade nature and
account for various scientific phenomena. [arbitrary term
coined in G by Baron von Reichenbach, Ger. scientist d. 1869]
od(2) n. (as int. or in oaths) archaic = GOD. [corruption]
o.d. abbr. outer diameter.
odal var. of UDAL.
odalisque n. hist. an Eastern female slave or concubine, esp. in the
Turkish Sultan's seraglio. [F f. Turk. odalik f. oda chamber
+ lik function]
odd adj. & n. --adj. 1 extraordinary, strange, queer, remarkable,
eccentric. 2 casual, occasional, unconnected (odd jobs; odd
moments). 3 not normally noticed or considered; unpredictable
(in some odd corner; picks up odd bargains). 4 additional;
beside the reckoning (earned the odd pound). 5 a (of numbers
such as 3 and 5) not integrally divisible by two. b (of things
or persons numbered consecutively) bearing such a number (no
parking on odd dates). 6 left over when the rest have been
distributed or divided into pairs (have got an odd sock). 7
detached from a set or series (a few odd volumes). 8 (appended
to a number, sum, weight, etc.) somewhat more than (forty odd;
forty-odd people). 9 by which a round number, given sum, etc.,
is exceeded (we have 102 - what shall we do with the odd 2?).
--n. Golf a handicap of one stroke at each hole. Ьodd job a
casual isolated piece of work. odd job man (or odd jobber)
Brit. a person who does odd jobs. odd man out 1 a person or
thing differing from all the others in a group in some respect.
2 a method of selecting one of three or more persons e.g. by
tossing a coin. ЬЬoddish adj. oddly adv. oddness n. [ME f.
ON odda- in odda-mathr third man, odd man, f. oddi angle]
oddball n. colloq. 1 an odd or eccentric person. 2 (attrib.) strange,
Oddfellow n. a member of a fraternity similar to the Freemasons.
oddity n. (pl. -ies) 1 a strange person, thing, or occurrence. 2 a
peculiar trait. 3 the state of being odd.
oddment n. 1 an odd article; something left over. 2 (in pl.)
miscellaneous articles. 3 Brit. Printing matter other than the
odds n.pl. 1 the ratio between the amounts staked by the parties to
a bet, based on the expected probability either way. 2 the
chances or balance of probability in favour of or against some
result (the odds are against it; the odds are that it will
rain). 3 the balance of advantage (the odds are in your favour;
won against all the odds). 4 an equalizing allowance to a
weaker competitor. 5 a difference giving an advantage (it makes
no odds). Ьat odds (often foll. by with) in conflict or at
variance. by all odds certainly. lay (or give) odds offer a
bet with odds favourable to the other better. odds and ends
miscellaneous articles or remnants. odds-on a state when
success is more likely than failure, esp. as indicated by the
betting odds. over the odds above a generally agreed price etc.
take odds offer a bet with odds unfavourable to the other
better. what's the odds? colloq. what does it matter? [app.
pl. of ODD n.: cf. NEWS]
ode n. 1 a lyric poem, usu. rhymed and in the form of an address,
in varied or irregular metre. 2 hist. a poem meant to be sung.
[F f. LL oda f. Gk oide Attic form of aoide song f. aeido sing]
-ode(1) suffix forming nouns meaning 'thing of the nature of' (geode;
trematode). [Gk -odes adj. ending]
-ode(2) comb. form Electr. forming names of electrodes, or devices
having them (cathode; diode). [Gk hodos way]
odeum n. (pl. odeums or odea) a building for musical performances,
esp. among the ancient Greeks and Romans. [F od‚um or L odeum
f. Gk oideion (as ODE)]
odious adj. hateful, repulsive. ЬЬodiously adv. odiousness n. [ME
f. OF odieus f. L odiosus (as ODIUM)]
odium n. a general or widespread dislike or reprobation incurred by a
person or associated with an action. [L, = hatred f. odi to
odometer n. (also hodometer) an instrument for measuring the distance
travelled by a wheeled vehicle. ЬЬodometry n. [F odomЉtre f.
Gk hodos way: see -METER]
odonto- comb. form tooth. [Gk odous odont- tooth]
n. any of various orchids bearing flowers with jagged edges
like tooth-marks. [ODONTO- + Gk glossa tongue]
odontoid adj. toothlike. Ьodontoid process a projection from the second
cervical vertebra. [Gk odontoeides (as ODONTO- + Gk eidos
n. the scientific study of the structure and diseases of teeth.
ЬЬodontological adj. odontologist n.
odor US var. of ODOUR.
adj. diffusing a scent, esp. an agreeable one; fragrant.
ЬЬodoriferously adv. [ME f. L odorifer (as ODOUR)]
odorous adj. 1 having a scent. 2 = ODORIFEROUS. ЬЬodorously adv. [L
odorus fragrant (as ODOUR)]
odour n. (US odor) 1 the property of a substance that has an effect
on the nasal sense of smell. 2 a lasting quality or trace
attaching to something (an odour of intolerance). 3 regard,
repute (in bad odour). ЬЬodourless adj. (in sense 1). [ME f.
AF odour, OF odor f. L odor -oris smell, scent]
odyssey n. (pl. -eys) a series of wanderings; a long adventurous
journey. ЬЬOdyssean adj. [L Odyssea f. Gk Odusseia, title of
an epic poem attributed to Homer describing the adventures of
Odysseus (Ulysses) on his journey home from Troy]
OECD abbr. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
OED abbr. Oxford English Dictionary.
oedema n. (US edema) a condition characterized by an excess of watery
fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body. Also
called DROPSY. ЬЬoedematose adj. oedematous adj. [LL f. Gk
oidema -atos f. oideo swell]
n. Psychol. (according to Freud etc.) the complex of emotions
aroused in a young (esp. male) child by a subconscious sexual
desire for the parent of the opposite sex and wish to exclude
the parent of the same sex. ЬЬOedipal adj. [Gk Oidipous,
legendary king of Thebes who unknowingly killed his father and
married his mother]
oenology n. (US enology) the study of wines. ЬЬoenological adj.
oenologist n. [Gk oinos wine]
oenophile n. a connoisseur of wines. ЬЬoenophilist n. [as OENOLOGY]
o'er adv. & prep. poet. = OVER. [contr.]
oersted n. a unit of magnetic field strength equivalent to 79.58
amperes per metre. [H. C. Oersted, Da. physicist d. 1851]
n. (US esophagus) (pl. oesophagi or -guses) the part of the
alimentary canal from the mouth to the stomach; the gullet.
ЬЬoesophageal adj. [ME f. Gk oisophagos]
oestrogen n. (US estrogen) 1 any of various steroid hormones developing
and maintaining female characteristics of the body. 2 this
hormone produced artificially for use in oral contraceptives
etc. ЬЬoestrogenic adj. oestrogenically adv. [OESTRUS + -GEN]
oestrus n. (also oestrum, US estrus, estrum) a recurring period of
sexual receptivity in many female mammals; heat. ЬЬoestrous
adj. [Gk oistros gadfly, frenzy]
oeuvre n. the works of an author, painter, composer, etc., esp.
regarded collectively. [F, = work, f. L opera]
of prep. connecting a noun (often a verbal noun) or pronoun with a
preceding noun, adjective, adverb, or verb, expressing a wide
range of relations broadly describable as follows: 1 origin,
cause, or authorship (paintings of Turner; people of Rome; died
of malnutrition). 2 the material or substance constituting or
identifying a thing (a house of cards; was built of bricks). 3
belonging, connection, or possession (a thing of the past;
articles of clothing; the head of the business; the tip of the
iceberg). 4 identity or close relation (the city of Rome; a
pound of apples; a fool of a man). 5 removal, separation, or
privation (north of the city; got rid of them; robbed us of
њ1000). 6 reference, direction, or respect (beware of the dog;
suspected of lying; very good of you; short of money; the
selling of goods). 7 objective relation (love of music; in
search of peace). 8 partition, classification, or inclusion (no
more of that; part of the story; a friend of mine; this sort of
book; some of us will stay). 9 description, quality, or
condition (the hour of prayer; a person of tact; a girl of ten;
on the point of leaving). 10 US time in relation to the
following hour (a quarter of three). Ьbe of possess
intrinsically; give rise to (is of great interest). of all
designating the (nominally) least likely or expected example
(you of all people!). of all the nerve (or cheek etc.) an
exclamation of indignation at a person's impudence etc. of an
evening (or morning etc.) colloq. 1 on most evenings (or
mornings etc.). 2 at some time in the evenings (or mornings
etc.). of late recently. of old formerly; long ago. [OE,
unaccented form of ‘f, f. Gmc]
of- prefix assim. form of OB- before f.
ofay n. US sl. offens. a White person (esp. used by Blacks).
[20th c.: prob. of Afr. orig.]
Off. abbr. 1 Office. 2 Officer.
off adv., prep., adj., & n. --adv. 1 away; at or to a distance
(drove off; is three miles off). 2 out of position; not on or
touching or attached; loose, separate, gone (has come off; take
your coat off). 3 so as to be rid of (sleep it off). 4 so as
to break continuity or continuance; discontinued, stopped (turn
off the radio; take a day off; the game is off). 5 not
available as a choice, e.g. on a menu (chips are off). 6 to the
end; entirely; so as to be clear (clear off; finish off; pay
off). 7 situated as regards money, supplies, etc. (is badly
off; is not very well off). 8 off-stage (noises off). 9 (of
food etc.) beginning to decay. 10 (with preceding numeral)
denoting a quantity produced or made at one time (esp. one-off).
--prep. 1 a from; away or down or up from (fell off the chair;
took something off the price; jumped off the edge). b not on
(was already off the pitch). 2 a (temporarily) relieved of or
abstaining from (off duty; am off my diet). b not attracted by
for the time being (off their food; off smoking). c not
achieving or doing one's best in (off form; off one's game). 3
using as a source or means of support (live off the land). 4
leading from; not far from (a street off the Strand). 5 at a
short distance to sea from (sank off Cape Horn). --adj. 1 far,
further (the off side of the wall). 2 (of a part of a vehicle,
animal, or road) right (the off front wheel). 3 Cricket
designating the half of the field (as divided lengthways through
the pitch) to which the striker's feet are pointed. --n. 1
Cricket the off side. 2 the start of a race. Ьa bit off Brit.
colloq. 1 rather annoying or unfair. 2 somewhat unwell (am
feeling a bit off). off and on intermittently; now and then.
off-centre not quite coinciding with a central position. the
off chance see CHANCE. off colour 1 not in good health. 2 US
somewhat indecent. off the cuff see CUFF(1). off-day a day
when one is not at one's best. off-drive Cricket drive (the
ball) to the off side. off one's feet see FOOT. off form see
FORM. off guard see GUARD. off one's hands see HAND. off
one's head see HEAD. off-key 1 out of tune. 2 not quite
suitable or fitting. off-licence Brit. 1 a shop selling
alcoholic drink for consumption elsewhere. 2 a licence for
this. off limits see LIMIT. off-line Computing (of a computer
terminal or process) not directly controlled by or connected to
a central processor. off of sl. disp. = OFF prep. (picked it
off of the floor). off-peak used or for use at times other than
those of greatest demand. off the peg see PEG. off-piste (of
skiing) away from prepared ski runs. off the point adj.
irrelevant. --adv. irrelevantly. off-putting Brit.
disconcerting; repellent. off the record see RECORD. off-road
attrib.adj. 1 away from the road, on rough terrain. 2 (of a
vehicle etc.) designed for rough terrain or for cross-country
driving. off-season a time when business etc. is slack.
off-stage adj. & adv. not on the stage and so not visible or
audible to the audience. off-street (esp. of parking vehicles)
other than on a street. off-time a time when business etc. is
slack. off-the-wall sl. crazy, absurd, outlandish. off-white
white with a grey or yellowish tinge. [orig. var. of OF, to
distinguish the sense]
offal n. 1 the less valuable edible parts of a carcass, esp. the
entrails and internal organs. 2 refuse or waste stuff. 3
carrion; putrid flesh. [ME f. MDu. afval f. af OFF + vallen
offbeat adj. & n. --adj. 1 not coinciding with the beat. 2 eccentric,
unconventional. --n. any of the unaccented beats in a bar.
offcut n. a remnant of timber, paper, etc., after cutting.
offence n. (US offense) 1 an illegal act; a transgression or
misdemeanour. 2 a wounding of the feelings; resentment or
umbrage (no offence was meant). 3 the act of attacking or
taking the offensive; aggressive action. Ьgive offence cause
hurt feelings. take offence suffer hurt feelings.
ЬЬoffenceless adj. [orig. = stumbling, stumbling-block: ME & OF
offens f. L offensus annoyance, and ME & F offense f. L offensa
a striking against, hurt, displeasure, both f. offendere (as
OB-, fendere fens- strike)]
offend v. 1 tr. cause offence to or resentment in; wound the feelings
of. 2 tr. displease or anger. 3 intr. (often foll. by against)
do wrong; transgress. ЬЬoffendedly adv. offender n. offending
adj. [ME f. OF offendre f. L (as OFFENCE)]
offense US var. of OFFENCE.
offensive adj. & n. --adj. 1 giving or meant or likely to give offence;
insulting (offensive language). 2 disgusting, foul-smelling,
nauseous, repulsive. 3 a aggressive, attacking. b (of a
weapon) meant for use in attack. --n. 1 an aggressive action
or attitude (take the offensive). 2 an attack, an offensive
campaign or stroke. 3 aggressive or forceful action in pursuit
of a cause (a peace offensive). ЬЬoffensively adv.
offensiveness n. [F offensif -ive or med.L offensivus (as
offer v. & n. --v. 1 tr. present for acceptance or refusal or
consideration (offered me a drink; was offered a lift; offer
one's services; offer no apology). 2 intr. (foll. by to +
infin.) express readiness or show intention (offered to take the
children). 3 tr. provide; give an opportunity for. 4 tr. make
available for sale. 5 tr. (of a thing) present to one's
attention or consideration (each day offers new opportunities).
6 tr. present (a sacrifice, prayer, etc.) to a deity. 7 intr.
present itself; occur (as opportunity offers). 8 tr. give an
opportunity for (battle) to an enemy. 9 tr. attempt, or try to
show (violence, resistance, etc.). --n. 1 an expression of
readiness to do or give if desired, or to buy or sell (for a
certain amount). 2 an amount offered. 3 a proposal (esp. of
marriage). 4 a bid. Ьon offer for sale at a certain (esp.
reduced) price. ЬЬofferer n. offeror n. [OE offrian in
religious sense, f. L offerre (as OB-, ferre bring)]
offering n. 1 a contribution, esp. of money, to a Church. 2 a thing
offered as a religious sacrifice or token of devotion. 3
anything, esp. money, contributed or offered.
offertory n. (pl. -ies) 1 Eccl. a the offering of the bread and wine at
the Eucharist. b an anthem accompanying this. 2 a the
collection of money at a religious service. b the money
collected. [ME f. eccl.L offertorium offering f. LL offert- for
L oblat- past part. stem of offerre OFFER]
offhand adj. & adv. --adj. curt or casual in manner. --adv. 1 in an
offhand manner. 2 without preparation or premeditation.
ЬЬoffhanded adj. offhandedly adv. offhandedness n.
office n. 1 a room or building used as a place of business, esp. for
clerical or administrative work. 2 a room or department or
building for a particular kind of business (ticket office; post
office). 3 the local centre of a large business (our London
office). 4 US the consulting-room of a professional person. 5
a position with duties attached to it; a place of authority or
trust or service, esp. of a public nature. 6 tenure of an
official position, esp. that of a minister of State or of the
party forming the Government (hold office; out of office for 13
years). 7 (Office) the quarters or staff or collective
authority of a Government department etc. (Foreign Office). 8 a
duty attaching to one's position; a task or function. 9 (usu.
in pl.) a piece of kindness or attention; a service (esp.
through the good offices of). 10 Eccl. a an authorized form of
worship (Office for the Dead). b (in full divine office) the
daily service of the Roman Catholic breviary (say the office).
11 a ceremonial duty. 12 (in pl.) Brit. the parts of a house
devoted to household work, storage, etc. 13 sl. a hint or
signal. Ьthe last offices rites due to the dead. office-bearer
an official or officer. office block a large building designed
to contain business offices. office boy (or girl) a young man
(or woman) employed to do minor jobs in a business office.
office hours the hours during which business is normally
conducted. office of arms the College of Arms, or a similar
body in another country. office-worker an employee in a
business office. [ME f. OF f. L officium performance of a task
(in med.L also office, divine service), f. opus work + facere
officer n. & v. --n. 1 a person holding a position of authority or
trust, esp. one with a commission in the armed services, in the
mercantile marine, or on a passenger ship. 2 a policeman or
policewoman. 3 a holder of a post in a society (e.g. the
president or secretary). 4 a holder of a public, civil, or
ecclesiastical office; a sovereign's minister; an appointed or
elected functionary (usu. with a qualifying word: medical
officer; probation officer; returning officer). 5 a bailiff
(the sheriff's officer). 6 a member of the grade below
commander in the Order of the British Empire etc. --v.tr. 1
provide with officers. 2 act as the commander of. Ьofficer of
arms a herald or pursuivant. [ME f. AF officer, OF officier f.
med.L officiarius f. L officium: see OFFICE]
official adj. & n. --adj. 1 of or relating to an office (see OFFICE n.
5, 6) or its tenure or duties. 2 characteristic of officials
and bureaucracy. 3 emanating from or attributable to a person
in office; properly authorized. 4 holding office; employed in a
public capacity. 5 Med. according to the pharmacopoeia,
officinal. --n. 1 a person holding office or engaged in
official duties. 2 (in full official principal) the presiding
officer or judge of an archbishop's, bishop's, or esp.
archdeacon's court. Ьofficial birthday Brit. a day in June
chosen for the observance of the sovereign's birthday. official
secrets confidential information involving national security.
ЬЬofficialdom n. officialism n. officially adv. [ME (as noun)
f. OF f. L officialis (as OFFICE)]
n. derog. the formal precise language characteristic of
officiant n. a person who officiates at a religious ceremony.
officiate v.intr. 1 act in an official capacity, esp. on a particular
occasion. 2 perform a divine service or ceremony.
ЬЬofficiation n. officiator n. [med.L officiare perform a
divine service (officium): see OFFICE]
officinal adj. 1 a (of a medicine) kept ready for immediate dispensing.
b made from the pharmacopoeia recipe (cf. MAGISTRAL). c (of a
name) adopted in the pharmacopoeia. 2 (of a herb or drug) used
in medicine. ЬЬofficinally adv. [med.L officinalis f. L
officious adj. 1 asserting one's authority aggressively; domineering. 2
intrusive or excessively enthusiastic in offering help etc.;
meddlesome. 3 Diplomacy informal, unofficial. ЬЬofficiously
adv. officiousness n. [L officiosus obliging f. officium: see
offing n. the more distant part of the sea in view. Ьin the offing
not far away; likely to appear or happen soon. [perh. f. OFF +
offish adj. colloq. inclined to be aloof. ЬЬoffishly adv.
offishness n. [OFF: cf. uppish]
offload v.tr. get rid of (esp. something unpleasant) by giving it to
off-price adj. US involving merchandise sold at a lower price than that
recommended by the manufacturer.
offprint n. a printed copy of an article etc. originally forming part of
a larger publication.
offscreen adj. & adv. --adj. not appearing on a cinema, television, or
VDU screen. --adv. 1 without use of a screen. 2 outside the
view presented by a cinema-film scene.
offset n. & v. --n. 1 a side-shoot from a plant serving for
propagation. 2 an offshoot or scion. 3 a compensation; a
consideration or amount diminishing or neutralizing the effect
of a contrary one. 4 Archit. a sloping ledge in a wall etc.
where the thickness of the part above is diminished. 5 a
mountain-spur. 6 a bend in a pipe etc. to carry it past an
obstacle. 7 (often attrib.) a method of printing in which ink
is transferred from a plate or stone to a uniform rubber surface
and from there to paper etc. (offset litho). 8 Surveying a
short distance measured perpendicularly from the main line of
measurement. --v.tr. (-setting; past and past part. -set) 1
counterbalance, compensate. 2 place out of line. 3 print by
the offset process.
offshoot n. 1 a side-shoot or branch. 2 something derivative.
offshore adj. 1 situated at sea some distance from the shore. 2 (of the
wind) blowing seawards. 3 (of goods, funds, etc.) made or
offside adj. & n. --adj. Sport (of a player in a field game) in a
position, usu. ahead of the ball, that is not allowed if it
affects play. --n. (often attrib.) esp. Brit. the right side
of a vehicle, animal, etc. (cf. NEARSIDE).
offsider n. Austral. colloq. a partner, assistant, or deputy.
offspring n. (pl. same) 1 a person's child or children or descendant(s).
2 an animal's young or descendant(s). 3 a result. [OE ofspring
f. OF from + springan SPRING v.]
oft adv. archaic or literary often (usu. in comb.: oft-recurring).
Ьoft-times often. [OE]
often adv. (oftener, oftenest) 1 a frequently; many times. b at
short intervals. 2 in many instances. Ьas often as not in
roughly half the instances. [ME: extended f. OFT, prob. after
selden = SELDOM]
ogdoad n. a group of eight. [LL ogdoas ogdoad- f. Gk ogdoas -ados f.
ogdoos eighth f. okto eight]
ogee adj. & n. Archit. --adj. showing in section a double
continuous S-shaped curve. --n. an S-shaped line or moulding.
Ьogee arch an arch with two ogee curves meeting at the apex.
ЬЬogee'd adj. [app. f. OGIVE, as being the usu. moulding in
ogham n. (also ogam) 1 an ancient British and Irish alphabet of
twenty characters formed by parallel strokes on either side of
or across a continuous line. 2 an inscription in this alphabet.
3 each of its characters. [OIr. ogam, referred to Ogma, its
ogive n. 1 a pointed or Gothic arch. 2 one of the diagonal groins or
ribs of a vault. 3 an S-shaped line. 4 Statistics a cumulative
frequency graph. ЬЬogival adj. [ME f. F, of unkn. orig.]
ogle v. & n. --v. 1 tr. eye amorously or lecherously. 2 intr. look
amorously. --n. an amorous or lecherous look. ЬЬogler n.
[prob. LG or Du.: cf. LG oegeln, frequent. of oegen look at]
ogre n. (fem. ogress) 1 a man-eating giant in folklore etc. 2 a
terrifying person. ЬЬogreish adj. (also ogrish). [F, first
used by Perrault in 1697, of unkn. orig.]
oi int. calling attention or expressing alarm etc. [var. of
-oid suffix forming adjectives and nouns, denoting form or
resemblance (asteroid; rhomboid; thyroid). ЬЬ-oidal suffix
forming adjectives. -oidally suffix forming adverbs. [mod.L
-oides f. Gk -oeides f. eidos form]
oidium n. (pl. oidia) spores formed by the breaking up of fungal
hyphae into cells. [mod.L f. Gk oion egg + -idion dimin.
oil n. & v. --n. 1 any of various thick, viscous, usu. inflammable
liquids insoluble in water but soluble in organic solvents (see
also essential oil, fixed oil, mineral oil, volatile oil). 2 US
petroleum. 3 (in comb.) using oil as fuel (oil-heater). 4 a
(usu. in pl.) = oil-paint. b colloq. a picture painted in
oil-paints. 5 (in pl.) = OILSKIN. --v. 1 tr. apply oil to;
lubricate. 2 tr. impregnate or treat with oil (oiled silk). 3
tr. & intr. supply with or take on oil as fuel. 4 tr. & intr.
make (butter, grease, etc.) into or (of butter etc.) become an
oily liquid. Ьoil-bird a guacharo. oil drum a metal drum used
for transporting oil. oiled silk silk made waterproof with oil.
oil engine an engine driven by the explosion of vaporized oil
mixed with air. oil-fired using oil as fuel. oil a person's
hand (or palm) bribe a person. oil-lamp a lamp using oil as
fuel. oil-meal ground oilcake. oil of vitriol see VITRIOL.
oil-paint (or -colour) a mix of ground colour pigment and oil.
oil-painting 1 the art of painting in oil-paints. 2 a picture
painted in oil-paints. oil-palm either of two trees, Elaeis
guineensis of W. Africa, or E. oleifera of the US, from which
palm oil is extracted. oil-pan an engine sump. oil-paper a
paper made transparent or waterproof by soaking in oil.
oil-press an apparatus for pressing oil from seeds etc. oil rig
a structure with equipment for drilling an oil well. oil-sand a
stratum of porous rock yielding petroleum. oil-seed any of
various seeds from cultivated crops yielding oil, e.g. rape,
peanut, or cotton. oil-shale a fine-grained rock from which oil
can be extracted. oil-slick a smooth patch of oil, esp. one on
the sea. oil-tanker a ship designed to carry oil in bulk. oil
one's tongue say flattering or glib things. oil well a well
from which mineral oil is drawn. oil the wheels help make
things go smoothly. well oiled colloq. very drunk. ЬЬoilless
adj. [ME oli, oile f. AF, ONF olie = OF oile etc. f. L oleum
(olive) oil f. olea olive]
oilcake n. a mass of compressed linseed etc. left after oil has been
extracted, used as fodder or manure.
oilcan n. a can containing oil, esp. one with a long nozzle for oiling
oilcloth n. 1 a fabric waterproofed with oil. 2 an oilskin. 3 a canvas
coated with linseed or other oil and used to cover a table or
oiler n. 1 an oilcan for oiling machinery. 2 an oil-tanker. 3 US a
an oil well. b (in pl.) oilskin.
oilfield n. an area yielding mineral oil.
oilman n. (pl. -men) a person who deals in oil.
oilskin n. 1 cloth waterproofed with oil. 2 a a garment made of this.
b (in pl.) a suit made of this.
oilstone n. a fine-grained flat stone used with oil for sharpening flat
tools, e.g. chisels, planes, etc. (cf. WHETSTONE).
oily adj. (oilier, oiliest) 1 of, like, or containing much oil. 2
covered or soaked with oil. 3 (of a manner etc.) fawning,
insinuating, unctuous. ЬЬoilily adv. oiliness n.
oink v.intr. (of a pig) make its characteristic grunt. [imit.]
ointment n. a smooth greasy healing or cosmetic preparation for the
skin. [ME oignement, ointment, f. OF oignement ult. f. L (as
UNGUENT): oint- after obs. oint anoint f. OF, past part. of
n. the legislature of the Irish Republic: the President, D il,
and Seanad. [Ir.]
OK(1) adj., adv., n., & v. (also okay) colloq. --adj. (often as int.
expressing agreement or acquiescence) all right; satisfactory.
--adv. well, satisfactorily (that worked out OK). --n. (pl.
OKs) approval, sanction. --v.tr. (OK's, OK'd, OK'ing) give an
OK to; approve, sanction. [orig. US: prob. abbr. of orl (or
oll) korrect, joc. form of 'all correct']
OK(2) abbr. US Oklahoma (in official postal use).
okapi n. (pl. same or okapis) a ruminant mammal, Okapia johnstoni,
native to N. and NE Za‹re, with a head resembling that of a
giraffe and a body resembling that of a zebra, having a dark
chestnut coat and transverse stripes on the hindquarters and
upper legs only. [Mbuba]
okay var. of OK(1).
adj. & adv. (also okey-doke) sl. = OK(1). [redupl.]
Okla. abbr. Oklahoma.
okra n. 1 a malvaceous African plant, Abelmoschus esculentus,
yielding long ridged seed-pods. 2 the seed-pods eaten as a
vegetable and used to thicken soups and stews. Also called
GUMBO, ladies' fingers. [W.Afr. native name]
-ol(1) suffix Chem. the termination of alcohol, used in names of
alcohols or analogous compounds (methanol; phenol).
-ol(2) comb. form = -OLE. [L oleum oil]
old adj. (older, oldest) (cf. ELDER, ELDEST). 1 a advanced in
age; far on in the natural period of existence. b not young or
near its beginning. 2 made long ago. 3 long in use. 4 worn or
dilapidated or shabby from the passage of time. 5 having the
characteristics (experience, feebleness, etc.) of age (the
child has an old face). 6 practised, inveterate (an old
offender; old in crime). 7 belonging only or chiefly to the
past; lingering on; former (old times; haunted by old memories).
8 dating from far back; long established or known; ancient,
primeval (old as the hills; old friends; an old family). 9
(appended to a period of time) of age (is four years old; a
four-year-old boy; a four-year-old). 10 (of language) as used
in former or earliest times. 11 colloq. as a term of affection
or casual reference (good old Charlie; old shipmate). 12 the
former or first of two or more similar things (our old house;
wants his old job back). Ьold age the later part of normal
life. old-age pension = retirement pension. old-age pensioner
a person receiving this. Old Bailey the Central Criminal Court
in London. Old Bill Brit. sl. the police. old bird a wary
person. old boy 1 a former male pupil of a school. 2 colloq.
a an elderly man. b an affectionate form of address to a boy or
man. old boy network Brit. colloq. preferment in employment
of those from a similar social background, esp. fellow ex-pupils
of public schools. the old country the native country of
colonists etc. Old English the English language up to c.1150.
old-fashioned in or according to a fashion or tastes no longer
current; antiquated. Old French the French language of the
period before c.1400. old fustic see FUSTIC. old girl 1 a
former female pupil of a school. 2 colloq. a an elderly woman.
b an affectionate term of address to a girl or woman. Old Glory
US the US national flag. old gold a dull brownish-gold colour.
old guard the original or past or conservative members of a
group. old hand a person with much experience. old hat colloq.
something tediously familiar or out of date. Old High German
High German (see GERMAN) up to c.1200. old lady colloq. one's
mother or wife. old lag see LAG(3). old maid 1 derog. an
elderly unmarried woman. 2 a prim and fussy person. 3 a
card-game in which players try not to be left with an unpaired
queen. old-maidish like an old maid. old man colloq. 1 one's
husband or father. 2 one's employer or other person in
authority over one. 3 an affectionate form of address to a boy
or man. old man's beard a wild clematis, Clematis vitalba, with
grey fluffy hairs round the seeds: also called traveller's joy
(see TRAVELLER). old master 1 a great artist of former times,
esp. of the 13th-17th c. in Europe. 2 a painting by such a
painter. old moon the moon in its last quarter, before the new
moon. Old Nick colloq. the Devil. Old Norse see NORSE. an
old one a familiar joke. Old Pals Act Brit. the principle that
friends should always help one another. Old Pretender James
Stuart (1688-1766), son of James II and claimant to the British
throne. old retainer see RETAINER 3b. old school 1 traditional
attitudes. 2 people having such attitudes. old school tie
Brit. 1 a necktie with a characteristic pattern worn by the
pupils of a particular (usu. public) school. 2 the principle of
excessive loyalty to traditional values. old soldier an
experienced person, esp. in an arduous activity. old stager an
experienced person, an old hand. old style of a date reckoned
by the Julian calendar. Old Testament the part of the Christian
Bible containing the scriptures of the Hebrews. old-time
belonging to former times. old-timer US a person with long
experience or standing. old wives' tale a foolish or
unscientific tradition or belief. old woman colloq. 1 one's
wife or mother. 2 a fussy or timid man. old-womanish fussy and
timid. Old World Europe, Asia, and Africa. old-world belonging
to or associated with old times. old year the year just ended
or about to end. ЬЬoldish adj. oldness n. [OE ald f. WG]
olden adj. archaic of old; of a former age (esp. in olden times).
oldie n. colloq. an old person or thing.
oldster n. an old person. [OLD + -STER, after youngster]
-ole comb. form forming names of esp. heterocyclic compounds
(indole). [L oleum oil]
oleaceous adj. of the plant family Oleaceae, including olive and jasmine.
[mod.L Oleaceae f. L olea olive-tree]
adj. 1 having the properties of or producing oil. 2 oily,
greasy. 3 obsequious, ingratiating. [F ol‚agineux f. L
oleaginus f. oleum oil]
oleander n. an evergreen poisonous shrub, Nerium oleander, native to the
Mediterranean and bearing clusters of white, pink, or red
oleaster n. any of various trees of the genus Elaeagnus, often thorny
and with evergreen leathery foliage, esp. E. angustifolia
bearing olive-shaped yellowish fruits. Also called Russian
olive. [ME f. L f. olea olive-tree: see -ASTER]
olecranon n. a bony prominence on the upper end of the ulna at the elbow.
[Gk ole(no)kranon f. olene elbow + kranion head]
olefin n. (also olefine) Chem. = ALKENE. [F ol‚fiant oil-forming
(with ref. to oily ethylene dichloride)]
n. an unsaturated fatty acid present in many fats and soaps.
ЬЬoleate n. [L oleum oil]
oleograph n. a print made to resemble an oil-painting.
n. 1 a fatty substance extracted from beef fat and often used
in margarine. 2 US a margarine made from vegetable oils.
oleometer n. an instrument for determining the density and purity of
n. a natural or artificial mixture of essential oils and a
resin, e.g. balsam.
oleum n. concentrated sulphuric acid containing excess sulphur
trioxide in solution forming a dense corrosive liquid. [L, =
O level n. Brit. hist. = ordinary level. [abbr.]
olfaction n. the act or capacity of smelling; the sense of smell.
ЬЬolfactive adj. [L olfactus a smell f. olere to smell +
facere fact- make]
olfactory adj. of or relating to the sense of smell (olfactory nerves).
[L olfactare frequent. of olfacere (as OLFACTION)]
olibanum n. an aromatic gum resin from any tree of the genus Boswellia,
used as incense. [ME f. med.L f. LL libanus f. Gk libanos
frankincense, of Semitic orig.]
oligarch n. a member of an oligarchy. [Gk oligarkhes f. oligoi few +
arkho to rule]
oligarchy n. (pl. -ies) 1 government by a small group of people. 2 a
State governed in this way. 3 the members of such a government.
ЬЬoligarchic adj. oligarchical adj. oligarchically adv. [F
oligarchie or med.L oligarchia f. Gk oligarkhia (as OLIGARCH)]
oligo- comb. form few, slight. [Gk oligos small, oligoi few]
Oligocene adj. & n. Geol. --adj. of or relating to the third epoch of
the Tertiary period, with evidence of the first primates. °Cf.
Appendix II. --n. this epoch or system. [as OLIGO- + Gk kainos
oligopoly n. (pl. -ies) a state of limited competition between a small
number of producers or sellers. ЬЬoligopolist n. oligopolistic
adj. [OLIGO-, after MONOPOLY]
n. any carbohydrate whose molecules are composed of a
relatively small number of monosaccharide units.
adj. (of a lake etc.) relatively poor in plant nutrients.
olio n. (pl. -os) 1 a mixed dish; a stew of various meats and
vegetables. 2 a hotchpotch or miscellany. [Sp. olla stew f. L
adj. olive-green; of a dusky yellowish green.
olive n. & adj. --n. 1 (in full olive tree) any evergreen tree of
the genus Olea, having dark-green lance-shaped leathery leaves
with silvery undersides, esp. O. europaea of the Mediterranean,
and O. africana native to S. Africa. 2 the small oval fruit of
this, having a hard stone and bitter flesh, green when unripe
and bluish-black when ripe. 3 (in full olive-green) the
greyish-green colour of an unripe olive. 4 the wood of the
olive tree. 5 Anat. each of a pair of olive-shaped swellings in
the medulla oblongata. 6 a any olive-shaped gastropod of the
genus Oliva. b the shell of this. 7 a slice of beef or veal
made into a roll with stuffing inside and stewed. --adj. 1
coloured like an unripe olive. 2 (of the complexion)
yellowish-brown, sallow. Ьolive branch 1 the branch of an olive
tree as a symbol of peace. 2 a gesture of reconciliation or
friendship. olive crown a garland of olive leaves as a sign of
victory. olive drab the dull olive colour of US army uniforms.
olive oil an oil extracted from olives used esp. in cookery.
[ME f. OF f. L oliva f. Gk elaia f. elaion oil]
olivine n. Mineral. a naturally occurring form of magnesium-iron
silicate, usu. olive-green and found in igneous rocks.
n. = OLIO. [Sp., lit. 'rotten pot' (as OLIO + L putridus: cf.
olm n. a blind cave-dwelling salamander, Proteus anguinus, native
to SE Europe, usu. transparent but turning brown in light and
having external gills. [G]
-ology comb. form see -LOGY.
oloroso n. (pl. -os) a heavy dark medium-sweet sherry. [Sp., lit.
Olympiad n. 1 a a period of four years between Olympic games, used by
the ancient Greeks in dating events. b a four-yearly
celebration of the ancient Olympic Games. 2 a celebration of
the modern Olympic Games. 3 a regular international contest in
chess etc. [ME f. F Olympiade f. L Olympias Olympiad- f. Gk
Olumpias Olumpiad- f. Olumpios: see OLYMPIAN, OLYMPIC]
Olympian adj. & n. --adj. 1 a of or associated with Mount Olympus in NE
Greece, traditionally the home of the Greek gods. b celestial,
godlike. 2 (of manners etc.) magnificent, condescending,
superior. 3 a of or relating to ancient Olympia in S. Greece.
b = OLYMPIC. --n. 1 any of the pantheon of twelve gods
regarded as living on Olympus. 2 a person of great attainments
or of superhuman calm and detachment. [L Olympus or Olympia:
Olympic adj. & n. --adj. of ancient Olympia or the Olympic games. --n.
(the Olympics) the Olympic games. ЬOlympic games 1 an ancient
Greek festival held at Olympia every four years, with athletic,
literary, and musical competitions. 2 a modern international
revival of this as a sports festival held every four years since
1896 in different venues. [L Olympicus f. Gk Olumpikos of
Olympus or Olympia (the latter being named from the games in
honour of Zeus of Olympus)]
-oma n. forming nouns denoting tumours and other abnormal growths
(carcinoma). [mod.L f. Gk -oma suffix denoting the result of
omasum n. (pl. omasa) the third stomach of a ruminant. [L, =
ombre n. a card-game for three, popular in Europe in the 17th-18th c.
[Sp. hombre man, with ref. to one player seeking to win the
ombr‚ adj. (of a fabric etc.) having gradual shading of colour from
light to dark. [F, past part. of ombrer to shadow (as UMBER)]
ombro- comb. form rain. [Gk ombros rain-shower]
ombudsman n. (pl. -men) an official appointed by a government to
investigate individuals' complaints against public authorities
etc. [Sw., = legal representative]
-ome suffix forming nouns denoting objects or parts of a specified
nature (rhizome; trichome). [var. of -OMA]
omega n. 1 the last (24th) letter of the Greek alphabet. 2 the last
of a series; the final development. [Gk, o mega = great O]
omelette n. (also omelet) a dish of beaten eggs cooked in a frying-pan
and served plain or with a savoury or sweet filling. [F
omelette, obs. amelette by metathesis f. alumette var. of
alumelle f. lemele knife-blade f. L lamella: see LAMELLA]
omen n. & v. --n. 1 an occurrence or object regarded as portending
good or evil. 2 prophetic significance (of good omen). --v.tr.
(usu. in passive) portend; foreshow. ЬЬomened adj. (also in
comb.). [L omen ominis]
omentum n. (pl. omenta) a fold of peritoneum connecting the stomach
with other abdominal organs. ЬЬomental adj. [L]
omert… n. a code of silence, esp. as practised by the Mafia. [It., =
conspiracy of silence]
omicron n. the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet (O). [Gk, o
mikron = small o]
ominous adj. 1 threatening; indicating disaster or difficulty. 2 of
evil omen; inauspicious. 3 giving or being an omen.
ЬЬominously adv. ominousness n. [L ominosus (as OMEN)]
omission n. 1 the act or an instance of omitting or being omitted. 2
something that has been omitted or overlooked. ЬЬomissive adj.
[ME f. OF omission or LL omissio (as OMIT)]
omit v.tr. (omitted, omitting) 1 leave out; not insert or include.
2 leave undone. 3 (foll. by verbal noun or to + infin.) fail or
neglect (omitted saying anything; omitted to say). ЬЬomissible
adj. [ME f. L omittere omiss- (as OB-, mittere send)]
n. (pl. ommatidia) a structural element in the compound eye of
an insect. [mod.L f. Gk ommatidion dimin. of omma ommat- eye]
omni- comb. form 1 all; of all things. 2 in all ways or places. [L
f. omnis all]
omnibus n. & adj. --n. 1 formal = BUS. 2 a volume containing several
novels etc. previously published separately. --adj. 1 serving
several purposes at once. 2 comprising several items. [F f. L
(dative pl. of omnis), = for all]
adj. 1 able to deal with all matters. 2 having jurisdiction in
all cases. ЬЬomnicompetence n.
adj. (of an aerial etc.) receiving or transmitting in all
adj. of all sorts or varieties. [LL omnifarius (as OMNI-): cf.
adj. 1 having great or absolute power. 2 having great
influence. ЬЬomnipotence n. omnipotently adv. [ME f. OF f. L
omnipotens (as OMNI-, POTENT(1))]
adj. 1 present everywhere at the same time. 2 widely or
constantly encountered. ЬЬomnipresence n. [med.L omnipraesens
(as OMNI-, PRESENT(1))]
adj. knowing everything or much. ЬЬomniscience n.
omnisciently adv. [med.L omnisciens -entis (as OMNI-, scire
n. colloq. a miscellany or strange mixture. [mock L f. L
omnium of all + GATHER]
adj. 1 feeding on many kinds of food, esp. on both plants and
flesh. 2 making use of everything available. ЬЬomnivore n.
omnivorously adv. omnivorousness n. [L omnivorus (as OMNI-,
omphalo- comb. form navel. [Gk (as OMPHALOS)]
omphalos n. Gk Antiq. 1 a conical stone (esp. that at Delphi)
representing the navel of the earth. 2 a boss on a shield. 3 a
centre or hub. [Gk, = navel, boss, hub]
on prep., adv., adj., & n. --prep. 1 (so as to be) supported by
or attached to or covering or enclosing (sat on a chair; stuck
on the wall; rings on her fingers; leaned on his elbow). 2
carried with; about the person of (have you a pen on you?). 3
(of time) exactly at; during; contemporaneously with (on 29 May;
on the hour; on schedule; working on Tuesday). 4 immediately
after or before (I saw them on my return). 5 as a result of (on
further examination I found this). 6 (so as to be) having
membership etc. of or residence at or in (she is on the board of
directors; lives on the continent). 7 supported financially by
(lives on њ50 a week; lives on his wits). 8 close to; just by
(a house on the sea; lives on the main road). 9 in the
direction of; against. 10 so as to threaten; touching or
striking (advanced on him; pulled a knife on me; a punch on the
nose). 11 having as an axis or pivot (turned on his heels). 12
having as a basis or motive (works on a ratchet; arrested on
suspicion). 13 having as a standard, confirmation, or guarantee
(had it on good authority; did it on purpose; I promise on my
word). 14 concerning or about (writes on frogs). 15 using or
engaged with (is on the pill; here on business). 16 so as to
affect (walked out on her). 17 at the expense of (the drinks
are on me; the joke is on him). 18 added to (disaster on
disaster; ten pence on a pint of beer). 19 in a specified
manner or style (often foll. by the + adj. or noun: on the
cheap; on the run). --adv. 1 (so as to be) covering or in
contact with something, esp. of clothes (put your boots on). 2
in the appropriate direction; towards something (look on). 3
further forward; in an advanced position or state (time is
getting on; it happened later on). 4 with continued movement or
action (went plodding on; keeps on complaining). 5 in operation
or activity (the light is on; the chase was on). 6 due to take
place as planned (is the party still on?). 7 colloq. a (of a
person) willing to participate or approve, or make a bet. b (of
an idea, proposal, etc.) practicable or acceptable (that's just
not on). 8 being shown or performed (a good film on tonight).
9 (of an actor) on stage. 10 (of an employee) on duty. 11
forward (head on). --adj. Cricket designating the part of the
field on the striker's side and in front of the wicket. --n.
Cricket the on side. Ьbe on about refer to or discuss esp.
tediously or persistently (what are they on about?). be on at
colloq. nag or grumble at. be on to 1 realize the significance
or intentions of. 2 get in touch with (esp. by telephone). on
and off intermittently; now and then. on and on continually; at
tedious length. on-line Computing (of equipment or a process)
directly controlled by or connected to a central processor.
on-off 1 (of a switch) having two positions, 'on' and 'off'. 2
= on and off. on-stage adj. & adv. on the stage; visible to
the audience. on-street (with ref. to parking vehicles) at the
side of a street. on time punctual, punctually. on to to a
position or state on or in contact with (cf. ONTO). [OE on, an
onager n. 1 a wild ass, esp. Equus hemionus of Central Asia. 2 hist.
an ancient military engine for throwing rocks. [ME f. L f. Gk
onagros f. onos ass + agrios wild]
onanism n. 1 masturbation. 2 coitus interruptus. ЬЬonanist n.
onanistic adj. [F onanisme or mod.L onanismus f. Onan (Gen.
ONC abbr. (in the UK) Ordinary National Certificate.
once adv., conj., & n. --adv. 1 on one occasion or for one time
only (did not once say please; have read it once). 2 at some
point or period in the past (could once play chess). 3 ever or
at all (if you once forget it). 4 multiplied by one; by one
degree. --conj. as soon as (once they have gone we can relax).
--n. one time or occasion (just the once). Ьall at once 1
without warning; suddenly. 2 all together. at once 1
immediately. 2 simultaneously. for once on this (or that)
occasion, even if at no other. once again (or more) another
time. once and for all (or once for all) (done) in a final or
conclusive manner, esp. so as to end hesitation or uncertainty.
once (or every once) in a while from time to time; occasionally.
once or twice a few times. once-over colloq. a rapid
preliminary inspection or piece of work. once upon a time at
some vague time in the past. [ME anes, ones, genit. of ONE]
oncer n. 1 Brit. hist. sl. a one-pound note. 2 colloq. a thing
that occurs only once. 3 Austral. colloq. an election of an MP
likely to serve only one term.
onco- comb. form Med. tumour. [Gk ogkos mass]
oncogene n. a gene which can transform a cell into a tumour cell.
ЬЬoncogenic adj. oncogenous adj.
oncology n. Med. the study of tumours.
oncoming adj. & n. --adj. approaching from the front. --n. an approach
oncost n. Brit. an overhead expense.
OND abbr. (in the UK) Ordinary National Diploma.
on dit n. (pl. on dits pronunc. same) a piece of gossip or hearsay.
[F, = they say]
one adj., n., & pron. --adj. 1 single and integral in number. 2
(with a noun implied) a single person or thing of the kind
expressed or implied (one of the best; a nasty one). 3 a
particular but undefined, esp. as contrasted with another (that
is one view; one thing after another). b colloq. (as an
emphatic) a noteworthy example of (that is one difficult
question). 4 only such (the one man who can do it). 5 forming
a unity (one and undivided). 6 identical; the same (of one
opinion). --n. 1 a the lowest cardinal number. b a thing
numbered with it. 2 unity; a unit (one is half of two; came in
ones and twos). 3 a single thing or person or example (often
referring to a noun previously expressed or implied: the big dog
and the small one). 4 colloq. an alcoholic drink (have a quick
one; have one on me). 5 a story or joke (the one about the
frog). --pron. 1 a person of a specified kind (loved ones;
like one possessed). 2 any person, as representing people in
general (one is bound to lose in the end). 3 I, me (one would
like to help). °Often regarded as an affectation. Ьall one
(often foll. by to) a matter of indifference. at one in
agreement. for one being one, even if the only one (I for one
do not believe it). for one thing as a single consideration,
ignoring others. one another each the other or others (as a
formula of reciprocity: love one another). one-armed bandit
colloq. a fruit machine worked by a long handle at the side.
one by one singly, successively. one day 1 on an unspecified
day. 2 at some unspecified future date. one-horse 1 using a
single horse. 2 colloq. small, poorly equipped. one-liner
colloq. a single brief sentence, often witty or apposite.
one-man involving, done, or operated by only one man. one-night
stand 1 a single performance of a play etc. in a place. 2
colloq. a sexual liaison lasting only one night. one-off
colloq. made or done as the only one; not repeated. one or two
see OR(1). one-piece (of a bathing-suit etc.) made as a single
garment. one-sided 1 favouring one side in a dispute; unfair,
partial. 2 having or occurring on one side only. 3 larger or
more developed on one side. one-sidedly in a one-sided manner.
one-sidedness the act or state of being one-sided. one-time
former. one-to-one with one member of one group corresponding
to one of another. one-track mind a mind preoccupied with one
subject. one-two colloq. 1 Boxing the delivery of two punches
in quick succession. 2 Football etc. a series of reciprocal
passes between two advancing players. one-up colloq. having a
particular advantage. one-upmanship colloq. the art of
maintaining a psychological advantage. one-way allowing
movement or travel in one direction only. [OE an f. Gmc]
onefold adj. consisting of only one member or element; simple.
oneiric adj. of or relating to dreams or dreaming. [Gk oneiros dream]
oneiro- comb. form dream. [Gk oneiros dream]
n. the interpretation of dreams.
oneness n. 1 the fact or state of being one; singleness. 2 uniqueness.
3 agreement; unity of opinion. 4 identity, sameness.
oner n. Brit. sl. 1 one pound (of money). 2 a remarkable person
onerous adj. 1 burdensome; causing or requiring trouble. 2 Law
involving heavy obligations. ЬЬonerously adv. onerousness n.
[ME f. OF onereus f. L onerosus f. onus oneris burden]
oneself pron. the reflexive and (in apposition) emphatic form of one
(kill oneself; one has to do it oneself).
onestep n. a vigorous kind of foxtrot in duple time.
onflow n. an onward flow.
onglaze adj. (of painting etc.) done on a glazed surface.
ongoing adj. 1 continuing to exist or be operative etc. 2 that is or
are in progress (ongoing discussions). ЬЬongoingness n.
onion n. 1 a liliaceous plant, Allium cepa, having a short stem and
bearing greenish-white flowers. 2 the swollen bulb of this with
many concentric skins used in cooking, pickling, etc. Ьknow
one's onions be fully knowledgeable or experienced. onion dome
a bulbous dome on a church, palace, etc. onion-skin 1 the brown
outermost skin or any outer skin of an onion. 2 thin smooth
translucent paper. ЬЬoniony adj. [ME f. AF union, OF oignon
ult. f. L unio -onis]
onlooker n. a non-participating observer; a spectator. ЬЬonlooking adj.
only adv., adj., & conj. --adv. 1 solely, merely, exclusively; and
no one or nothing more besides (I only want to sit down; will
only make matters worse; needed six only; is only a child). 2
no longer ago than (saw them only yesterday). 3 not until
(arrives only on Tuesday). 4 with no better result than
(hurried home only to find her gone). °In informal English only
is usually placed between the subject and verb regardless of
what it refers to (e.g. I only want to talk to you); in more
formal English it is often placed more exactly, esp. to avoid
ambiguity (e.g. I want to talk only to you). In speech,
intonation usually serves to clarify the sense. --attrib.adj.
1 existing alone of its or their kind (their only son). 2 best
or alone worth knowing (the only place to eat). --conj.
colloq. 1 except that; but for the fact that (I would go, only
I feel ill). 2 but then (as an extra consideration) (he always
makes promises, only he never keeps them). Ьonly-begotten
literary begotten as the only child. only too extremely (is
only too willing). [OE anlic, ‘nlic, ME onliche (as ONE,
o.n.o. abbr. Brit. or near offer.
onomastic adj. relating to names or nomenclature. [Gk onomastikos f.
n.pl. (treated as sing.) the study of the origin and formation
of (esp. personal) proper names.
n. 1 the formation of a word from a sound associated with what
is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle). 2 the use of such words.
ЬЬonomatopoeic adj. onomatopoeically adv. [LL f. Gk
onomatopoiia word-making f. onoma -matos name + poieo make]
onrush n. an onward rush.
onscreen adj. & adv. --adj. appearing on a cinema, television, or VDU
screen. --adv. 1 on or by means of a screen. 2 within the
view presented by a cinema-film scene.
onset n. 1 an attack. 2 a beginning, esp. an energetic or determined
onshore adj. 1 on the shore. 2 (of the wind) blowing from the sea
towards the land.
onside adj. (of a player in a field game) in a lawful position; not
onslaught n. a fierce attack. [earlier anslaight f. MDu. aenslag f.
aen on + slag blow, with assim. to obs. slaught slaughter]
Ont. abbr. Ontario.
-ont comb. form Biol. denoting an individual of a specified type
(symbiont). [Gk on ont- being]
onto prep. disp. to a position or state on or in contact with (cf.
on to). °The form onto is still not fully accepted in the way
that into is, although it is in wide use. It is however useful
in distinguishing sense as between we drove on to the beach
(i.e. in that direction) and we drove onto the beach (i.e. in
contact with it).
n. the origin and development of an individual (cf.
PHYLOGENESIS). ЬЬontogenetic adj. ontogenetically adv.
[formed as ONTOGENY + Gk genesis birth]
ontogeny n. = ONTOGENESIS. ЬЬontogenic adj. ontogenically adv. [Gk on
ont- being, pres. part. of eimi be + -GENY]
ontology n. the branch of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being.
ЬЬontological adj. ontologically adv. ontologist n. [mod.L
ontologia f. Gk on ont- being + -LOGY]
onus n. (pl. onuses) a burden, duty, or responsibility. [L]
onward adv. & adj. --adv. (also onwards) 1 further on. 2 towards the
front. 3 with advancing motion. --adj. directed onwards.
onyx n. a semiprecious variety of agate with different colours in
layers. Ьonyx marble banded calcite etc. used as a decorative
material. [ME f. OF oniche, onix f. L f. Gk onux fingernail,
oodles n.pl. colloq. a very great amount. [19th-c. US: orig. unkn.]
oof n. sl. money, cash. [Yiddish ooftisch, G auf dem Tische on
the table (of money in gambling)]
oofy adj. sl. rich, wealthy. ЬЬoofiness n.
oogamous adj. reproducing by the union of mobile male and immobile
female cells. ЬЬoogamy n.
oogenesis n. the production or development of an ovum.
ooh int. expressing surprise, delight, pain, etc. [natural
oolite n. 1 a sedimentary rock, usu. limestone, consisting of rounded
grains made up of concentric layers. 2 = OOLITH. ЬЬoolitic
adj. [F o”lithe (as OO-, -LITE)]
oolith n. any of the rounded grains making up oolite.
oology n. the study or collecting of birds' eggs. ЬЬoological adj.
oolong n. a dark kind of cured China tea. [Chin. wulong black
oomiak var. of UMIAK.
oompah n. colloq. the rhythmical sound of deep-toned brass
instruments in a band. [imit.]
oomph n. sl. 1 energy, enthusiasm. 2 attractiveness, esp. sexual
appeal. [20th c.: orig. uncert.]
-oon suffix forming nouns, orig. from French words in stressed -on
(balloon; buffoon). °Replaced by -on in recent borrowings and
those with unstressed -on (baron). [L -o -onis, sometimes via
oops int. colloq. expressing surprise or apology, esp. on making an
obvious mistake. [natural exclam.]
oosperm n. a fertilized ovum.
ooze(1) v. & n. --v. 1 intr. (of fluid) pass slowly through the pores
of a body. 2 intr. trickle or leak slowly out. 3 intr. (of a
substance) exude moisture. 4 tr. exude or exhibit (a feeling)
liberally (oozed sympathy). --n. 1 a sluggish flow or
exudation. 2 an infusion of oak-bark or other vegetable matter,
used in tanning. ЬЬoozy adj. oozily adv. ooziness n. [orig.
as noun (sense 2), f. OE wos juice, sap]
ooze(2) n. 1 a deposit of wet mud or slime, esp. at the bottom of a
river, lake, or estuary. 2 a bog or marsh; soft muddy ground.
ЬЬoozy adj. [OE wase]
OP abbr. 1 RC Ch. Order of Preachers (Dominican). 2 observation
post. 3 opposite prompt.
op n. colloq. operation (in surgical and military senses).
op. abbr. 1 Mus. opus. 2 operator.
op- prefix assim. form of OB- before p.
o.p. abbr. 1 out of print. 2 overproof.
opacify v.tr. & intr. (-ies, -ied) make or become opaque. ЬЬopacifier
opacity n. 1 the state of being opaque. 2 obscurity of meaning. 3
obtuseness of understanding. [F opacit‚ f. L opacitas -tatis
opah n. a large rare deep-sea fish, Lampris guttatus, usu. having a
silver-blue back with white spots and crimson fins. Also called
MOONFISH. [W. Afr. name]
opal n. a quartzlike form of hydrated silica, usu. white or
colourless and sometimes showing changing colours, often used as
a gemstone. Ьopal glass a semi-translucent white glass. [F
opale or L opalus prob. ult. f. Skr. upalas precious stone]
adj. showing changing colours like an opal. ЬЬopalesce v.intr.
opaque adj. & n. --adj. (opaquer, opaquest) 1 not transmitting light.
2 impenetrable to sight. 3 obscure; not lucid. 4 obtuse,
dull-witted. --n. 1 an opaque thing or substance. 2 a
substance for producing opaque areas on negatives. ЬЬopaquely
adv. opaqueness n. [ME opak f. L opacus: spelling now assim.
op art n. colloq. = optical art. [abbr.]
op. cit. abbr. in the work already quoted. [L opere citato]
OPEC abbr. Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
open adj., v., & n. --adj. 1 not closed or locked or blocked up;
allowing entrance or passage or access. 2 a (of a room, field,
or other area) having its door or gate in a position allowing
access, or part of its confining boundary removed. b (of a
container) not fastened or sealed; in a position or with the lid
etc. in a position allowing access to the inside part. 3
unenclosed, unconfined, unobstructed (the open road; open
views). 4 a uncovered, bare, exposed (open drain; open wound).
b Sport (of a goal mouth or other object of attack) unprotected,
vulnerable. 5 undisguised, public, manifest; not exclusive or
limited (open scandal; open hostilities). 6 expanded, unfolded,
or spread out (had the map open on the table). 7 (of a fabric)
not close; with gaps or intervals. 8 a (of a person) frank and
communicative. b (of the mind) accessible to new ideas;
unprejudiced or undecided. 9 a (of an exhibition, shop, etc.)
accessible to visitors or customers; ready for business. b (of
a meeting) admitting all, not restricted to members etc. 10 a
(of a race, competition, scholarship, etc.) unrestricted as to
who may compete. b (of a champion, scholar, etc.) having won
such a contest. 11 (of government) conducted in an informative
manner receptive to enquiry, criticism, etc., from the public.
12 (foll. by to) a willing to receive (is open to offers). b
(of a choice, offer, or opportunity) still available (there are
three courses open to us). c likely to suffer from or be
affected by (open to abuse). 13 a (of the mouth) with lips
apart, esp. in surprise or incomprehension. b (of the ears or
eyes) eagerly attentive. 14 Mus. a (of a string) allowed to
vibrate along its whole length. b (of a pipe) unstopped at each
end. c (of a note) sounded from an open string or pipe. 15 (of
an electrical circuit) having a break in the conducting path.
16 (of the bowels) not constipated. 17 (of a return ticket) not
restricted as to day of travel. 18 (of a cheque) not crossed.
19 (of a boat) without a deck. 20 (of a river or harbour) free
of ice. 21 (of the weather or winter) free of frost. 22
Phonet. a (of a vowel) produced with a relatively wide opening
of the mouth. b (of a syllable) ending in a vowel. 23 (of a
town, city, etc.) not defended even if attacked. --v. 1 tr. &
intr. make or become open or more open. 2 a tr. change from a
closed or fastened position so as to allow access (opened the
door; opened the box). b intr. (of a door, lid, etc.) have its
position changed to allow access (the door opened slowly). 3
tr. remove the sealing or fastening element of (a container) to
get access to the contents (opened the envelope). 4 intr.
(foll. by into, on to, etc.) (of a door, room, etc.) afford
access as specified (opened on to a large garden). 5 a tr.
start or establish or set going (a business, activity, etc.). b
intr. be initiated; make a start (the session opens tomorrow;
the story opens with a murder). c tr. (of a counsel in a
lawcourt) make a preliminary statement in (a case) before
calling witnesses. 6 tr. a spread out or unfold (a map,
newspaper, etc.). b (often absol.) refer to the contents of (a
book). 7 intr. (often foll. by with) (of a person) begin
speaking, writing, etc. (he opened with a warning). 8 intr. (of
a prospect) come into view; be revealed. 9 tr. reveal or
communicate (one's feelings, intentions, etc.). 10 tr. make
(one's mind, heart, etc.) more sympathetic or enlightened. 11
tr. ceremonially declare (a building etc.) to be completed and
in use. 12 tr. break up (ground) with a plough etc. 13 tr.
cause evacuation of (the bowels). 14 Naut. a tr. get a view of
by change of position. b intr. come into full view. --n. 1
(prec. by the) a open space or country or air. b public notice
or view; general attention (esp. into the open). 2 an open
championship, competition, or scholarship. Ьbe open with speak
frankly to. keep open house see HOUSE. open air (usu. prec. by
the) a free or unenclosed space outdoors. open-air (attrib.)
out of doors. open-and-shut (of an argument, case, etc.)
straightforward and conclusive. open-armed cordial; warmly
receptive. open book a person who is easily understood. open
day a day when the public may visit a place normally closed to
them. open door free admission of foreign trade and immigrants.
open-door adj. open, accessible, public. open the door to see
DOOR. open-ended having no predetermined limit or boundary.
open a person's eyes see EYE. open-eyed 1 with the eyes open.
2 alert, watchful. open-faced having a frank or ingenuous
expression. open-handed generous. open-handedly generously.
open-handedness generosity. open-hearted frank and kindly.
open-heartedness an open-hearted quality. open-hearth process a
process of steel manufacture, using a shallow reverberatory
furnace. open-heart surgery surgery with the heart exposed and
the blood made to bypass it. open house welcome or hospitality
for all visitors. open ice ice through which navigation is
possible. open letter a letter, esp. of protest, addressed to
an individual and published in a newspaper or journal. open
market an unrestricted market with free competition of buyers
and sellers. open-minded accessible to new ideas; unprejudiced.
open-mindedly in an open-minded manner. open-mindedness the
quality of being open-minded. open-mouthed with the mouth open,
esp. in surprise. open out 1 unfold; spread out. 2 develop,
expand. 3 become communicative. 4 accelerate. open-plan (usu.
attrib.) (of a house, office, etc.) having large undivided
rooms. open prison a prison with the minimum of physical
restraints on prisoners. open question a matter on which
differences of opinion are legitimate. open-reel (of a tape
recorder) having reels of tape requiring individual threading,
as distinct from a cassette. open sandwich a sandwich without a
top slice of bread. open sea an expanse of sea away from land.
open season the season when restrictions on the killing of game
etc. are lifted. open secret a supposed secret that is known to
many people. open sesame see SESAME. open shop 1 a business
etc. where employees do not have to be members of a trade union
(opp. closed shop). 2 this system. open society a society
with wide dissemination of information and freedom of belief.
Open University (in the UK) a university that teaches mainly by
broadcasting and correspondence, and is open to those without
formal academic qualifications. open up 1 unlock (premises). 2
make accessible. 3 reveal; bring to notice. 4 accelerate esp.
a motor vehicle. 5 begin shooting or sounding. open verdict a
verdict affirming that a crime has been committed but not
specifying the criminal or (in case of violent death) the cause.
with open arms see ARM(1). ЬЬopenable adj. openness n. [OE
opencast adj. Brit. (of a mine or mining) with removal of the surface
layers and working from above, not from shafts.
opener n. 1 a device for opening tins, bottles, etc. 2 colloq. the
first item on a programme etc. 3 Cricket an opening batsman.
Ьfor openers colloq. to start with.
opening n. & adj. --n. 1 an aperture or gap, esp. allowing access. 2
a favourable situation or opportunity. 3 a beginning; an
initial part. 4 Chess a recognized sequence of moves at the
beginning of a game. 5 a counsel's preliminary statement of a
case in a lawcourt. --adj. initial, first. Ьopening-time Brit.
the time at which public houses may legally open for custom.
openwork n. a pattern with intervening spaces in metal, leather, lace,
opera(1) n. 1 a a dramatic work in one or more acts, set to music for
singers (usu. in costume) and instrumentalists. b this as a
genre. 2 a building for the performance of opera.
Ьopera-glasses small binoculars for use at the opera or theatre.
opera-hat a man's tall collapsible hat. opera-house a theatre
for the performance of opera. [It. f. L, = labour, work]
opera(2) pl. of OPUS.
operable adj. 1 that can be operated. 2 suitable for treatment by
surgical operation. ЬЬoperability n. [LL operabilis f. L (as
n. (esp. Italian) comic opera, esp. with characters drawn from
everyday life. [It.]
n. (esp. French) opera on a light-hearted theme, with spoken
operand n. Math. the quantity etc. on which an operation is to be
done. [L operandum neut. gerundive of operari: see OPERATE]
n. (esp. 18th-c. Italian) opera on a serious, usu. classical or
mythological theme. [It.]
operate v. 1 tr. manage, work, control; put or keep in a functional
state. 2 intr. be in action; function. 3 intr. produce an
effect; exercise influence (the tax operates to our
disadvantage). 4 intr. (often foll. by on) a perform a surgical
operation. b conduct a military or naval action. c be active
in business etc., esp. dealing in stocks and shares. 5 intr.
(foll. by on) influence or affect (feelings etc.). 6 tr. bring
about; accomplish. Ьoperating system the basic software that
enables the running of a computer program. operating theatre
(or room) a room for surgical operations. [L operari to work f.
opus operis work]
operatic adj. 1 of or relating to opera. 2 resembling or characteristic
of opera. ЬЬoperatically adv. [irreg. f. OPERA(1), after
operatics n.pl. the production and performance of operas.
operation n. 1 a the action or process or method of working or operating.
b the state of being active or functioning (not yet in
operation). c the scope or range of effectiveness of a thing's
activity. 2 an active process; a discharge of a function (the
operation of breathing). 3 a piece of work, esp. one in a
series (often in pl.: begin operations). 4 an act of surgery
performed on a patient. 5 a a strategic movement of troops,
ships, etc. for military action. b preceding a code-name
(Operation Overlord). 6 a financial transaction. 7 Math. the
subjection of a number or quantity or function to a process
affecting its value or form, e.g. multiplication,
differentiation. Ьoperations research = operational research.
[ME f. OF f. L operatio -onis (as OPERATE)]
adj. 1 a of or used for operations. b engaged or involved in
operations. 2 able or ready to function. Ьoperational research
the application of scientific principles to business management,
providing a quantitative basis for complex decisions.
operative adj. & n. --adj. 1 in operation; having effect. 2 having the
principal relevance ('may' is the operative word). 3 of or by
surgery. 4 Law expressing an intent to perform a transaction.
--n. 1 a worker, esp. a skilled one. 2 US a private detective.
ЬЬoperatively adv. operativeness n. [LL operativus f. L (as
operator n. 1 a person operating a machine etc., esp. making connections
of lines in a telephone exchange. 2 a person operating or
engaging in business. 3 colloq. a person acting in a specified
way (a smooth operator). 4 Math. a symbol or function denoting
an operation (e.g. x, +). [LL f. L operari (as OPERATE)]
operculum n. (pl. opercula) 1 Zool. a a flaplike structure covering the
gills in a fish. b a platelike structure closing the aperture
of a gastropod mollusc's shell when the organism is retracted.
c any of various other parts covering or closing an aperture,
such as a flap over the nostrils in some birds. 2 Bot. a
lidlike structure of the spore-containing capsule of mosses.
ЬЬopercular adj. operculate adj. operculi- comb. form. [L f.
operetta n. 1 a one-act or short opera. 2 a light opera. [It., dimin.
of opera: see OPERA]
n. 1 an obsolete usu. bass brass wind instrument developed from
the serpent. 2 a powerful organ reed-stop. [F ophicl‚ide f. Gk
ophis serpent + kleis kleidos key]
ophidian n. & adj. --n. any reptile of the suborder Serpentes (formerly
Ophidia), including snakes. --adj. 1 of or relating to this
group. 2 snakelike. [mod.L Ophidia f. Gk ophis snake]
ophio- comb. form snake. [Gk ophis snake]
n. an inflammation of the eye, esp. conjunctivitis. [LL f. Gk
f. ophthalmos eye]
adj. of or relating to the eye and its diseases. Ьophthalmic
optician an optician qualified to prescribe as well as dispense
spectacles and contact lenses. [L ophthalmicus f. Gk
ophthalmikos (as OPHTHALMIA)]
comb. form Optics denoting the eye. [Gk ophthalmos eye]
n. the scientific study of the eye. ЬЬophthalmological adj.
n. an instrument for inspecting the retina and other parts of
the eye. ЬЬophthalmoscopic adj.
-opia comb. form denoting a visual disorder (myopia). [Gk f. ops
opiate adj., n., & v. --adj. 1 containing opium. 2 narcotic,
soporific. --n. 1 a drug containing opium, usu. to ease pain
or induce sleep. 2 a thing which soothes or stupefies. --v.tr.
1 mix with opium. 2 stupefy. [med.L opiatus, -um, opiare f. L
opium: see OPIUM]
opine v.tr. (often foll. by that + clause) hold or express as an
opinion. [L opinari think, believe]
opinion n. 1 a belief or assessment based on grounds short of proof. 2
a view held as probable. 3 (often foll. by on) what one thinks
about a particular topic or question (my opinion on capital
punishment). 4 a a formal statement of professional advice
(will get a second opinion). b Law a formal statement of
reasons for a judgement given. 5 an estimation (had a low
opinion of it). Ьbe of the opinion that believe or maintain
that. in one's opinion according to one's view or belief. a
matter of opinion a disputable point. opinion poll = GALLUP
POLL. public opinion views generally prevalent, esp. on moral
questions. [ME f. OF f. L opinio -onis (as OPINE)]
adj. conceitedly assertive or dogmatic in one's opinions.
ЬЬopinionatedly adv. opinionatedness n. [obs. opinionate in
the same sense f. OPINION]
opium n. 1 a reddish-brown heavy-scented addictive drug prepared from
the juice of the opium poppy, used in medicine as an analgesic
and narcotic. 2 anything regarded as soothing or stupefying.
Ьopium den a haunt of opium-smokers. opium poppy a poppy,
Papaver somniferum, native to Europe and E. Asia, with white,
red, pink, or purple flowers. [ME f. L f. Gk opion poppy-juice
f. opos juice]
opopanax n. 1 a an umbelliferous plant, Opopanax chironium, with yellow
flowers. b a resinous gum obtained from the roots of this plant
and used in perfume. 2 = sponge tree. [ME f. L f. Gk f. opos
juice + panax formed as PANACEA]
opossum n. 1 a any mainly tree-living marsupial of the family
Didelphidae, native to America, having a prehensile tail and
hind feet with an opposable thumb. b (in full water opossum) an
opossum, Chironectes minimus, suited to an aquatic habitat and
having webbed hind feet. Also called YAPOK. 2 Austral. & NZ =
POSSUM 2. [Virginian Ind. apassum]
opp. abbr. opposite.
oppo n. (pl. -os) Brit. colloq. a colleague or friend. [opposite
opponent n. & adj. --n. a person who opposes or belongs to an opposing
side. --adj. opposing, contrary, opposed. Ьopponent muscle a
muscle enabling the thumb to be placed front to front against a
finger of the same hand. ЬЬopponency n. [L opponere opponent-
(as OB-, ponere place)]
opportune adj. 1 (of a time) well-chosen or especially favourable or
appropriate (an opportune moment). 2 (of an action or event)
well-timed; done or occurring at a favourable or useful time.
ЬЬopportunely adv. opportuneness n. [ME f. OF opportun -une f.
L opportunus (as OB-, portus harbour), orig. of the wind driving
towards the harbour]
n. 1 the adaptation of policy or judgement to circumstances or
opportunity, esp. regardless of principle. 2 the seizing of
opportunities when they occur. ЬЬopportunist n. opportunistic
adj. opportunistically adv. [OPPORTUNE after It. opportunismo
and F opportunisme in political senses]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a good chance; a favourable occasion. 2 a
chance or opening offered by circumstances. 3 good fortune.
Ьopportunity knocks an opportunity occurs. [ME f. OF
opportunit‚ f. L opportunitas -tatis (as OPPORTUNE)]
opposable adj. 1 able to be opposed. 2 Zool. (of the thumb in primates)
capable of facing and touching the other digits on the same
oppose v.tr. (often absol.) 1 set oneself against; resist, argue
against. 2 be hostile to. 3 take part in a game, sport, etc.,
against (another competitor or team). 4 (foll. by to) place in
opposition or contrast. Ьas opposed to in contrast with.
ЬЬopposer n. [ME f. OF opposer f. L opponere: see OPPONENT]
opposite adj., n., adv., & prep. --adj. 1 (often foll. by to) having a
position on the other or further side, facing or back to back.
2 (often foll. by to, from) a of a contrary kind; diametrically
different. b being the other of a contrasted pair. 3 (of
angles) between opposite sides of the intersection of two lines.
4 Bot. (of leaves etc.) placed at the same height on the
opposite sides of the stem, or placed straight in front of
another organ. --n. an opposite thing or person or term.
--adv. 1 in an opposite position (the tree stands opposite). 2
(of a leading theatrical etc. part) in a complementary role to
(another performer). --prep. in a position opposite to
(opposite the house is a tree). Ьopposite number a person
holding an equivalent position in another group or organization.
opposite prompt the side of a theatre stage usually to an
actor's right. the opposite sex women in relation to men or
vice versa. ЬЬoppositely adv. oppositeness n. [ME f. OF f. L
oppositus past part. of opponere: see OPPONENT]
n. 1 resistance, antagonism. 2 the state of being hostile or
in conflict or disagreement. 3 contrast or antithesis. 4 a a
group or party of opponents or competitors. b (the Opposition)
Brit. the principal parliamentary party opposed to that in
office. 5 the act of opposing or placing opposite. 6 a
diametrically opposite position. b Astrol. & Astron. the
position of two heavenly bodies when their longitude differs by
180ш, as seen from the earth. ЬЬoppositional adj. [ME f. OF f.
L oppositio (as OB-, POSITION)]
oppress v.tr. 1 keep in subservience by coercion. 2 govern or treat
harshly or with cruel injustice. 3 weigh down (with cares or
unhappiness). ЬЬoppressor n. [ME f. OF oppresser f. med.L
oppressare (as OB-, PRESS(1))]
n. 1 the act or an instance of oppressing; the state of being
oppressed. 2 prolonged harsh or cruel treatment or control. 3
mental distress. [OF f. L oppressio (as OPPRESS)]
adj. 1 oppressing; harsh or cruel. 2 difficult to endure. 3
(of weather) close and sultry. ЬЬoppressively adv.
oppressiveness n. [F oppressif -ive f. med.L oppressivus (as
n. 1 disgrace or bad reputation attaching to some act or
conduct. 2 a cause of this. [L f. opprobrum (as OB-, probrum
oppugn v.tr. literary call into question; controvert. ЬЬoppugner n.
[ME f. L oppugnare attack, besiege (as OB-, L pugnare fight)]
oppugnant adj. formal attacking; opposing. ЬЬoppugnance n. oppugnancy
n. oppugnation n.
opsimath n. literary a person who learns only late in life. ЬЬopsimathy
n. [Gk opsimathes f. opse late + math- learn]
opsonin n. an antibody which assists the action of phagocytes.
ЬЬopsonic adj. [Gk opsonion victuals + -IN]
opt v.intr. (usu. foll. by for, between) exercise an option; make a
choice. Ьopt out (often foll. by of) choose not to participate
(opted out of the race). [F opter f. L optare choose, wish]
optant n. 1 a person who may choose one of two nationalities. 2 a
person who chooses or has chosen.
optative adj. & n. Gram. --adj. expressing a wish. --n. the optative
mood. Ьoptative mood a set of verb-forms expressing a wish
etc., distinct esp. in Sanskrit and Greek. ЬЬoptatively adv.
[F optatif -ive f. LL optativus (as OPT)]
optic adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the eye or vision (optic
nerve). --n. 1 a lens etc. in an optical instrument. 2
archaic or joc. the eye. 3 (Optic) Brit. propr. a device
fastened to the neck of a bottle for measuring out spirits etc.
Ьoptic angle the angle formed by notional lines from the
extremities of an object to the eye, or by lines from the eyes
to a given point. optic axis 1 a line passing through the
centre of curvature of a lens or spherical mirror and parallel
to the axis of symmetry. 2 the direction in a doubly refracting
crystal for which no double refraction occurs. optic lobe the
dorsal lobe in the brain from which the optic nerve arises. [F
optique or med.L opticus f. Gk optikos f. optos seen]
optical adj. 1 of sight; visual. 2 a of or concerning sight or light
in relation to each other. b belonging to optics. 3 (esp. of a
lens) constructed to assist sight or on the principles of
optics. Ьoptical activity Chem. the property of rotating the
plane of polarization of plane-polarized light. optical art a
style of painting that gives the illusion of movement by the
precise use of pattern and colour. optical brightener any
fluorescent substance used to produce a whitening effect on
laundry. optical character recognition the identification of
printed characters using photoelectric devices. optical disc
see DISC. optical fibre thin glass fibre through which light
can be transmitted. optical glass a very pure kind of glass
used for lenses etc. optical illusion 1 a thing having an
appearance so resembling something else as to deceive the eye.
2 an instance of mental misapprehension caused by this. optical
microscope a microscope using the direct perception of light
(cf. electron microscope). ЬЬoptically adv.
optician n. 1 a maker or seller of optical instruments, esp. spectacles
and contact lenses. 2 a person trained in the detection and
correction of poor eyesight (see OPTOMETRIST). [F opticien f.
med.L optica (as OPTIC)]
optics n.pl. (treated as sing.) the scientific study of sight and the
behaviour of light, or of other radiation or particles (electron
optima pl. of OPTIMUM.
optimal adj. best or most favourable, esp. under a particular set of
circumstances. ЬЬoptimally adv. [L optimus best]
optimism n. 1 an inclination to hopefulness and confidence (opp.
PESSIMISM). 2 Philos. a the doctrine, esp. as set forth by
Leibniz, that this world is the best of all possible worlds. b
the theory that good must ultimately prevail over evil in the
universe. ЬЬoptimist n. optimistic adj. optimistically adv.
[F optimisme f. L OPTIMUM]
optimize v. (also -ise) 1 tr. make the best or most effective use of (a
situation, an opportunity, etc.). 2 intr. be an optimist.
ЬЬoptimization n. [L optimus best]
optimum n. & adj. --n. (pl. optima or optimums) 1 a the most
favourable conditions (for growth, reproduction, etc.). b the
best or most favourable situation. 2 the best possible
compromise between opposing tendencies. --adj. = OPTIMAL. [L,
neut. (as n.) of optimus best]
option n. 1 a the act or an instance of choosing; a choice. b a thing
that is or may be chosen (those are the options). 2 the liberty
of choosing; freedom of choice. 3 Stock Exch. etc. the right,
obtained by payment, to buy, sell, etc. specified stocks etc. at
a specified price within a set time. Ьhave no option but to
must. keep (or leave) one's options open not commit oneself.
[F or f. L optio, stem of optare choose]
optional adj. being an option only; not obligatory. ЬЬoptionality n.
optometer n. an instrument for testing the refractive power and visual
range of the eye. ЬЬoptometric adj. optometry n. [Gk optos
seen + -METER]
n. esp. US 1 a person who practises optometry. 2 = ophthalmic
optophone n. an instrument converting light into sound, and so enabling
the blind to read print etc. by ear. [Gk optos seen + -PHONE]
opulent adj. 1 ostentatiously rich; wealthy. 2 luxurious (opulent
surroundings). 3 abundant; profuse. ЬЬopulence n. opulently
adv. [L opulens, opulent- f. opes wealth]
opuntia n. any cactus of the genus Opuntia, with jointed cylindrical or
elliptical stems and barbed bristles. Also called prickly pear.
[L plant-name f. Opus -untis in Locris in ancient Greece]
opus n. (pl. opuses or opera) 1 Mus. a a separate musical
composition or set of compositions of any kind. b (also op.)
used before a number given to a composer's work, usu. indicating
the order of publication (Beethoven, op. 15). 2 any artistic
work (cf. MAGNUM OPUS). Ьopus Dei Eccl. 1 liturgical worship
regarded as man's primary duty to God. 2 (Opus Dei) a Roman
Catholic organization of laymen and priests founded in Spain in
1928 with the aim of re-establishing Christian ideals in
society. [L, = work]
opuscule n. (also opusculum) (pl. opuscules or opuscula) a minor (esp.
musical or literary) work. [F f. L opusculum dimin. of OPUS]
OR abbr. 1 operational research. 2 US Oregon (in official postal
use). 3 other ranks.
or(1) conj. 1 a introducing the second of two alternatives (white or
black). b introducing all but the first, or only the last, of
any number of alternatives (white or grey or black; white, grey,
or black). 2 (often prec. by either) introducing the only
remaining possibility or choice given (take it or leave it;
either come in or go out). 3 (prec. by whether) introducing the
second part of an indirect question or conditional clause (ask
him whether he was there or not; must go whether I like or
dislike it). 4 introducing a synonym or explanation of a
preceding word etc. (suffered from vertigo or giddiness). 5
introducing a significant afterthought (he must know - or is he
bluffing?). 6 = or else (run or you'll be late). 7 poet. each
of two; either (or in the heart or in the head). Ьnot A or B
not A, and also not B. one or two (or two or three etc.)
colloq. a few. or else 1 otherwise (do it now, or else you
will have to do it tomorrow). 2 colloq. expressing a warning or
threat (hand over the money or else). or rather introducing a
rephrasing or qualification of a preceding statement etc. (he
was there, or rather I heard that he was). or so (after a
quantity or a number) or thereabouts (send me ten or so).
[reduced form of obs. other conj. (which superseded OE oththe
or), of uncert. orig.]
or(2) n. & adj. Heraldry --n. a gold or yellow colour. --adj. (usu.
following noun) gold or yellow (a crescent or). [F f. L aurum
-or(1) suffix forming nouns denoting a person or thing performing the
action of a verb, or an agent more generally (actor; escalator;
tailor) (see also -ATOR, -ITOR). [L -or, -ator, etc., sometimes
via AF -eour, OF -‰or, -‰ur]
-or(2) suffix forming nouns denoting state or condition (error;
horror). [L -or -oris, sometimes via (or after) OF -or, -ur]
-or(3) suffix forming adjectives with comparative sense (major;
senior). [AF -our f. L -or]
-or(4) suffix US = -OUR(1).
orache n. (also orach) an edible plant, Atriplex hortensis, with red,
yellow, or green leaves sometimes used as a substitute for
spinach or sorrel. Also called SALTBUSH. [ME arage f. AF
arasche f. L atriplex f. Gk atraphaxus]
oracle n. 1 a a place at which advice or prophecy was sought from the
gods in classical antiquity. b the usu. ambiguous or obscure
response given at an oracle. c a prophet or prophetess at an
oracle. 2 a a person or thing regarded as an infallible guide
to future action etc. b a saying etc. regarded as infallible
guidance. 3 divine inspiration or revelation. 4 (Oracle) Brit.
propr. a teletext service provided by Independent Television.
[ME f. OF f. L oraculum f. orare speak]
oracular adj. 1 of or concerning an oracle or oracles. 2 (esp. of
advice etc.) mysterious or ambiguous. 3 prophetic.
ЬЬoracularity n. oracularly adv. [L (as ORACLE)]
oracy n. the ability to express oneself fluently in speech. [L os
oris mouth, after literacy]
oral adj. & n. --adj. 1 by word of mouth; spoken; not written (the
oral tradition). 2 done or taken by the mouth (oral
contraceptive). 3 of the mouth. 4 Psychol. of or concerning a
supposed stage of infant emotional and sexual development, in
which the mouth is of central interest. --n. colloq. a spoken
examination, test, etc. Ьoral sex sexual activity in which the
genitals of one partner are stimulated by the mouth of the
other. oral society a society that has not reached the stage of
literacy. ЬЬorally adv. [LL oralis f. L os oris mouth]
Orange adj. of or relating to Orangemen or their activities.
orange n. & adj. --n. 1 a a large roundish juicy citrus fruit with a
bright reddish-yellow tough rind. b any of various trees or
shrubs of the genus Citrus, esp. C. sinensis or C. aurantium,
bearing fragrant white flowers and yielding this fruit. 2 a
fruit or plant resembling this. 3 a the reddish-yellow colour
of an orange. b orange pigment. --adj. orange-coloured;
reddish-yellow. Ьorange blossom the flowers of the orange tree,
traditionally worn by the bride at a wedding. orange flower
water a solution of neroli in water. orange peel 1 the skin of
an orange. 2 a rough surface resembling this. orange pekoe tea
made from very small leaves. orange squash Brit. a soft drink
made from oranges and other ingredients, often sold in
concentrated form. orange-stick a thin stick, pointed at one
end and usu. of orange wood, for manicuring the fingernails.
orange-wood the wood of the orange tree. [ME f. OF orenge, ult.
f. Arab. naranj f. Pers. narang]
orangeade n. a usu. fizzy non-alcoholic drink flavoured with orange.
Orangeman n. (pl. -men) a member of a political society formed in 1795
to support Protestantism in Ireland. [after William of Orange
orangery n. (pl. -ies) a place, esp. a special structure, where
orange-trees are cultivated.
n. (also orang-outang) a large red long-haired tree-living ape,
Pongo pygmaeus, native to Borneo and Sumatra, with
characteristic long arms and hooked hands and feet. [Malay
orang utan wild man]
orate v.intr. esp. joc. or derog. make a speech or speak, esp.
pompously or at length. [back-form. f. ORATION]
oration n. 1 a formal speech, discourse, etc., esp. when ceremonial. 2
Gram. a way of speaking; language. [ME f. L oratio discourse,
prayer f. orare speak, pray]
orator n. 1 a a person making a speech. b an eloquent public speaker.
2 (in full public orator) an official speaking for a university
on ceremonial occasions. ЬЬoratorial adj. [ME f. AF oratour,
OF orateur f. L orator -oris speaker, pleader (as ORATION)]
oratorio n. (pl. -os) a semi-dramatic work for orchestra and voices
esp. on a sacred theme, performed without costume, scenery, or
action. ЬЬoratorial adj. [It. f. eccl.L oratorium, orig. of
musical services at church of Oratory of St Philip Neri in Rome]
oratory n. (pl. -ies) 1 the art or practice of formal speaking, esp.
in public. 2 exaggerated, eloquent, or highly coloured
language. 3 a small chapel, esp. for private worship. 4
(Oratory) RC Ch. a a religious society of priests without vows
founded in Rome in 1564 and providing plain preaching and
popular services. b a branch of this in England etc.
ЬЬoratorian adj. & n. oratorical adj. [senses 1 and 2 f. L ars
oratoria art of speaking; senses 3 and 4 ME f. AF oratorie, OF
oratoire f. eccl.L oratorium: both f. L oratorius f. orare
orb n. & v. --n. 1 a globe surmounted by a cross esp. carried by a
sovereign at a coronation. 2 a sphere; a globe. 3 poet. a
heavenly body. 4 poet. an eyeball; an eye. --v. 1 tr. enclose
in (an orb); encircle. 2 intr. form or gather into an orb. [L
orbicular adj. formal 1 circular and flat; disc-shaped; ring-shaped. 2
spherical; globular; rounded. 3 forming a complete whole.
ЬЬorbicularity n. orbicularly adv. [ME f. LL orbicularis f. L
orbiculus dimin. of orbis ring]
adj. Bot. (of a leaf etc.) almost circular.
orbit n. & v. --n. 1 a the curved, usu. closed course of a planet,
satellite, etc. b (prec. by in, into, out of, etc.) the state
of motion in an orbit. c one complete passage around an orbited
body. 2 the path of an electron round an atomic nucleus. 3 a
range or sphere of action. 4 a the eye socket. b the area
around the eye of a bird or insect. --v. (orbited, orbiting) 1
intr. a (of a satellite etc.) go round in orbit. b fly in a
circle. 2 tr. move in orbit round. 3 tr. put into orbit.
ЬЬorbiter n. [L orbita course, track (in med.L eye-cavity):
fem. of orbitus circular f. orbis ring]
orbital adj. & n. --adj. 1 Anat., Astron., & Physics of an orbit or
orbits. 2 (of a road) passing round the outside of a town.
--n. Physics a state or function representing the possible
motion of an electron round an atomic nucleus. Ьorbital sander
a sander having a circular and not oscillating motion.
orca n. 1 any of various whales, esp. the killer whale. 2 any other
large sea-animal or monster. [F orque or L orca a kind of
Orcadian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to the Orkney Islands off the
N. coast of Scotland. --n. a native of the Orkney Islands. [L
Orcades Orkney Islands]
orch. abbr. 1 orchestrated by. 2 orchestra.
orchard n. a piece of enclosed land with fruit-trees. ЬЬorchardist n.
[OE ortgeard f. L hortus garden + YARD(2)]
n. the cultivation of fruit-trees.
n. (pl. -men) a fruit-grower.
orchestra n. 1 a usu. large group of instrumentalists, esp. combining
strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion (symphony orchestra).
2 a (in full orchestra pit) the part of a theatre, opera house,
etc., where the orchestra plays, usu. in front of the stage and
on a lower level. b US the stalls in a theatre. 3 the
semicircular space in front of an ancient Greek theatre-stage
where the chorus danced and sang. Ьorchestra stalls the front
of the stalls. ЬЬorchestral adj. orchestrally adv. [L f. Gk
orkhestra f. orkheomai to dance (see sense 3)]
v.tr. 1 arrange, score, or compose for orchestral performance.
2 combine, arrange, or build up (elements of a situation etc.)
for maximum effect. ЬЬorchestration n. orchestrator n.
orchid n. 1 any usu. epiphytic plant of the family Orchidaceae,
bearing flowers in fantastic shapes and brilliant colours, usu.
having one petal larger than the others and variously spurred,
lobed, pouched, etc. 2 a flower of any of these plants.
ЬЬorchidaceous adj. orchidist n. orchidology n. [mod.L
Orchid(ac)eae irreg. f. L orchis: see ORCHIS]
orchil n. (also orchilla, archil) 1 a red or violet dye from lichen,
esp. from Roccella tinctoria, often used in litmus. 2 the
tropical lichen yielding this. [ME f. OF orcheil etc. perh.
ult. f. L herba urceolaris a plant for polishing glass pitchers]
orchis n. 1 any orchid of the genus Orchis, with a tuberous root and
an erect fleshy stem having a spike of usu. purple or red
flowers. 2 any of various wild orchids. [L f. Gk orkhis, orig.
= testicle (with ref. to the shape of its tuber)]
orchitis n. inflammation of the testicles. [mod.L f. Gk orkhis
orcin n. (also orcinol) a crystalline substance, becoming red in air,
extracted from any of several lichens and used to make dyes.
[mod.L orcina f. It. orcello orchil]
ord. abbr. ordinary.
ordain v.tr. 1 confer holy orders on; appoint to the Christian
ministry (ordained him priest; was ordained in 1970). 2 a
(often foll. by that + clause) decree (ordained that he should
go). b (of God, fate, etc.) destine; appoint (has ordained us
to die). ЬЬordainer n. ordainment n. [ME f. AF ordeiner, OF
ordein- stressed stem of ordener f. L ordinare f. ordo -inis
ordeal n. 1 a painful or horrific experience; a severe trial. 2 hist.
an ancient esp. Germanic test of guilt or innocence by
subjection of the accused to severe pain or torture, survival of
which was taken as divine proof of innocence. Ьordeal tree the
tanghin. [OE ordal, ordel f. Gmc: cf. DEAL(1)]
order n. & v. --n. 1 a the condition in which every part, unit, etc.
is in its right place; tidiness (restored some semblance of
order). b a usu. specified sequence, succession, etc.
(alphabetical order; the order of events). 2 (in sing. or pl.)
an authoritative command, direction, instruction, etc. (only
obeying orders; gave orders for it to be done; the judge made an
order). 3 a state of peaceful harmony under a constituted
authority (order was restored; law and order). 4 (esp. in pl.)
a social class, rank, etc., constituting a distinct group in
society (the lower orders; the order of baronets). 5 a kind; a
sort (talents of a high order). 6 a a usu. written direction to
a manufacturer, tradesman, waiter, etc. to supply something. b
the quantity of goods etc. supplied. 7 the constitution or
nature of the world, society, etc. (the moral order; the order
of things). 8 Biol. a taxonomic rank below a class and above a
family. 9 (esp. Order) a fraternity of monks and friars, or
formerly of knights, bound by a common rule of life (the
Franciscan order; the order of Templars). 10 a any of the
grades of the Christian ministry. b (in pl.) the status of a
member of the clergy (Anglican orders). 11 a any of the five
classical styles of architecture (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian,
Tuscan, and Composite) based on the proportions of columns,
amount of decoration, etc. b any style or mode of architecture
subject to uniform established proportions. 12 (esp. Order) a
a company of distinguished people instituted esp. by a sovereign
to which appointments are made as an honour or reward (Order of
the Garter; Order of Merit). b the insignia worn by members of
an order. 13 Math. a a degree of complexity of a differential
equation (equation of the first order). b the order of the
highest derivative in the equation. 14 Math. a the size of a
matrix. b the number of elements of a finite group. 15 Eccl.
the stated form of divine service (the order of confirmation).
16 the principles of procedure, decorum, etc., accepted by a
meeting, legislative assembly, etc. or enforced by its
president. 17 Mil. a a style of dress and equipment (review
order). b (prec. by the) the position of a company etc. with
arms ordered (see order arms). 18 a Masonic or similar
fraternity. 19 any of the nine grades of angelic beings
(seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominations, principalities,
powers, virtues, archangels, angels). 20 a pass admitting the
bearer to a theatre, museum, private house, etc. free or cheap
or as a privilege. --v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by to + infin., or
that + clause) command; bid; prescribe (ordered him to go;
ordered that they should be sent). 2 command or direct (a
person) to a specified destination (was ordered to Singapore;
ordered them home). 3 direct a manufacturer, waiter, tradesman,
etc. to supply (ordered a new suit; ordered dinner). 4 put in
order; regulate (ordered her affairs). 5 (of God, fate, etc.)
ordain (fate ordered it otherwise). 6 US command (a thing) done
or (a person) dealt with (ordered it settled; ordered him
expelled). Ьby order according to the proper authority. holy
orders the status of a member of the clergy, esp. the grades of
bishop, priest, and deacon. in bad (or good etc.) order not
working (or working properly etc.). in order 1 one after
another according to some principle. 2 ready or fit for use. 3
according to the rules (of procedure at a meeting etc.). in
order that with the intention; so that. in order to with the
purpose of doing; with a view to. keep order enforce orderly
behaviour. made to order 1 made according to individual
requirements, measurements, etc. (opp. ready-made). 2 exactly
what is wanted. minor orders RC Ch. hist. the grades of
members of the clergy below that of deacon. not in order not
working properly. of (or in or on) the order of 1
approximately. 2 having the order of magnitude specified by (of
the order of one in a million). on order (of goods etc.)
ordered but not yet received. order about 1 dominate; command
officiously. 2 send hither and thither. order arms Mil. hold
a rifle with its butt on the ground close to one's right side.
order book 1 a book in which a tradesman enters orders. 2 the
level of incoming orders. order-form a printed form in which
details are entered by a customer. Order in Council Brit. a
sovereign's order on an administrative matter given by the
advice of the Privy Council. Order of the Bath (or Garter or
Merit) each of several honours conferred by the sovereign for
services etc. to the State. order of the day 1 the prevailing
state of things. 2 a principal topic of action or a procedure
decided upon. 3 business set down for treatment; a programme.
order of magnitude a class in a system of classification
determined by size, usu. by powers of 10. Order! Order! Parl.
a call for silence or calm, esp. by the Speaker of the House of
Commons. order-paper esp. Parl. a written or printed order of
the day; an agenda. order to view a house-agent's request for a
client to be allowed to inspect premises. out of order 1 not
working properly. 2 not according to the rules (of a meeting,
organization, etc.). take orders 1 accept commissions. 2
accept and carry out commands. 3 (also take holy orders) be
ordained. ЬЬorderer n. [ME f. OF ordre f. L ordo ordinis row,
array, degree, command, etc.]
orderly adj. & n. --adj. 1 methodically arranged; regular. 2 obedient
to discipline; well-behaved; not unruly. 3 Mil. a of or
concerned with orders. b charged with the conveyance or
execution of orders. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 an esp. male cleaner
in a hospital. 2 a soldier who carries orders for an officer
etc. Ьorderly book Brit. Mil. a regimental or company book
for entering orders. orderly officer Brit. Mil. the officer
of the day. orderly room Brit. Mil. a room in a barracks used
for company business. ЬЬorderliness n.
ordinal n. & adj. --n. 1 (in full ordinal number) a number defining a
thing's position in a series, e.g. 'first', 'second', 'third',
etc. (cf. CARDINAL). 2 Eccl. a service-book, esp. one with the
forms of service used at ordinations. --adj. 1 a of or
relating to an ordinal number. b defining a thing's position in
a series etc. 2 Biol. of or concerning an order (see ORDER n.
8). [ME f. LL ordinalis & med.L ordinale neut. f. L (as ORDER)]
ordinance n. 1 an authoritative order; a decree. 2 an enactment by a
local authority. 3 a religious rite. 4 archaic = ORDONNANCE.
[ME f. OF ordenance f. med.L ordinantia f. L ordinare: see
ordinand n. Eccl. a candidate for ordination. [L ordinandus, gerundive
of ordinare ORDAIN]
ordinary adj. & n. --adj. 1 a regular, normal, customary, usual (in the
ordinary course of events). b boring; commonplace (an ordinary
little man). 2 Brit. Law (esp. of a judge) having immediate or
ex officio jurisdiction, not deputed. --n. (pl. -ies) 1 Brit.
Law a person, esp. a judge, having immediate or ex officio
jurisdiction. 2 (the Ordinary) a an archbishop in a province.
b a bishop in a diocese. 3 (usu. Ordinary) RC Ch. a those
parts of a service, esp. the mass, which do not vary from day to
day. b a rule or book laying down the order of divine service.
4 Heraldry a charge of the earliest, simplest, and commonest
kind (esp. chief, pale, bend, fess, bar, chevron, cross,
saltire). 5 (Ordinary) (also Lord Ordinary) any of the judges
of the Court of Session in Scotland, constituting the Outer
House. 6 esp. US hist. an early type of bicycle with one large
and one very small wheel; a penny-farthing. 7 Brit. hist. a a
public meal provided at a fixed time and price at an inn etc. b
an establishment providing this. 8 US a tavern. Ьin ordinary
Brit. by permanent appointment (esp. to the royal household)
(physician in ordinary). in the ordinary way if the
circumstances are or were not exceptional. ordinary level Brit.
hist. the lowest of the three levels of the GCE examination.
ordinary scale = decimal scale. ordinary seaman a sailor of the
lowest rank, that below able-bodied seaman. ordinary shares
Brit. shares entitling holders to a dividend from net profits
(cf. preference shares). out of the ordinary unusual.
ЬЬordinarily adv. ordinariness n. [ME f. L ordinarius orderly
ordinate n. Math. a straight line from any point drawn parallel to one
coordinate axis and meeting the other, usually a coordinate
measured parallel to the vertical (cf. ABSCISSA). [L linea
ordinata applicata line applied parallel f. ordinare: see
n. 1 a the act of conferring holy orders esp. on a priest or
deacon. b the admission of a priest etc. to church ministry. 2
the arrangement of things etc. in ranks; classification. 3 the
act of decreeing or ordaining. [ME f. OF ordination or L
ordinatio (as ORDAIN)]
ordnance n. 1 mounted guns; cannon. 2 a branch of government service
dealing esp. with military stores and materials. Ьordnance
datum Brit. mean sea level as defined for Ordnance Survey.
Ordnance map Brit. a map produced by Ordnance Survey. Ordnance
Survey Brit. (in the UK) an official survey organization, orig.
under the Master of the Ordnance, preparing large-scale detailed
maps of the whole country. [ME var. of ORDINANCE]
n. the systematic arrangement esp. of literary or architectural
work. [F f. OF ordenance: see ORDINANCE]
adj. & n. Geol. --adj. of or relating to the second period of
the Palaeozoic era, with evidence of the first vertebrates and
an abundance of marine invertebrates. °Cf. Appendix II. --n.
this period or system. [L Ordovices ancient British tribe in N.
ordure n. 1 excrement; dung. 2 obscenity; filth; foul language. [ME
f. OF f. ord foul f. L horridus: see HORRID]
Ore. abbr. Oregon.
ore n. a naturally occurring solid material from which metal or
other valuable minerals may be extracted. [OE ora unwrought
metal, ar bronze, rel. to L aes crude metal, bronze]
”re n. (also нre) a Scandinavian monetary unit equal to
one-hundredth of a krona or krone. [Swedish]
oread n. (in Greek and Roman mythology) a mountain nymph. [ME f. L
oreas -ados f. Gk oreias f. oros mountain]
orectic adj. Philos. & Med. of or concerning desire or appetite. [Gk
orektikos f. orego stretch out]
Oreg. abbr. Oregon.
oregano n. the dried leaves of wild marjoram used as a culinary herb
(cf. MARJORAM). [Sp., = ORIGANUM]
var. of OROGRAPHY.
oreweed var. of OARWEED.
orfe n. a golden-coloured ide. [G & F: cf. L orphus f. Gk orphos
organ n. 1 a a usu. large musical instrument having pipes supplied
with air from bellows, sounded by keys, and distributed into
sets or stops which form partial organs, each with a separate
keyboard (choir organ; pedal organ). b a smaller instrument
without pipes, producing similar sounds electronically. c a
smaller keyboard wind instrument with metal reeds; a harmonium.
d = barrel-organ. 2 a a usu. self-contained part of an organism
having a special vital function (vocal organs; digestive
organs). b esp. joc. the penis. 3 a medium of communication,
esp. a newspaper, sectarian periodical, etc. 4 archaic a
professionally trained singing voice. 5 Phrenol. archaic a
region of the brain held to be the seat of a particular faculty.
Ьorgan-blower a person or mechanism working the bellows of an
organ. organ-grinder the player of a barrel-organ. organ-loft
a gallery in a church or concert-room for an organ. organ of
Corti see CORTI. organ-pipe any of the pipes on an organ.
organ-screen an ornamental screen usu. between the choir and the
nave of a church, cathedral, etc., on which the organ is placed.
organ-stop 1 a set of pipes of a similar tone in an organ. 2
the handle of the mechanism that brings it into action. [ME f.
OE organa & OF organe, f. L organum f. Gk organon tool]
organdie n. (US organdy) (pl. -ies) a fine translucent cotton muslin,
usu. stiffened. [F organdi, of unkn. orig.]
organelle n. Biol. any of various organized or specialized structures
which form part of a cell. [mod.L organella dimin.; see ORGAN,
organic adj. 1 a Physiol. of or relating to a bodily organ or organs.
b Med. (of a disease) affecting the structure of an organ. 2
(of a plant or animal) having organs or an organized physical
structure. 3 Agriculture produced or involving production
without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc.
(organic crop; organic farming). 4 Chem. (of a compound etc.)
containing carbon (opp. INORGANIC). 5 a structural, inherent.
b constitutional, fundamental. 6 organized, systematic,
coordinated (an organic whole). Ьorganic chemistry the
chemistry of carbon compounds. organic law a law stating the
formal constitution of a country. ЬЬorganically adv. [F
organique f. L organicus f. Gk organikos (as ORGAN)]
organism n. 1 a living individual consisting of a single cell or of a
group of interdependent parts sharing the life processes. 2 a
an individual live plant or animal. b the material structure of
this. 3 a whole with interdependent parts compared to a living
being. [F organisme (as ORGANIZE)]
organist n. the player of an organ.
n. (also -isation) 1 the act or an instance of organizing; the
state of being organized. 2 an organized body, esp. a business,
government department, charity, etc. 3 systematic arrangement;
tidiness. Ьorganization man a man who subordinates his
individuality and his personal life to the organization he
serves. ЬЬorganizational adj. organizationally adv.
organize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 a give an orderly structure to,
systematize. b bring the affairs of (another person or oneself)
into order; make arrangements for (a person). 2 a arrange for
or initiate (a scheme etc.). b provide; take responsibility for
(organized some sandwiches). 3 (often absol.) a enrol (new
members) in a trade union, political party, etc. b form (a
trade union or other political group). 4 a form (different
elements) into an organic whole. b form (an organic whole). 5
(esp. as organized adj.) make organic; make into a living being
or tissue. ЬЬorganizable adj. organizer n. [ME f. OF
organiser f. med.L organizare f. L (as ORGAN)]
adj. affecting the organs of sense. [ORGANO- + Gk leptikos
disposed to take f. lambano take]
adj. (of a compound) organic and containing a metal.
organon n. (also organum) an instrument of thought, esp. a means of
reasoning or a system of logic. [Gk organon & L organum (as
ORGAN): Organon was the title of Aristotle's logical writings,
and Novum (new) Organum that of Bacon's]
n. the treatment of disease with extracts of organs.
organza n. a thin stiff transparent silk or synthetic dress fabric.
[prob. f. Lorganza (US trade name)]
organzine n. a silk thread in which the main twist is in a contrary
direction to that of the strands. [F organsin f. It.
organzino, of unkn. orig.]
orgasm n. & v. --n. 1 a the climax of sexual excitement, esp. during
sexual intercourse. b an instance of this. 2 violent
excitement; rage. --v.intr. experience a sexual orgasm.
ЬЬorgasmic adj. orgasmically adv. orgastic adj. orgastically
adv. [F orgasme or mod.L f. Gk orgasmos f. orgao swell, be
orgeat n. a cooling drink made from barley or almonds and
orange-flower water. [F f. Prov. orjat f. ordi barley f. L
orgiastic adj. of or resembling an orgy. ЬЬorgiastically adv. [Gk
orgiastikos f. orgiastes agent-noun f. orgiazo hold an orgy]
orgulous adj. archaic haughty; splendid. [ME f. OF orguillus f.
orguill pride f. Frank.]
orgy n. (pl. -ies) 1 a wild drunken festivity at which
indiscriminate sexual activity takes place. 2 excessive
indulgence in an activity. 3 (usu. in pl.) Gk & Rom. Hist.
secret rites used in the worship of esp. Bacchus, celebrated
with dancing, drunkenness, singing, etc. [orig. pl., f. F
orgies f. L orgia f. Gk orgia secret rites]
oribi n. (pl. same or oribis) a small S. African grazing antelope,
Ourebia ourebi, having a reddish fawn back and white underparts.
oriel n. 1 a large polygonal recess built out usu. from an upper
storey and supported from the ground or on corbels. 2 (in full
oriel window) a any of the windows in an oriel. b the
projecting window of an upper storey. [ME f. OF oriol gallery,
of unkn. orig.]
orient n., adj., & v. --n. 1 (the Orient) a poet. the east. b the
countries E. of the Mediterranean, esp. E. Asia. 2 an orient
pearl. --adj. 1 poet. oriental. 2 (of precious stones and
esp. the finest pearls coming orig. from the East) lustrous;
sparkling; precious. 3 archaic a radiant. b (of the sun,
daylight, etc.) rising. --v. 1 tr. a place or exactly
determine the position of with the aid of a compass; settle or
find the bearings of. b (often foll. by towards) bring
(oneself, different elements, etc.) into a clearly understood
position or relationship; direct. 2 tr. a place or build (a
church, building, etc.) facing towards the East. b bury (a
person) with the feet towards the East. 3 intr. turn eastward
or in a specified direction. Ьorient oneself determine how one
stands in relation to one's surroundings. [ME f. OF orient,
orienter f. L oriens -entis rising, sunrise, east, f. oriri
oriental adj. & n. --adj. 1 (often Oriental) a of or characteristic of
Eastern civilization etc. b of or concerning the East, esp. E.
Asia. 2 (of a pearl etc.) orient. --n. (esp. Oriental) a
native of the Orient. ЬЬorientalism n. orientalist n.
orientalize v.intr. & tr. (also -ise). orientally adv. [ME f.
OF oriental or L orientalis (as ORIENT)]
orientate v.tr. & intr. = ORIENT v. [prob. back-form. f. ORIENTATION]
n. 1 the act or an instance of orienting; the state of being
oriented. 2 a a relative position. b a person's attitude or
adjustment in relation to circumstances, esp. politically or
psychologically. 3 an introduction to a subject or situation; a
briefing. 4 the faculty by which birds etc. find their way home
from a distance. Ьorientation course esp. US a course giving
information to newcomers to a university etc. ЬЬorientational
adj. [app. f. ORIENT]
n. a competitive sport in which runners cross open country with
a map, compass, etc. ЬЬorienteer n. & v.intr. [Sw.
orifice n. an opening, esp. the mouth of a cavity, a bodily aperture,
etc. [F f. LL orificium f. os oris mouth + facere make]
oriflamme n. 1 hist. the sacred scarlet silk banner of St Denis given to
early French kings by the abbot of St Denis on setting out for
war. 2 a standard, a principle, or an ideal as a rallying-point
in a struggle. 3 a bright conspicuous object, colour, etc. [ME
f. OF f. L aurum gold + flamma flame]
origami n. the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and
figures. [Jap. f. ori fold + kami paper]
origan n. (also origanum) any plant of the genus Origanum, esp. wild
marjoram (see MARJORAM). [(ME f. OF origan) f. L origanum f. Gk
origin n. 1 a beginning or starting-point; a derivation; a source (a
word of Latin origin). 2 (often in pl.) a person's ancestry
(what are his origins?). 3 Anat. a a place at which a muscle
is firmly attached. b a place where a nerve or blood vessel
begins or branches from a main nerve or blood vessel. 4 Math. a
fixed point from which coordinates are measured. [F origine or
f. L origo -ginis f. oriri rise]
original adj. & n. --adj. 1 existing from the beginning; innate. 2
novel; inventive; creative (has an original mind). 3 serving as
a pattern; not derivative or imitative; firsthand (in the
original Greek; has an original Rembrandt). --n. 1 an original
model, pattern, picture, etc. from which another is copied or
translated (kept the copy and destroyed the original). 2 an
eccentric or unusual person. 3 a a garment specially designed
for a fashion collection. b a copy of such a garment made to
order. Ьoriginal instrument a musical instrument, or a copy of
one, dating from the time the music played on it was composed.
original print a print made directly from an artist's own
woodcut, etching, etc., and printed under the artist's
supervision. original sin the innate depravity of all mankind
held to be a consequence of the Fall. ЬЬoriginally adv. [ME f.
OF original or L originalis (as ORIGIN)]
n. (pl. -ies) 1 the power of creating or thinking creatively.
2 newness or freshness (this vase has originality). 3 an
original act, thing, trait, etc.
originate v. 1 tr. cause to begin; initiate. 2 intr. (usu. foll. by
from, in, with) have as an origin; begin. ЬЬorigination n.
originative adj. originator n. [med. L originare (as ORIGIN)]
orinasal adj. (esp. of French nasalized vowels) sounded with both the
mouth and the nose. [L os oris mouth + NASAL]
o-ring n. a gasket in the form of a ring with a circular
oriole n. 1 any Old World bird of the genus Oriolus, many of which
have brightly coloured plumage (see golden oriole). 2 any New
World bird of the genus Icterus, with similar coloration.
[med.L oriolus f. OF oriol f. L aureolus dimin. of aureus golden
f. aurum gold]
Orion n. a brilliant constellation on the celestial equator visible
from most parts of the earth. ЬOrion's belt three bright stars
in a short line across the middle of the constellation. Orion's
hound Sirius. [ME f. L f. Gk Orion, name of a legendary hunter]
orison n. (usu. in pl.) archaic a prayer. [ME f. AF ureison, OF
oreison f. L (as ORATION)]
-orium suffix forming nouns denoting a place for a particular function
(auditorium; crematorium). [L, neut. of adjectives in -orius:
Oriya n. 1 a native of the State of Orissa in India. 2 the
Indo-European language of this people. [Hindi]
orle n. Heraldry a narrow band or border of charges near the edge of
a shield. [F o(u)rle f. ourler to hem, ult. f. L ora edge]
Orlon n. propr. a man-made fibre and fabric for textiles and
knitwear. [invented word, after NYLON]
orlop n. the lowest deck of a ship with three or more decks. [ME f.
MDu. overloop covering f. overloopen run over (as OVER-,
ormer n. an edible univalve mollusc, Haliotis tuberculata, having a
flattened shell with a series of holes of increasing size along
the outer margin. Also called sea-ear. [Channel Islands F f. F
ormier f. L auris maris ear of sea]
ormolu n. 1 (often attrib.) a a gilded bronze or gold-coloured alloy
of copper, zinc, and tin used to decorate furniture, make
ornaments, etc. b articles made of or decorated with these. 2
showy trash. [F or moulu powdered gold (for use in gilding)]
ornament n. & v. --n. 1 a a thing used or serving to adorn, esp. a
small trinket, vase, figure, etc. (a mantelpiece crowded with
ornaments; her only ornament was a brooch). b a quality or
person conferring adornment, grace, or honour (an ornament to
her profession). 2 decoration added to embellish esp. a
building (a tower rich in ornament). 3 (in pl.) Mus.
embellishments and decorations made to a melody. 4 (usu. in
pl.) the accessories of worship, e.g. the altar, chalice, sacred
vessels, etc. --v.tr. adorn; beautify. ЬЬornamentation n.
[ME f. AF urnement, OF o(u)rnement f. L ornamentum equipment f.
adj. & n. --adj. serving as an ornament; decorative. --n. a
thing considered to be ornamental, esp. a cultivated plant.
ЬЬornamentalism n. ornamentalist n. ornamentally adv.
ornate adj. 1 elaborately adorned; highly decorated. 2 (of literary
style) convoluted; flowery. ЬЬornately adv. ornateness n. [ME
f. L ornatus past part. of ornare adorn]
ornery adj. US colloq. 1 cantankerous; unpleasant. 2 of poor
quality. ЬЬorneriness n. [var. of ORDINARY]
ornithic adj. of or relating to birds. [Gk ornithikos birdlike (as
ornitho- comb. form bird. [Gk f. ornis ornithos bird]
n. the scientific study of birds. ЬЬornithological adj.
ornithologically adv. ornithologist n. [mod.L ornithologia f.
Gk ornithologos treating of birds (as ORNITHO-, -LOGY)]
n. = PLATYPUS. [ORNITHO- + Gk rhugkhos bill]
oro- comb. form mountain. [Gk oros mountain]
orogeny n. (also orogenesis) the process of the formation of mountains.
ЬЬorogenetic adj. orogenic adj.
orography n. (also oreography) the branch of physical geography dealing
with mountains. ЬЬorographic adj. orographical adj.
orotund adj. 1 (of the voice or phrasing) full, round; imposing. 2 (of
writing, style, expression, etc.) pompous; pretentious. [L ore
rotundo with rounded mouth]
orphan n. & v. --n. (often attrib.) 1 a child bereaved of a parent or
usu. both parents. 2 a person bereft of previous protection,
advantages, etc. --v.tr. bereave (a child) of its parents or a
parent. ЬЬorphanhood n. orphanize v.tr. (also -ise). [ME f.
LL orphanus f. Gk orphanos bereaved]
orphanage n. 1 a usu. residential institution for the care and education
of orphans. 2 orphanhood.
Orphean adj. like the music of Orpheus, a legendary Greek poet and
lyre-player; melodious; entrancing. [L Orpheus (adj.) f. Gk
Orpheios f. Orpheus]
Orphic adj. 1 of or concerning Orpheus or the mysteries, doctrines,
etc. associated with him; oracular; mysterious. 2 = ORPHEAN.
ЬЬOrphism n. [L Orphicus f. Gk Orphikos f. Orpheus]
orphrey n. (pl. -eys) an ornamental stripe or border or separate piece
of ornamental needlework, esp. on ecclesiastical vestments. [ME
orfreis (taken as pl.) (gold) embroidery f. OF f. med.L
aurifrisium etc. f. L aurum gold + Phrygius Phrygian, also
orpiment n. 1 a mineral form of arsenic trisulphide, formerly used as a
dye and artist's pigment. Also called yellow arsenic. 2 (in
full red orpiment) = REALGAR. [ME f. OF f. L auripigmentum f.
aurum gold + pigmentum pigment]
orpine n. (also orpin) a succulent herbaceous purple-flowered plant,
Sedum telephium. Also called LIVELONG(2). [ME f. OF orpine,
prob. alt. of ORPIMENT, orig. of a yellow-flowered species of
the same genus]
orrery n. (pl. -ies) a clockwork model of the solar system. [named
after the fourth Earl of Orrery, for whom one was made]
orris n. 1 any plant of the genus Iris, esp. I. florentina. 2 =
ORRISROOT. Ьorris-powder powdered orrisroot. [16th c.: app. an
unexpl. alt. of IRIS]
orrisroot n. the fragrant rootstock of the orris, used in perfumery and
formerly in medicine.
ortanique n. a citrus fruit produced by crossing an orange and a
tangerine. [orange + tangerine + un ique]
ortho- comb. form 1 a straight, rectangular, upright. b right,
correct. 2 Chem. a relating to two adjacent carbon atoms in a
benzene ring. b relating to acids and salts (e.g.
orthophosphates) giving meta- compounds on removal of water.
[Gk orthos straight]
adj. having a head with a medium ratio of breadth to height.
adj. giving fairly correct relative intensity to colours in
photography by being sensitive to all except red.
n. a common alkali feldspar usu. occurring as variously
coloured crystals, used in ceramics and glass-making. [ORTHO-
+Gk klasis breaking]
n.pl. (treated as sing.) (also orthodontia) the treatment of
irregularities in the teeth and jaws. ЬЬorthodontic adj.
orthodontist n. [ORTHO- + Gk odous odont- tooth]
orthodox adj. 1 a holding correct or currently accepted opinions, esp.
on religious doctrine, morals, etc. b not independent-minded;
unoriginal; unheretical. 2 (of religious doctrine, standards of
morality, etc.) generally accepted as right or true;
authoritatively established; conventional. 3 (also Orthodox)
(of Judaism) strictly keeping to traditional doctrine and
ritual. ЬOrthodox Church the Eastern Church, separated from the
Western Church in the 11th c., having the Patriarch of
Constantinople as its head, and including the national Churches
of Russia, Romania, Greece, etc. ЬЬorthodoxly adv. [eccl. L
orthodoxus f. Gk orthodoxos f. doxa opinion]
orthodoxy n. (pl. -ies) 1 the state of being orthodox. 2 a the orthodox
practice of Judaism. b the body of orthodox Jews. 3 esp.
Relig. an authorized or generally accepted theory, doctrine,
etc. [LL orthodoxia f. late Gk orthodoxia sound doctrine (as
orthoepy n. the scientific study of the correct pronunciation of words.
ЬЬorthoepic adj. orthoepist n. [Gk orthoepeia correct speech
(as ORTHO-, epos word)]
n. a theory of evolution which proposes that variations follow
a defined direction and are not merely sporadic and fortuitous.
ЬЬorthogenetic adj. orthogenetically adv.
adj. (of mammals, including man) having a jaw which does not
project forwards and a facial angle approaching a right angle.
[ORTHO- + Gk gnathos jaw]
adj. of or involving right angles. [F f. orthogone (as
n. (pl. -ies) 1 a correct or conventional spelling. b
spelling with reference to its correctness (dreadful
orthography). c the study or science of spelling. 2 a
perspective projection used in maps and elevations in which the
projection lines are parallel. b a map etc. so projected.
ЬЬorthographer n. orthographic adj. orthographical adj.
orthographically adv. [ME f. OF ortografie f. L orthographia f.
Gk orthographia (as ORTHO-, -GRAPHY)]
n.pl. (treated as sing.) (US -pedics) the branch of medicine
dealing with the correction of deformities of bones or muscles,
orig. in children. ЬЬorthopaedic adj. orthopaedist n. [F
orthop‚die (as ORTHO-, p‚die f. Gk paideia rearing of children)]
n. any insect of the order Orthoptera, with straight narrow
forewings, and hind legs modified for jumping etc., including
grasshoppers and crickets. ЬЬorthopterous adj. [ORTHO- + Gk
orthoptic adj. relating to the correct or normal use of the eyes.
ЬЬorthoptist n. [ORTHO- + Gk optikos of sight: see OPTIC]
n. Med. the study or treatment of irregularities of the eyes,
esp. with reference to the eye-muscles.
adj. Crystallog. (of a crystal) characterized by three
mutually perpendicular axes which are unequal in length, as in
topaz and talc.
orthotone adj. & n. --adj. (of a word) having an independent stress
pattern, not enclitic nor proclitic. --n. a word of this kind.
ortolan n. (in full ortolan bunting) Zool. a small European bird,
Emberiza hortulana, eaten as a delicacy. [F f. Prov., lit.
gardener, f. L hortulanus f. hortulus dimin. of hortus garden]
Orwellian adj. of or characteristic of the writings of George Orwell (E.
A. Blair), English writer d. 1950, esp. with reference to the
totalitarian development of the State as depicted in 1984 and
-ory(1) suffix forming nouns denoting a place for a particular function
(dormitory; refectory). ЬЬ-orial suffix forming adjectives. [L
-oria, -orium, sometimes via ONF and AF -orie, OF -oire]
-ory(2) suffix forming adjectives (and occasionally nouns) relating to
or involving a verbal action (accessory; compulsory; directory).
[L -orius, sometimes via AF -ori(e), OF -oir(e)]
oryx n. any large straight-horned antelope of the genus Oryx, native
to Africa and Arabia. [ME f. L f. Gk orux stonemason's pickaxe,
f. its pointed horns]
OS abbr. 1 old style. 2 ordinary seaman. 3 (in the UK) Ordnance
Survey. 4 outsize. 5 out of stock.
Os symb. Chem. the element osmium.
n. 1 a hardy thorny tree, Maclura pomifera, of the US, bearing
inedible wrinkled orange-like fruit. 2 the durable
orange-coloured timber from this. [name of a N. American Indian
Oscan n. & adj. --n. the ancient language of Campania in Italy,
related to Latin and surviving only in inscriptions. --adj.
relating to or written in Oscan. [L Oscus]
Oscar n. any of the statuettes awarded by the US Academy of Motion
Picture Arts and Sciences for excellence in film acting,
directing, etc. [the name Oscar]
oscillate v. 1 intr. & tr. a swing to and fro like a pendulum. b move
to and fro between points. 2 intr. vacillate; vary between
extremes of opinion, action, etc. 3 intr. Physics move with
periodic regularity. 4 intr. Electr. (of a current) undergo
high-frequency alternations as across a spark-gap or in a
valve-transmitter circuit. 5 intr. (of a radio receiver)
radiate electromagnetic waves owing to faulty operation.
ЬЬoscillation n. oscillator n. oscillatory adj. [L oscillare
oscillo- comb. form oscillation, esp. of electric current.
n. a record obtained from an oscillograph.
n. a device for recording oscillations. ЬЬoscillographic adj.
n. a device for viewing oscillations by a display on the screen
of a cathode-ray tube. ЬЬoscilloscopic adj.
oscine adj. (also oscinine) of or relating to the suborder Oscines of
passerine birds including many of the songbirds. [L oscen
-cinis songbird (as OB-, canere sing)]
n. formal 1 yawning; drowsiness. 2 inattention; negligence.
[L oscitatio f. oscitare gape f. os mouth + citare move]
oscula pl. of OSCULUM.
oscular adj. 1 of or relating to the mouth. 2 of or relating to
kissing. [L osculum mouth, kiss, dimin. of os mouth]
osculate v. 1 tr. Math. (of a curve or surface) have contact of at
least the second order with; have two branches with a common
tangent, with each branch extending in both directions of the
tangent. 2 v.intr. & tr. joc. kiss. 3 intr. Biol. (of a
species etc.) be related through an intermediate species; have
common characteristics with another or with each other.
ЬЬosculant adj. osculation n. osculatory adj. [L osculari
kiss (as OSCULAR)]
osculum n. (pl. oscula) a mouthlike aperture, esp. of a sponge. [L:
-ose(1) suffix forming adjectives denoting possession of a quality
(grandiose; verbose). ЬЬ-osely suffix forming adverbs.
-oseness suffix forming nouns (cf. -OSITY). [from or after L
osier n. 1 any of various willows, esp. Salix viminalis, with long
flexible shoots used in basketwork. 2 a shoot of a willow.
Ьosier-bed a place where osiers are grown. [ME f. OF: cf. med.L
-osis suffix (pl. -oses) denoting a process or condition (apotheosis;
metamorphosis), esp. a pathological state (acidosis; neurosis;
thrombosis). [L f. Gk -osis suffix of verbal nouns]
-osity suffix forming nouns from adjectives in -ose (see -OSE(1)) and
-ous (verbosity; curiosity). [F -osit‚ or L -ositas -ositatis:
Osmanli adj. & n. = OTTOMAN. [Turk. f. Osman f. Arab. ' utman (see
OTTOMAN) + - li adj. suffix]
osmic adj. of or relating to odours or the sense of smell.
ЬЬosmically adv. [Gk osme smell, odour]
osmium n. Chem. a hard bluish-white transition element, the heaviest
known metal, occurring naturally in association with platinum
and used in certain alloys. °Symb.: Os. [Gk osme smell (from
the pungent smell of its tetroxide)]
osmosis n. 1 Biochem. the passage of a solvent through a semi-permeable
partition into a more concentrated solution. 2 any process by
which something is acquired by absorption. ЬЬosmotic adj.
osmotically adv. [orig. osmose, after F f. Gk osmos push]
osmund n. (also osmunda) any fern of the genus Osmunda, esp. the royal
fern, having large divided fronds. [ME f. AF, of uncert. orig.]
osprey n. (pl. -eys) 1 a large bird of prey, Pandion haliaetus, with
a brown back and white markings, feeding on fish. Also called
fish-hawk. 2 a plume on a woman's hat. [ME f. OF ospres app.
ult. f. L ossifraga osprey f. os bone + frangere break]
ossein n. the collagen of bones. [L osseus (as OSSEOUS)]
osseous adj. 1 consisting of bone. 2 having a bony skeleton. 3
ossified. [L osseus f. os ossis bone]
ossicle n. 1 Anat. any small bone, esp. of the middle ear. 2 a small
piece of bonelike substance. [L ossiculum dimin. (as OSSEOUS)]
Ossie var. of AUSSIE.
ossify v.tr. & intr. (-ies, -ied) 1 turn into bone; harden. 2 make or
become rigid, callous, or unprogressive. ЬЬossific adj.
ossification n. [F ossifier f. L os ossis bone]
n. shin of veal containing marrowbone stewed in wine with
vegetables. [It., = marrowbone]
ossuary n. (pl. -ies) 1 a receptacle for the bones of the dead; a
charnel-house; a bone-urn. 2 a cave in which ancient bones are
found. [LL ossuarium irreg. f. os ossis bone]
osteitis n. inflammation of the substance of a bone. [Gk osteon bone +
adj. concealing the real; professed (his ostensible function
was that of interpreter). ЬЬostensibly adv. [F f. med.L
ostensibilis f. L ostendere ostens- stretch out to view (as OB-,
ostensive adj. 1 directly demonstrative. 2 (of a definition) indicating
by direct demonstration that which is signified by a term.
ЬЬostensively adv. ostensiveness n. [LL ostensivus (as
ostensory n. (pl. -ies) RC Ch. a receptacle for displaying the host to
the congregation; a monstrance. [med.L ostensorium (as
n. 1 a pretentious and vulgar display esp. of wealth and
luxury. 2 the attempt or intention to attract notice; showing
off. ЬЬostentatious adj. ostentatiously adv. [ME f. OF f. L
ostentatio -onis f. ostentare frequent. of ostendere: see
osteo- comb. form bone. [Gk osteon]
n. a degenerative disease of joint cartilage, esp. in the
elderly. ЬЬosteoarthritic adj.
n. the formation of bone. ЬЬosteogenetic adj.
osteology n. the study of the structure and function of the skeleton and
bony structures. ЬЬosteological adj. osteologically adv.
n. softening of the bones, often through a deficiency of
vitamin D and calcium. ЬЬosteomalacic adj. [mod.L (as OSTEO-,
Gk malakos soft)]
n. inflammation of the bone or of bone marrow, usu. due to
n. the treatment of disease through the manipulation of bones,
esp. the spine, displacement of these being the supposed cause.
ЬЬosteopath n. osteopathic adj.
n. a condition of brittle and fragile bones caused by loss of
bony tissue, esp. as a result of hormonal changes, or deficiency
of calcium or vitamin D. [OSTEO- + Gk poros passage, pore]
ostinato n. (pl. -os) (often attrib.) Mus. a persistent phrase or
rhythm repeated through all or part of a piece. [It., =
ostler n. Brit. hist. a stableman at an inn. [f. earlier HOSTLER,
hosteler f. AF hostiler, OF (h)ostelier (as HOSTEL)]
Ostmark n. the chief monetary unit of the Democratic Republic of
Germany. [G, = east mark: see MARK(2)]
n. the foreign policy of many western European countries with
reference to the Communist bloc. [G f. Ost east + Politik
ostracize v.tr. (also -ise) 1 exclude (a person) from a society, favour,
common privileges, etc.; refuse to associate with. 2 (esp. in
ancient Athens) banish (a powerful or unpopular citizen) for
five or ten years by popular vote. ЬЬostracism n. [Gk
ostrakizo f. ostrakon shell, potsherd (used to write a name on
ostrich n. 1 a large African swift-running flightless bird, Struthio
camelus, with long legs and two toes on each foot. 2 a person
who refuses to accept facts (from the belief that ostriches bury
their heads in the sand when pursued). Ьostrich-farm a place
that breeds ostriches for their feathers. ostrich-plume a
feather or bunch of feathers of an ostrich. [ME f. OF
ostric(h)e f. L avis bird + LL struthio f. Gk strouthion ostrich
f. strouthos sparrow, ostrich]
Ostrogoth n. hist. a member of the Eastern branch of the Goths, who
conquered Italy in the 5th-6th c. ЬЬOstrogothic adj. [LL
Ostrogothi (pl.) f. Gmc austro- (unrecorded) east + LL Gothi
Goths: see GOTH]
-ot(2) suffix forming nouns denoting persons (patriot), e.g. natives of
a place (Cypriot). [F -ote, L -ota, Gk -otes]
OTC abbr. (in the UK) Officers' Training Corps.
other adj., n. or pron., & adv. --adj. 1 not the same as one or
some already mentioned or implied; separate in identity or
distinct in kind (other people; use other means; I assure you,
my reason is quite other). 2 a further; additional (a few other
examples). b alternative of two (open your other eye) (cf.
every other). 3 (prec. by the) that remains after all except
the one or ones in question have been considered, eliminated,
etc. (must be in the other pocket; where are the other two?; the
other three men left). 4 (foll. by than) apart from; excepting
(any person other than you). --n. or pron. (orig. an ellipt.
use of the adj., now with pl. in -s) 1 an additional, different,
or extra person, thing, example, etc. (one or other of us will
be there; some others have come) (see also ANOTHER, each other).
2 (in pl.; prec. by the) the ones remaining (where are the
others?). --adv. (usu. foll. by than) disp. otherwise (cannot
react other than angrily). °In this sense otherwise is standard
except in less formal use. Ьno other archaic nothing else (I
can do no other). of all others out of the many possible or
likely (on this night of all others). on the other hand see
HAND. the other day (or night or week etc.) a few days etc. ago
(heard from him the other day). other-directed governed by
external circumstances and trends. other half colloq. one's
wife or husband. the other place Brit. joc. Oxford University
as regarded by Cambridge, and vice versa. other ranks soldiers
other than commissioned officers. the other thing esp. joc.
an unexpressed alternative (if you don't like it, do the other
thing). other things being equal if conditions are or were
alike in all but the point in question. the other woman a
married man's mistress. the other world see WORLD. someone (or
something or somehow etc.) or other some unspecified person,
thing, manner, etc. [OE other f. Gmc]
otherness n. 1 the state of being different; diversity. 2 a thing or
existence other than the thing mentioned and the thinking
adj. archaic or poet. elsewhere.
otherwise adv. & adj. --adv. 1 else; or else; in the circumstances other
than those considered etc. (bring your umbrella, otherwise you
will get wet). 2 in other respects (he is untidy, but otherwise
very suitable). 3 (often foll. by than) in a different way
(could not have acted otherwise; cannot react otherwise than
angrily). 4 as an alternative (otherwise known as Jack).
--adj. 1 (predic.) in a different state (the matter is quite
otherwise). 2 archaic that would otherwise exist (their
otherwise dullness). Ьand (or or) otherwise the negation or
opposite (of a specified thing) (the merits or otherwise of the
Bill; experiences pleasant and otherwise). [OE on othre wisan
(as OTHER, WISE(2))]
adj. 1 unworldly; impractical. 2 concerned with life after
death etc. ЬЬother-worldliness n.
otic adj. of or relating to the ear. [Gk otikos f. ous otos ear]
-otic suffix forming adjectives and nouns corresponding to nouns in
-osis, meaning 'affected with or producing or resembling a
condition in -osis' or 'a person affected with this' (narcotic;
neurotic; osmotic). ЬЬ-otically suffix forming adverbs. [from
or after F - otique f. L f. Gk -otikos adj. suffix]
otiose adj. 1 serving no practical purpose; not required;
functionless. 2 archaic indolent; futile. ЬЬotiosely adv.
otioseness n. [L otiosus f. otium leisure]
otitis n. inflammation of the ear. [mod.L (as OTO-)]
oto- comb. form ear. [Gk oto- f. ous otos ear]
n. the study of diseases of the ear and throat.
ЬЬotolaryngological adj. otolaryngologist n.
otolith n. any of the small particles of calcium carbonate in the inner
ear. ЬЬotolithic adj.
otology n. the study of the anatomy and diseases of the ear.
ЬЬotological adj. otologist n.
n. the study of diseases of the ear, nose, and throat.
otoscope n. an apparatus for examining the eardrum and the passage
leading to it from the ear. ЬЬotoscopic adj.
n. a stanza of eight lines of 10 or 11 syllables, rhyming
abababcc. [It., lit. eighth rhyme]
otter n. 1 a any of several aquatic fish-eating mammals of the family
Mustelidae, esp. of the genus Lutra, having strong claws and
webbed feet. b its fur or pelt. 2 = sea otter. 3 a piece of
board used to carry fishing-bait in water. 4 a type of
paravane, esp. as used on non-naval craft. Ьotter-board a
device for keeping the mouth of a trawl-net open. otter-dog (or
-hound) a dog of a breed used in otter-hunting. [OE otr,
ot(t)or f. Gmc]
otto var. of ATTAR.
Ottoman adj. & n. --adj. hist. 1 of or concerning the dynasty of
Osman or Othman I, the branch of the Turks to which he belonged,
or the empire ruled by his descendants. 2 Turkish. --n. (pl.
Ottomans) an Ottoman person; a Turk. Ьthe Ottoman Porte see
PORTE. [F f. Arab. ' utmani adj. of Othman (' utman)]
ottoman n. (pl. ottomans) 1 a an upholstered seat, usu. square and
without a back or arms, sometimes a box with a padded top. b a
footstool of similar design. 2 a heavy silken fabric with a
mixture of cotton or wool. [F ottomane fem. (as OTTOMAN)]
OU abbr. Brit. 1 Open University. 2 Oxford University.
oubliette n. a secret dungeon with access only through a trapdoor. [F f.
ouch int. expressing pain or annoyance. [imit.: cf. G autsch]
ought(1) v.aux. (usu. foll. by to + infin.; present and past indicated
by the following infin.) 1 expressing duty or rightness (we
ought to love our neighbours). 2 expressing shortcoming (it
ought to have been done long ago). 3 expressing advisability or
prudence (you ought to go for your own good). 4 expressing esp.
strong probability (he ought to be there by now). Ьought not
the negative form of ought (he ought not to have stolen it).
[OE ahte, past of agan OWE]
ought(2) n. (also aught) colloq. a figure denoting nothing; nought.
[perh. f. an ought for a NOUGHT; cf. ADDER]
ought(3) var. of AUGHT(1).
oughtn't contr. ought not.
Ouija n. (in full Ouija board) propr. a board having letters or signs
at its rim to which a planchette, movable pointer, or upturned
glass points in answer to questions from attenders at a seance
etc. [F oui yes + G ja yes]
ounce(1) n. 1 a a unit of weight of one-sixteenth of a pound avoirdupois
(approx. 28 grams). °Abbr.: oz. b a unit of one-twelfth of a
pound troy or apothecaries' measure, equal to 480 grains
(approx. 31 grams). 2 a small quantity. Ьfluid ounce Brit. 1
a unit of capacity equal to one-twentieth of a pint (approx.
0.028 litre). 2 US a unit of capacity equal to one-sixteenth of
a pint (approx. 0.034 litre). [ME & OF unce f. L uncia twelfth
part of pound or foot: cf. INCH(1)]
ounce(2) n. an Asian wild cat, Panthera uncia, with leopard-like
markings on a cream-coloured coat. Also called mountain panther,
snow leopard. [ME f. OF once (earlier lonce) = It. lonza ult.
f. L lynx: see LYNX]
our poss.pron. (attrib.) 1 of or belonging to us or ourselves (our
house; our own business). 2 of or belonging to all people (our
children's future). 3 (esp. as Our) of Us the king or queen,
emperor or empress, etc. (given under Our seal). 4 of us, the
editorial staff of a newspaper etc. (a foolish adventure in our
view). 5 Brit. colloq. indicating a relative, acquaintance, or
colleague of the speaker (our Barry works there). ЬOur Father 1
the Lord's Prayer. 2 God. Our Lady the Virgin Mary. Our Lord
1 Jesus Christ. 2 God. Our Saviour Jesus Christ. [OE ure
orig. genit. pl. of 1st pers. pron. = of us, later treated as
-our(1) suffix var. of -OR(2) surviving in some nouns (ardour; colour;
-our(2) suffix var. of -OR(1) (saviour).
ours poss.pron. the one or ones belonging to or associated with us
(it is ours; ours are over there). Ьof ours of or belonging to
us (a friend of ours).
ourself pron. archaic a word formerly used instead of myself by a
sovereign, newspaper editorial staff, etc. (cf. OUR 3, 4).
ourselves pron. 1 a emphat. form of WE or US (we ourselves did it; made
it ourselves; for our friends and ourselves). b refl. form of
US (are pleased with ourselves). 2 in our normal state of body
or mind (not quite ourselves today). Ьbe ourselves act in our
normal unconstrained manner. by ourselves see by oneself.
-ous suffix 1 forming adjectives meaning 'abounding in, characterized
by, of the nature of' (envious; glorious; mountainous;
poisonous). 2 Chem. denoting a state of lower valence than the
corresponding word in -ic (ferrous). ЬЬ-ously suffix forming
adverbs. -ousness suffix forming nouns. [from or after AF
-ous, OF -eus, f. L -osus]
ousel var. of OUZEL.
oust v.tr. 1 (usu. foll. by from) drive out or expel, esp. by
forcing oneself into the place of. 2 (usu. foll. by of) Law put
(a person) out of possession; deprive. [AF ouster, OF oster
take away, f. L obstare oppose, hinder (as OB-, stare stand)]
ouster n. 1 ejection as a result of physical action, judicial process,
or political upheaval. 2 esp. US dismissal, expulsion.
out adv., prep., n., adj., int., & v. --adv. 1 away from or not in
or at a place etc. (keep him out; get out of here; my son is out
in Canada). 2 (forming part of phrasal verbs) a indicating
dispersal away from a centre etc. (hire out; share out; board
out). b indicating coming or bringing into the open for public
attention etc. (call out; send out; shine out; stand out). c
indicating a need for attentiveness (watch out; look out; listen
out). 3 not in one's house, office, etc. (went out for a walk).
4 to or at an end; completely (tired out; die out; out of
bananas; fight it out; typed it out). 5 (of a fire, candle,
etc.) not burning. 6 in error (was 3% out in my calculations).
7 colloq. unconscious (she was out for five minutes). 8 a (of a
tooth) extracted. b (of a joint, bone, etc.) dislocated (put
his shoulder out). 9 (of a party, politician, etc.) not in
office. 10 (of a jury) considering its verdict in secrecy. 11
(of workers) on strike. 12 (of a secret) revealed. 13 (of a
flower) blooming, open. 14 (of a book) published. 15 (of a
star) visible after dark. 16 unfashionable (turn-ups are out).
17 (of a batsman, batter, etc.) no longer taking part as such,
having been caught, stumped, etc. 18 not worth considering;
rejected (that idea is out). 19 colloq. (prec. by superl.)
known to exist (the best game out). 20 (of a stain, mark, etc.)
not visible, removed (painted out the sign). 21 (of time) not
spent working (took five minutes out). 22 (of a rash, bruise,
etc.) visible. 23 (of the tide) at the lowest point. 24 Boxing
unable to rise from the floor (out for the count). 25 archaic
(of a young upper-class woman) introduced into society. 26 (in
a radio conversation etc.) transmission ends (over and out).
--prep. 1 out of (looked out the window). 2 archaic outside;
beyond the limits of. --n. 1 colloq. a way of escape; an
excuse. 2 (the outs) the political party out of office. --adj.
1 (of a match) played away. 2 (of an island) away from the
mainland. --int. a peremptory dismissal, reproach, etc. (out,
you scoundrel!). --v. 1 tr. a put out. b colloq. eject
forcibly. 2 intr. come or go out; emerge (murder will out). 3
tr. Boxing knock out. Ьat outs at variance or enmity. not out
Cricket (of a side or a batsman) not having been caught, bowled,
etc. out and about (of a person, esp. after an illness)
engaging in normal activity. out and away by far. out and out
1 thorough; surpassing. 2 thoroughly; surpassingly. out at
elbows see ELBOW. out for having one's interest or effort
directed to; intent on. out of 1 from within (came out of the
house). 2 not within (I was never out of England). 3 from
among (nine people out of ten; must choose out of these). 4
beyond the range of (is out of reach). 5 without or so as to be
without (was swindled out of his money; out of breath; out of
sugar). 6 from (get money out of him). 7 owing to; because of
(asked out of curiosity). 8 by the use of (material) (what did
you make it out of?). 9 at a specified distance from (a town,
port, etc.) (seven miles out of Liverpool). 10 beyond
(something out of the ordinary). 11 Racing (of an animal, esp.
a horse) born of. out of bounds see BOUND(2). out of date see
DATE(1). out of doors see DOOR. out of drawing see DRAWING.
out of hand see HAND. out of it not included; forlorn. out of
order see ORDER. out of pocket see POCKET. out of the question
see QUESTION. out of sorts see SORT. out of temper see TEMPER.
out of this world see WORLD. out of the way see WAY. out to
keenly striving to do. out to lunch colloq. crazy, mad. out
with an exhortation to expel or dismiss (an unwanted person).
out with it say what you are thinking. [OE ut, OHG uz, rel. to
out- prefix added to verbs and nouns, meaning: 1 so as to surpass or
exceed (outdo; outnumber). 2 external, separate (outline;
outhouse; outdoors). 3 out of; away from; outward (outspread;
out-act v.tr. surpass in acting or performing.
outage n. a period of time during which a power-supply etc. is not
n. sl. 1 a thorough or supreme person or thing. 2 an
outback n. esp. Austral. the remote and usu. uninhabited inland
districts. ЬЬoutbacker n.
v.tr. 1 count as more important than. 2 outweigh.
outbid v.tr. (-bidding; past and past part. -bid) 1 bid higher than
(another person) at an auction. 2 surpass in exaggeration etc.
outblaze v. 1 intr. blaze out or outwards. 2 tr. blaze more brightly
outboard adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 (of a motor) portable and attachable
to the outside of the stern of a boat. 2 (of a boat) having an
outboard motor. --adj. & adv. on, towards, or near the outside
of esp. a ship, an aircraft, etc. --n. 1 an outboard engine.
2 a boat with an outboard engine.
outbound adj. outward bound.
outbrave v.tr. 1 outdo in bravery. 2 face defiantly.
outbreak n. 1 a usu. sudden eruption of anger, war, disease, rebellion,
etc. 2 an outcrop.
n. the theory or practice of breeding from animals not closely
related. ЬЬoutbreed v.intr. & tr. (past and past part.
n. a detached shed, barn, garage, etc. within the grounds of a
main building; an outhouse.
outburst n. 1 an explosion of anger etc., expressed in words. 2 an act
or instance of bursting out. 3 an outcrop.
outcast n. & adj. --n. 1 a person cast out from or rejected by his or
her home, country, society, etc. 2 a tramp or vagabond. --adj.
rejected; homeless; friendless.
outcaste n. & v. --n. (also attrib.) 1 a person who has no caste, esp.
in Hindu society. 2 a person who has lost his or her caste.
--v.tr. cause (a person) to lose his or her caste.
outclass v.tr. 1 belong to a higher class than. 2 defeat easily.
outcome n. a result; a visible effect.
outcrop n. & v. --n. 1 a the emergence of a stratum, vein, or rock, at
the surface. b a stratum etc. emerging. 2 a noticeable
manifestation or occurrence. --v.intr. (-cropped, -cropping)
appear as an outcrop; crop out.
outcry n. (pl. -ies) 1 the act or an instance of crying out. 2 an
uproar. 3 a noisy or prolonged public protest.
outdance v.tr. surpass in dancing.
outdare v.tr. 1 outdo in daring. 2 overcome by daring.
outdated adj. out of date; obsolete.
v.tr. leave (a competitor) behind completely.
outdo v.tr. (3rd sing. present -does; past -did; past part. -done)
exceed or excel in doing or performance; surpass.
outdoor adj. done, existing, or used out of doors.
outdoors adv. & n. --adv. in or into the open air; out of doors. --n.
the world outside buildings; the open air.
outer adj. & n. --adj. 1 outside; external (pierced the outer
layer). 2 farther from the centre or inside; relatively far
out. 3 objective or physical, not subjective or psychical.
--n. 1 a the division of a target furthest from the bull's-eye.
b a shot that strikes this. 2 an outer garment or part of one.
3 Austral. sl. the part of a racecourse outside the enclosure.
4 an outer container for transport or display. Ьthe outer bar
see BAR(1). outer garments clothes worn over other clothes or
outdoors. Outer House Sc. Law the hall where judges of the
Court of Session sit singly. outer man (or woman) personal
appearance; dress. outer planet a planet with an orbit outside
the earth's. outer space the universe beyond the earth's
atmosphere. the outer world people outside one's own circle.
[ME f. OUT, replacing UTTER(1)]
outermost adj. furthest from the inside; the most far out.
outerwear n. = outer garments.
outface v.tr. disconcert or defeat by staring or by a display of
outfall n. the mouth of a river, drain, etc., where it empties into the
outfield n. 1 the outer part of a cricket or baseball field. 2 outlying
land. ЬЬoutfielder n.
outfight v.tr. fight better than; beat in a fight.
outfit n. & v. --n. 1 a set of clothes worn or esp. designed to be
worn together. 2 a complete set of equipment etc. for a
specific purpose. 3 colloq. a group of people regarded as a
unit, organization, etc.; a team. --v.tr. (also refl.)
(-fitted, -fitting) provide with an outfit, esp. of clothes.
outfitter n. a supplier of equipment, esp. of men's clothing; a
outflank v.tr. 1 a extend one's flank beyond that of (an enemy). b
outmanoeuvre (an enemy) in this way. 2 get the better of;
confound (an opponent).
outflow n. 1 an outward flow. 2 the amount that flows out.
outfly v.tr. (-flies; past -flew; past part. -flown) 1 surpass in
flying. 2 fly faster or farther than.
outfox v.tr. colloq. outwit.
v.tr. (-generalled, -generalling; US -generaled, -generaling) 1
outdo in generalship. 2 get the better of by superior strategy
outgo v. & n. --v.tr. (3rd sing. present -goes; past -went; past
part. -gone) archaic go faster than; surpass. --n. (pl.
-goes) expenditure of money, effort, etc.
outgoing adj. & n. --adj. 1 friendly; sociable; extrovert. 2 retiring
from office. 3 going out or away. --n. 1 (in pl.)
expenditure. 2 the act or an instance of going out.
outgrow v.tr. (past -grew; past part. -grown) 1 grow too big for
(one's clothes). 2 leave behind (a childish habit, taste,
ailment, etc.) as one matures. 3 grow faster or taller than (a
person, plant, etc.). Ьoutgrow one's strength become lanky and
weak through too rapid growth.
outgrowth n. 1 something that grows out. 2 an offshoot; a natural
product. 3 the process of growing out.
outguess v.tr. guess correctly what is intended by (another person).
outgun v.tr. (-gunned, -gunning) 1 surpass in military or other power
or strength. 2 shoot better than.
outhouse n. 1 a building, esp. a shed, lean-to, barn, etc. built next to
or in the grounds of a house. 2 US an outdoor lavatory.
outing n. 1 a short holiday away from home, esp. of one day or part of
a day; a pleasure-trip, an excursion. 2 any brief journey from
home. 3 an appearance in an outdoor match, race, etc. [OUT v.
= put out, go out + -ING(1)]
outjockey v.tr. (-eys, -eyed) outwit by adroitness or trickery.
outjump v.tr. surpass in jumping.
outlander n. a foreigner, alien, or stranger.
adj. 1 looking or sounding foreign. 2 bizarre, strange,
unfamiliar. ЬЬoutlandishly adv. outlandishness n. [OE
utlendisc f. utland foreign country f. OUT + LAND]
outlast v.tr. last longer than (a person, thing, or duration)
(outlasted its usefulness).
outlaw n. & v. --n. 1 a fugitive from the law. 2 hist. a person
deprived of the protection of the law. --v.tr. 1 declare (a
person) an outlaw. 2 make illegal; proscribe (a practice etc.).
Ьoutlaw strike an unofficial strike. ЬЬoutlawry n. [OE utlaga,
utlagian f. ON Јtlagi f. Јtlagr outlawed, rel. to OUT, LAW]
outlay n. what is spent on something.
outlet n. 1 a means of exit or escape. 2 (usu. foll. by for) a means
of expression (of a talent, emotion, etc.) (find an outlet for
tension). 3 an agency, distributor, or market for goods (a new
retail outlet in China). 4 US a power point. [ME f. OUT- +
outlier n. 1 (also attrib.) an outlying part or member. 2 Geol. a
younger rock formation isolated in older rocks. 3 Statistics a
result differing greatly from others in the same sample.
outline n. & v. --n. 1 a rough draft of a diagram, plan, proposal,
etc. 2 a a pr‚cis of a proposed novel, article, etc. b a
verbal description of essential parts only; a summary. 3 a
sketch containing only contour lines. 4 (in sing. or pl.) a
lines enclosing or indicating an object (the outline of a shape
under the blankets). b a contour. c an external boundary. 5
(in pl.) the main features or general principles (the outlines
of a plan). 6 the representation of a word in shorthand.
--v.tr. 1 draw or describe in outline. 2 mark the outline of.
Ьin outline sketched or represented as an outline.
outlive v.tr. 1 live longer than (another person). 2 live beyond (a
specified date or time). 3 live through (an experience).
outlook n. 1 the prospect for the future (the outlook is bleak). 2
one's mental attitude or point of view (narrow in their
outlook). 3 what is seen on looking out.
outlying adj. situated far from a centre; remote.
v.tr. (US -maneuver) 1 use skill and cunning to secure an
advantage over (a person). 2 outdo in manoeuvring.
outmatch v.tr. be more than a match for (an opponent etc.); surpass.
v.tr. exceed in quantity or extent.
outmoded adj. 1 no longer in fashion. 2 obsolete. ЬЬoutmodedly adv.
outmost adj. 1 outermost, furthest. 2 uttermost. [ME, var. of utmest
outnumber v.tr. exceed in number.
outpace v.tr. 1 go faster than. 2 outdo in a contest.
n. a hospital patient who is resident at home but attends
regular appointments in hospital.
v.tr. 1 perform better than. 2 surpass in a specified field or
activity. ЬЬoutperformance n.
n. the act or process of finding new employment for esp.
executive workers who have been dismissed or made redundant.
outplay v.tr. surpass in playing; play better than.
outpoint v.tr. (in various sports, esp. boxing) score more points than.
outport n. 1 a subsidiary port. 2 Can. a small remote fishing village.
outpost n. 1 a detachment set at a distance from the main body of an
army, esp. to prevent surprise. 2 a distant branch or
settlement. 3 the furthest territory of an (esp. the British)
n. 1 (usu. in pl.) a copious spoken or written expression of
emotion. 2 what is poured out.
output n. & v. --n. 1 the product of a process, esp. of manufacture,
or of mental or artistic work. 2 the quantity or amount of
this. 3 the printout, results, etc. supplied by a computer. 4
the power etc. delivered by an apparatus. 5 a place where
energy, information, etc. leaves a system. --v.tr. (-putting;
past and past part. -put or -putted) 1 put or send out. 2 (of
a computer) supply (results etc.).
outrage n. & v. --n. 1 an extreme or shocking violation of others'
rights, sentiments, etc. 2 a gross offence or indignity. 3
fierce anger or resentment (a feeling of outrage). --v.tr. 1
subject to outrage. 2 injure, insult, etc. flagrantly. 3 shock
and anger. [ME f. OF outrage f. outrer exceed f. outre f. L
adj. 1 immoderate. 2 shocking. 3 grossly cruel. 4 immoral,
offensive. ЬЬoutrageously adv. outrageousness n. [ME f. OF
outrageus (as OUTRAGE)]
outran past of OUTRUN.
outrange v.tr. (of a gun or its user) have a longer range than.
outrank v.tr. 1 be superior in rank to. 2 take priority over.
outr‚ adj. 1 outside the bounds of what is usual or proper. 2
eccentric or indecorous. [F, past part. of outrer: see OUTRAGE]
outreach v. & n. --v.tr. 1 reach further than. 2 surpass. 3 poet.
stretch out (one's arms etc.). --n. 1 a any organization's
involvement with or influence in the community, esp. in the
context of social welfare. b the extent of this. 2 the extent
or length of reaching out (an outreach of 38 metres).
n. Brit. hist. assistance given to very poor people not
living in a workhouse etc.; outdoor relief.
outride v.tr. (past -rode; past part. -ridden) 1 ride better, faster,
or further than. 2 (of a ship) come safely through (a storm
outrider n. 1 a mounted attendant riding ahead of, or with, a carriage
etc. 2 a motor cyclist acting as a guard in a similar manner.
3 US a herdsman keeping cattle within bounds. ЬЬoutriding n.
outrigged adj. (of a boat etc.) having outriggers.
outrigger n. 1 a beam, spar, or framework, rigged out and projecting from
or over a ship's side for various purposes. 2 a similar
projecting beam etc. in a building. 3 a log etc. fixed parallel
to a canoe to stabilize it. 4 a an extension of the
splinter-bar of a carriage etc. to enable another horse to be
harnessed outside the shafts. b a horse harnessed in this way.
5 a an iron bracket bearing a rowlock attached horizontally to a
boat's side to increase the leverage of the oar. b a boat
fitted with these. [OUT- + RIG(1): perh. partly after obs.
outright adv. & adj. --adv. 1 altogether, entirely (proved outright).
2 not gradually, nor by degrees, nor by instalments (bought it
outright). 3 without reservation, openly (denied the charge
outright). --adj. 1 downright, direct, complete (their
resentment turned to outright anger). 2 undisputed, clear (the
outright winner). ЬЬoutrightness n.
outrival v.tr. (-rivalled, -rivalling; US -rivaled, -rivaling) outdo as
outrode past of OUTRIDE.
outrun v. & n. --v.tr. (-running; past -ran; past part. -run) 1 a
run faster or farther than. b escape from. 2 go beyond (a
specified point or limit). --n. Austral. a sheep-run distant
from its homestead.
outrush n. 1 a rushing out. 2 a violent overflow.
outsail v.tr. sail better or faster than.
outsat past and past part. of OUTSIT.
outsell v.tr. (past and past part. -sold) 1 sell more than. 2 be sold
in greater quantities than.
outset n. the start, beginning. Ьat (or from) the outset from the
outshine v.tr. (past and past part. -shone) shine brighter than;
surpass in ability, excellence, etc.
outshoot v.tr. (past and past part. -shot) 1 shoot better or further
than (another person). 2 esp. US score more goals, points,
etc. than (another player or team).
outside n., adj., adv., & prep. --n. 1 the external side or surface;
the outer parts (painted blue on the outside). 2 the external
appearance; the outward aspect of a building etc. 3 (of a path)
the side away from the wall or next to the road. 4 (also
attrib.) all that is without; the world as distinct from the
thinking subject (learn about the outside world; viewed from the
outside the problem is simple). 5 a position on the outer side
(the gate opens from the outside). 6 colloq. the highest
computation (it is a mile at the outside). 7 an outside player
in football etc. 8 (in pl.) the outer sheets of a ream of
paper. --adj. 1 of or on or nearer the outside; outer. 2 a
not of or belonging to some circle or institution (outside help;
outside work). b (of a broker) not a member of the Stock
Exchange. 3 (of a chance etc.) remote; very unlikely. 4 (of an
estimate etc.) the greatest or highest possible (the outside
price). 5 (of a player in football etc.) positioned nearest to
the edge of the field. --adv. 1 on or to the outside. 2 in or
to the open air. 3 not within or enclosed or included. 4 sl.
not in prison. --prep. (also disp. foll. by of) 1 not in; to
or at the exterior of (meet me outside the post office). 2
external to, not included in, beyond the limits of (outside the
law). Ьat the outside (of an estimate etc.) at the most. get
outside of sl. eat or drink. outside and in outside and
inside. outside broadcast Brit. a broadcast made on location
and not in a studio. outside edge (on an ice-skate) each of the
edges facing outwards when both feet are together. outside in =
inside out. outside interest a hobby; an interest not connected
with one's work or normal way of life. outside seat a seat
nearer the end of a row. outside track the outside lane of a
sports track etc. which is longer because of the curve.
outsider n. 1 a a non-member of some circle, party, profession, etc. b
an uninitiated person, a layman. 2 a person without special
knowledge, breeding, etc., or not fit to mix with good society.
3 a competitor, applicant, etc. thought to have little chance of
outsit v.tr. (-sitting; past and past part. -sat) sit longer than
(another person or thing).
outsize adj. & n. --adj. 1 unusually large. 2 (of garments etc.) of
an exceptionally large size. --n. an exceptionally large person
or thing, esp. a garment. ЬЬoutsizeness n.
outskirts n.pl. the outer border or fringe of a town, district, subject,
outsmart v.tr. colloq. outwit, be cleverer than.
outsold past and past part. of OUTSELL.
outspan v. & n. S.Afr. --v. (-spanned, -spanning) 1 tr. (also absol.)
unharness (animals) from a cart, plough, etc. 2 intr. break a
wagon journey. --n. a place for grazing or encampment. [S.Afr.
Du. uitspannen unyoke]
outspend v.tr. (past and past part. -spent) spend more than (one's
resources or another person).
outspoken adj. given to or involving plain speaking; frank in stating
one's opinions. ЬЬoutspokenly adv. outspokenness n.
outspread adj. & v. --adj. spread out; fully extended or expanded.
--v.tr. & intr. (past and past part. -spread) spread out;
adj. 1 a conspicuous, eminent, esp. because of excellence. b
(usu. foll. by at, in) remarkable in (a specified field). 2
(esp. of a debt) not yet settled (њ200 still outstanding).
outstare v.tr. 1 outdo in staring. 2 abash by staring.
n. 1 a branch of an organization, enterprise, or business in a
remote area or at a considerable distance from headquarters. 2
esp. Austral. & NZ part of a farming estate separate from the
outstay v.tr. 1 stay beyond the limit of (one's welcome, invitation,
etc.). 2 stay or endure longer than (another person etc.).
outstep v.tr. (-stepped, -stepping) step outside or beyond.
v.tr. 1 (usu. as outstretched adj.) reach out or stretch out
(esp. one's hands or arms). 2 reach or stretch further than.
outstrip v.tr. (-stripped, -stripping) 1 pass in running etc. 2 surpass
in competition or relative progress or ability.
n. a ball that swings away from the batsman.
out-take n. a length of film or tape rejected in editing.
out-talk v.tr. outdo or overcome in talking.
out-think v.tr. (past and past part. -thought) outwit; outdo in
adj., v., & n. --adj. extended; projected (ran forward with
out-thrust arms). --v.tr. (past and past part. -thrust)
thrust out. --n. 1 the act or an instance of thrusting
forcibly outward. 2 the act or an instance of becoming
prominent or noticeable.
out-top v.tr. (-topped, -topping) surmount, surpass in height, extent,
out-tray n. a tray for outgoing documents, letters, etc.
out-turn n. 1 the quantity produced. 2 the result of a process or
sequence of events.
outvalue v.tr. (-values, -valued, -valuing) be of greater value than.
outvote v.tr. defeat by a majority of votes.
outwalk v.tr. 1 outdo in walking. 2 walk beyond.
outward adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 situated on or directed towards the
outside. 2 going out (on the outward voyage). 3 bodily,
external, apparent, superficial (in all outward respects). 4
archaic outer (the outward man). --adv. (also outwards) in an
outward direction; towards the outside. --n. the outward
appearance of something; the exterior. Ьoutward bound 1 (of a
ship, passenger, etc.) going away from home. 2 (Outward Bound)
(in the UK) a movement to provide adventure training, naval
training, and other outdoor activities for young people.
outward form appearance. outward things the world around us.
to outward seeming apparently. ЬЬoutwardly adv. [OE utweard
(as OUT, -WARD)]
n. 1 external existence; objectivity. 2 an interest or belief
in outward things, objective-mindedness.
outwards var. of OUTWARD adv.
outwash n. the material carried from a glacier by melt water and
deposited beyond the moraine.
outwatch v.tr. 1 watch more than or longer than. 2 archaic keep awake
beyond the end of (night etc.).
outwear v. & n. --v.tr. (past -wore; past part. -worn) 1 exhaust;
wear out; wear away. 2 live or last beyond the duration of. 3
(as outworn adj.) out of date, obsolete. --n. outer clothing.
outweigh v.tr. exceed in weight, value, importance, or influence.
outwent past of OUTGO.
outwit v.tr. (-witted, -witting) be too clever or crafty for; deceive
by greater ingenuity.
outwith prep. Sc. outside, beyond.
outwore past of OUTWEAR.
outwork n. 1 an advanced or detached part of a fortification. 2 work
done outside the shop or factory which supplies it. ЬЬoutworker
n. (in sense 2).
outworn past part. of OUTWEAR.
ouzel n. (also ousel) 1 = ring ouzel (see RING(1)). 2 = water ouzel.
3 archaic a blackbird. [OE osle blackbird, of unkn. orig.]
ouzo n. (pl. -os) a Greek aniseed-flavoured spirit. [mod.Gk]
oval adj. & n. --adj. 1 egg-shaped, ellipsoidal. 2 having the
outline of an egg, elliptical. --n. 1 an egg-shaped or
elliptical closed curve. 2 any object with an oval outline. 3
Austral. a ground for Australian Rules football. ЬOval Office
the office of the US President in the White House. ЬЬovality n.
ovally adv. ovalness n. [med.L ovalis (as OVUM)]
ovary n. (pl. -ies) 1 each of the female reproductive organs in
which ova are produced. 2 the hollow base of the carpel of a
flower, containing one or more ovules. ЬЬovarian adj.
ovariectomy n. (pl. -ies) (in sense 1). ovariotomy n. (pl.
-ies) (in sense 1). ovaritis n. (in sense 1). [mod.L ovarium
ovate adj. Biol. egg-shaped as a solid or in outline; oval. [L
ovatus (as OVUM)]
ovation n. 1 an enthusiastic reception, esp. spontaneous and sustained
applause. 2 Rom. Antiq. a lesser form of triumph. Ьstanding
ovation prolonged applause during which the crowd or audience
rise to their feet. ЬЬovational adj. [L ovatio f. ovare
oven n. 1 an enclosed compartment of brick, stone, or metal for
cooking food. 2 a chamber for heating or drying. 3 a small
furnace or kiln used in chemistry, metallurgy, etc. Ьoven-ready
(of food) prepared before sale so as to be ready for immediate
cooking in the oven. [OE ofen f. Gmc]
ovenbird n. any Central or S. American bird of the family Furnariidae,
many of which make domed nests.
ovenproof adj. suitable for use in an oven; heat-resistant.
ovenware n. dishes that can be used for cooking food in the oven.
over adv., prep., n., & adj. --adv. expressing movement or position
or state above or beyond something stated or implied: 1 outward
and downward from a brink or from any erect position (knocked
the man over). 2 so as to cover or touch a whole surface (paint
it over). 3 so as to produce a fold, or reverse a position;
with the effect of being upside down. 4 a across a street or
other space (decided to cross over; came over from America). b
for a visit etc. (invited them over last night). 5 with
transference or change from one hand or part to another (went
over to the enemy; swapped them over). 6 with motion above
something; so as to pass across something (climb over; fly over;
boil over). 7 from beginning to end with repetition or detailed
concentration (think it over; did it six times over). 8 in
excess; more than is right or required (left over). 9 for or
until a later time (hold it over). 10 at an end; settled (the
crisis is over; all is over between us). 11 (in full over to
you) (as int.) (in radio conversations etc.) said to indicate
that it is the other person's turn to speak. 12 (as int.)
Cricket an umpire's call to change ends. --prep. 1 above, in,
or to a position higher than; upon. 2 out and down from; down
from the edge of (fell over the cliff). 3 so as to cover (a hat
over his eyes). 4 above and across; so as to clear (flew over
the North Pole; a bridge over the Thames). 5 concerning;
engaged with; as a result of; while occupied with (laughed over
a good joke; fell asleep over the newspaper). 6 a in
superiority of; superior to; in charge of (a victory over the
enemy; reign over three kingdoms). b in preference to. 7
divided by. 8 a throughout; covering the extent of (travelled
over most of Africa; a blush spread over his face). b so as to
deal with completely (went over the plans). 9 a for the
duration of (stay over Saturday night). b at any point during
the course of (I'll do it over the weekend). 10 beyond; more
than (bids of over њ50; are you over 18?). 11 transmitted by
(heard it over the radio). 12 in comparison with (gained 20%
over last year). 13 having recovered from (am now over my cold;
will get over it in time). --n. Cricket 1 a sequence of balls
(now usu. six), bowled from one end of the pitch. 2 play
resulting from this (a maiden over). --adj. (see also OVER-).
1 upper, outer. 2 superior. 3 extra. Ьbegin (or start etc.)
over US begin again. get it over with do or undergo something
unpleasant etc. so as to be rid of it. give over (usu. as int.)
colloq. stop talking. not over not very; not at all (not over
friendly). over again once again, again from the beginning.
over against in an opposite situation to; adjacent to, in
contrast with. over-age over a certain age limit. over all
taken as a whole. over and above in addition to; not to mention
(њ100 over and above the asking price). over and over so that
the same thing or the same point comes up again and again (said
it over and over; rolled it over and over). over the fence
Austral. & NZ sl. unreasonable; unfair; indecent. over one's
head see HEAD. over the hill see HILL. over the moon see MOON.
over-the-top colloq. (esp. of behaviour, dress, etc.)
outrageous, excessive. over the way (in a street etc.) facing
or opposite. [OE ofer f. Gmc]
over- prefix added to verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, meaning:
1 excessively; to an unwanted degree (overheat; overdue). 2
upper, outer, extra (overcoat; overtime). 3 'over' in various
senses (overhang; overshadow). 4 completely, utterly (overawe;
adj. in excessive quantity. ЬЬover-abound v.intr.
over-abundance n. over-abundantly adv.
v. 1 intr. do more than might be expected (esp.
scholastically). 2 tr. achieve more than (an expected goal or
objective etc.). ЬЬoverachievement n. overachiever n.
overact v.tr. & intr. act in an exaggerated manner.
adj. excessively active. ЬЬover-activity n.
overage n. a surplus or excess, esp. an amount greater than estimated.
overall adj., adv., & n. --adj. 1 from end to end (overall length). 2
total, inclusive of all (overall cost). --adv. in all parts;
taken as a whole (overall, the performance was excellent). --n.
1 Brit. an outer garment worn to keep out dirt, wet, etc. 2 (in
pl.) protective trousers, dungarees, or a combination suit, worn
by workmen etc. 3 Brit. close-fitting trousers worn as part of
army uniform. ЬЬoveralled adj.
adj. excessively ambitious. ЬЬoverambition n. overambitiously
adj. excessively anxious. ЬЬover-anxiety n. over-anxiously
overarch v.tr. form an arch over. ЬЬoverarching adj.
overarm adj. & adv. 1 Cricket & Tennis etc. with the hand above the
shoulder (bowl it overarm; an overarm service). 2 Swimming with
one or both arms lifted out of the water during a stroke.
overate past of OVEREAT.
overawe v.tr. 1 restrain by awe. 2 keep in awe.
v. & n. --v. 1 tr. cause (a person or thing) to lose its
balance and fall. 2 intr. fall over, capsize. 3 tr. outweigh.
--n. 1 an excess. 2 the amount of this.
overbear v.tr. (past -bore; past part. -borne) 1 (as overbearing adj.)
a domineering, masterful. b overpowering. 2 bear down; upset
by weight, force, or emotional pressure. 3 put down or repress
by power or authority. 4 surpass in importance etc., outweigh.
ЬЬoverbearingly adv. overbearingness n.
overbid v. & n. --v. (-bidding; past and past part. -bid) 1 tr. make
a higher bid than. 2 tr. (also absol.) Bridge a bid more on
(one's hand) than warranted. b overcall. --n. a bid that is
higher than another, or higher than is justified. ЬЬoverbidder
n. a garment like a blouse, but worn without tucking it into a
skirt or trousers.
overblown adj. 1 excessively inflated or pretentious. 2 (of a flower or
a woman's beauty etc.) past its prime.
overboard adv. from on a ship into the water (fall overboard). Ьgo
overboard 1 be highly enthusiastic. 2 behave immoderately; go
too far. throw overboard abandon, discard.
overbold adj. excessively bold.
overbook v.tr. (also absol.) make too many bookings for (an aircraft,
overboot n. a boot worn over another boot or shoe.
overbore past of OVERBEAR.
overborne past part. of OVERBEAR.
past and past part. of OVERBUY.
overbrim v. (-brimmed, -brimming) 1 tr. flow over the brim of. 2 intr.
(of a vessel or liquid) overflow at the brim.
overbuild v.tr. (past and past part. -built) 1 build over or upon. 2
place too many buildings on (land etc.).
v. & n. --v.tr. burden (a person, thing, etc.) to excess. --n.
1 rock etc. that must be removed prior to mining the mineral
deposit beneath it. 2 an excessive burden. ЬЬoverburdensome
overbusy adj. excessively busy.
overbuy v.tr. & intr. (past and past part. -bought) buy (a commodity
etc.) in excess of immediate need.
overcall v. & n. --v.tr. (also absol.) Bridge 1 make a higher bid than
(a previous bid or opponent). 2 Brit. = OVERBID v. 2a. --n.
an act or instance of overcalling.
overcame past of OVERCOME.
n. a state of saturation or an excess of productive capacity.
v.tr. (also -ise) fix or estimate the capital of (a company
etc.) too high.
overcast adj., v., & n. --adj. 1 (of the sky, weather, etc.) covered
with cloud; dull and gloomy. 2 (in sewing) edged with stitching
to prevent fraying. --v.tr. (past and past part. -cast) 1
cover (the sky etc.) with clouds or darkness. 2 stitch over (a
raw edge etc.) to prevent fraying. --n. a cloud covering part
of the sky.
adj. excessively cautious. ЬЬovercaution n. overcautiously
adv. overcautiousness n.
v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a charge too high a price to (a person) or
for (a thing). b charge (a specified sum) beyond the right
price. 2 put too much charge into (a battery, gun, etc.). 3
put exaggerated or excessive detail into (a description,
picture, etc.). --n. an excessive charge (of explosive, money,
overcheck n. 1 a combination of two different-sized check patterns. 2 a
cloth with this pattern.
overcloud v.tr. 1 cover with cloud. 2 mar, spoil, or dim, esp. as the
result of anxiety etc. (overclouded by uncertainties). 3 make
overcoat n. 1 a heavy coat, esp. one worn over indoor clothes for warmth
outdoors in cold weather. 2 a protective coat of paint etc.
overcome v. (past -came; past part. -come) 1 tr. prevail over, master,
conquer. 2 tr. (as overcome adj.) a exhausted, made helpless.
b (usu. foll. by with, by) affected by (emotion etc.). 3 intr.
be victorious. [OE ofercuman (as OVER-, COME)]
v. 1 tr. (usu. foll. by for) compensate excessively for
(something). 2 intr. Psychol. strive for power etc. in an
exaggerated way, esp. to make allowance or amends for a real or
fancied grievance, defect, handicap, etc. ЬЬovercompensation n.
adj. excessively confident. ЬЬoverconfidence n.
overcook v.tr. cook too much or for too long. ЬЬovercooked adj.
adj. excessively critical; quick to find fault.
overcrop v.tr. (-cropped, -cropping) exhaust (the land) by the
continuous growing of crops.
overcrowd v.tr. fill (a space, object, etc.) beyond what is usual or
comfortable. ЬЬovercrowding n.
adj. excessively curious. ЬЬover-curiosity n. over-curiously
adj. excessively delicate. ЬЬover-delicacy n.
v.tr. (-developed, -developing) 1 develop too much. 2 Photog.
treat with developer for too long.
overdo v.tr. (3rd sing. present -does; past -did; past part. -done) 1
carry to excess, go too far, exaggerate (I think you overdid the
sarcasm). 2 (esp. as overdone adj.) overcook. Ьoverdo it (or
things) exhaust oneself. [OE oferdon (as OVER-, DO(1))]
overdose n. & v. --n. an excessive dose (of a drug etc.). --v.tr. give
an excessive dose of (a drug etc.) or to (a person).
overdraft n. 1 a deficit in a bank account caused by drawing more money
than is credited to it. 2 the amount of this.
overdraw v. (past -drew; past part. -drawn) 1 tr. a draw a sum of
money in excess of the amount credited to (one's bank account).
b (as overdrawn adj.) having overdrawn one's account. 2 intr.
overdraw one's account. 3 tr. exaggerate in describing or
depicting. ЬЬoverdrawer n. (in senses 1 & 2).
overdress v. & n. --v. 1 tr. dress with too much display or formality.
2 intr. overdress oneself. --n. a dress worn over another
dress or a blouse etc.
overdrink v.intr. & refl. (past -drank; past part. -drunk) drink too
overdrive n. 1 a a mechanism in a motor vehicle providing a gear ratio
higher than that of the usual gear. b an additional
speed-increasing gear. 2 (usu. prec. by in, into) a state of
high or excessive activity.
overdub v. & n. --v.tr. (-dubbed, -dubbing) (also absol.) impose
(additional sounds) on an existing recording. --n. the act or
an instance of overdubbing.
overdue adj. 1 past the time when due or ready. 2 not yet paid,
arrived, born, etc., though after the expected time. 3 (of a
library book etc.) retained longer than the period allowed.
overeager adj. excessively eager. ЬЬovereagerly adv. overeagerness n.
overeat v.intr. & refl. (past -ate; past part. -eaten) eat too much.
n. excessive emphasis. ЬЬoveremphasize v.tr. & intr. (also
n. excessive enthusiasm. ЬЬoverenthusiastic adj.
v. & n. --v.tr. (also absol.) form too high an estimate of (a
person, ability, cost, etc.). --n. too high an estimate.
v.tr. excite excessively. ЬЬoverexcitement n.
v. & n. --v. 1 tr. use or exert (a part of the body, one's
authority, etc.) too much. 2 intr. take too much exercise;
overexert oneself. --n. excessive exercise.
overexert v.tr. & refl. exert too much. ЬЬoverexertion n.
v.tr. (also absol.) 1 expose too much, esp. to the public eye.
2 Photog. expose (film) for too long a time. ЬЬoverexposure n.
v.tr. 1 extend (a thing) too far. 2 (also refl.) take on
(oneself) or impose on (another person) an excessive burden of
overfall n. 1 a turbulent stretch of sea etc. caused by a strong current
or tide over a submarine ridge, or by a meeting of currents. 2
a place provided on a dam, weir, etc. for the overflow of
adj. excessively familiar.
n. excessive fatigue.
overfeed v.tr. (past and past part. -fed) feed excessively.
overfill v.tr. & intr. fill to excess or to overflowing.
overfine adj. excessively fine; too precise.
overfish v.tr. deplete (a stream etc.) by too much fishing.
overflow v. & n. --v. 1 tr. a flow over (the brim, limits, etc.). b
flow over the brim or limits of. 2 intr. a (of a receptacle
etc.) be so full that the contents overflow it (until the cup
was overflowing). b (of contents) overflow a container. 3 tr.
(of a crowd etc.) extend beyond the limits of (a room etc.). 4
tr. flood (a surface or area). 5 intr. (foll. by with) be full
of. 6 intr. (of kindness, a harvest, etc.) be very abundant.
--n. (also attrib.) 1 what overflows or is superfluous (mop up
the overflow; put the overflow audience in another room). 2 an
instance of overflowing (overflow occurs when both systems are
run together). 3 (esp. in a bath or sink) an outlet for excess
water etc. 4 Computing the generation of a number having more
digits than the assigned location. Ьoverflow meeting a meeting
for those who cannot be accommodated at the main gathering. [OE
oferflowan (as OVER-, FLOW)]
overfly v.tr. (-flies; past -flew; past part. -flown) fly over or
beyond (a place or territory). ЬЬoverflight n.
overfold n. a series of strata folded so that the middle part is upside
overfond adj. (often foll. by of) having too great an affection or
liking (for a person or thing) (overfond of chocolate; an
overfond parent). ЬЬoverfondly adv. overfondness n.
v.tr. (US -fulfill) (-fulfilled, -fulfilling) fulfil (a plan,
quota, etc.) beyond expectation or before the appointed time.
overfull adj. filled excessively or to overflowing.
v. (also -ise) 1 intr. draw general conclusions from inadequate
data etc. 2 intr. argue more widely than is justified by the
available evidence, by circumstances, etc. 3 tr. draw an
over-general conclusion from (data, circumstances, etc.).
overglaze n. & adj. --n. 1 a second glaze applied to ceramic ware. 2
decoration on a glazed surface. --adj. (of painting etc.) done
on a glazed surface.
adj. 1 raised above the ground. 2 not underground.
overgrow v.tr. (past -grew; past part. -grown) 1 (as overgrown adj.) a
abnormally large (a great overgrown child). b wild; grown over
with vegetation (an overgrown pond). 2 grow over, overspread,
esp. so as to choke (nettles have overgrown the pathway). 3
grow too big for (one's strength etc.). ЬЬovergrowth n.
overhand adj. & adv. 1 (in cricket, tennis, baseball, etc.) thrown or
played with the hand above the shoulder. 2 Swimming = OVERARM.
3 a with the palm of the hand downward or inward. b with the
hand above the object held. Ьoverhand knot a simple knot made
by forming a loop and passing the free end through it.
overhang v. & n. --v. (past and past part. -hung) 1 tr. & intr.
project or hang over. 2 tr. menace, preoccupy, threaten. --n.
1 the overhanging part of a structure or rock-formation. 2 the
amount by which this projects.
overhaste n. excessive haste. ЬЬoverhasty adj. overhastily adv.
overhaul v. & n. --v.tr. 1 a take to pieces in order to examine. b
examine the condition of (and repair if necessary). 2 overtake.
--n. a thorough examination, with repairs if necessary. [orig.
Naut., = release (rope-tackle) by slackening]
overhead adv., adj., & n. --adv. 1 above one's head. 2 in the sky or
in the storey above. --adj. 1 (of a driving mechanism etc.)
above the object driven. 2 (of expenses) arising from general
running costs, as distinct from particular business
transactions. --n. (in pl. or US in sing.) overhead expenses.
overhear v.tr. (past and past part. -heard) (also absol.) hear as an
eavesdropper or as an unperceived or unintentional listener.
overheat v. 1 tr. & intr. make or become too hot; heat to excess. 2 tr.
(as overheated adj.) too passionate about a matter.
v.tr. & intr. indulge to excess. ЬЬoverindulgence n.
v.tr. insure (property etc.) for more than its real value;
insure excessively. ЬЬoverinsurance n.
overissue v. & n. --v.tr. (-issues, -issued, -issuing) issue (notes,
shares, etc.) beyond the authorized amount, or the ability to
pay. --n. the notes, shares, etc., or the amount so issued.
overjoyed adj. (often foll. by at, to hear, etc.) filled with great joy.
overkill n. & v. --n. 1 the amount by which destruction or the capacity
for destruction exceeds what is necessary for victory or
annihilation. 2 excess; excessive behaviour. --v.tr. & intr.
kill or destroy to a greater extent than necessary.
overladen adj. bearing or carrying too large a load.
overlaid past and past part. of OVERLAY(1).
overlain past part. of OVERLIE.
overland adj., adv., & v. --adj. & adv. also 1 by land. 2 not by sea.
--v. Austral. 1 tr. drive (livestock) overland. 2 intr. go a
long distance overland.
n. Austral. & NZ 1 a person who drives livestock overland. 2
sl. a tramp, a sundowner.
overlap v. & n. --v. (-lapped, -lapping) 1 tr. (of part of an object)
partly cover (another object). 2 tr. cover and extend beyond.
3 intr. (of two things) partly coincide; not be completely
separate (where psychology and philosophy overlap). --n. 1 an
instance of overlapping. 2 the amount of this.
adj. too large.
v. & n. --v.tr. (past and past part. -laid) 1 lay over. 2
(foll. by with) cover the surface of (a thing) with (a coating
etc.). 3 overlie. --n. 1 a thing laid over another. 2 (in
printing, mapreading, etc.) a transparent sheet to be
superimposed on another sheet. 3 Computing a the process of
transferring a block of data etc. to replace what is already
stored. b a section so transferred. 4 a coverlet, small
past of OVERLIE.
overleaf adv. on the other side of the leaf (of a book) (see the diagram
overleap v.tr. (past and past part. -leaped or -leapt) 1 leap over,
surmount. 2 omit, ignore. [OE oferhleapan (as OVER, LEAP)]
overlie v.tr. (-lying; past -lay; past part. -lain) 1 lie on top of.
2 smother (a child etc.) by lying on top.
overload v. & n. --v.tr. load excessively; force (a person, thing,
etc.) beyond normal or reasonable capacity. --n. an excessive
quantity; a demand etc. which surpasses capability or capacity.
over-long adj. & adv. too or excessively long.
overlook v. & n. --v.tr. 1 fail to notice; ignore, condone (an offence
etc.). 2 have a view from above, be higher than. 3 supervise,
oversee. 4 bewitch with the evil eye. --n. US a commanding
position or view. ЬЬoverlooker n.
overlord n. a supreme lord. ЬЬoverlordship n.
overly adv. esp. US & Sc. excessively; too.
overlying pres. part. of OVERLIE.
overman v. & n. --v.tr. (-manned, -manning) provide with too large a
crew, staff, etc. --n. (pl. -men) 1 an overseer in a
colliery. 2 Philos. = SUPERMAN.
n. ornamental shelves etc. over a mantelpiece.
over-many adj. too many; an excessive number.
v.tr. master completely, conquer. ЬЬovermastering adj.
overmatch v.tr. be more than a match for; defeat by superior strength
n. an amount beyond what is proper or sufficient.
over-much adv. & adj. --adv. to too great an extent; excessively. --adj.
over-nice adj. excessively fussy, punctilious, particular, etc.
ЬЬover-niceness n. over-nicety n.
overnight adv. & adj. --adv. 1 for the duration of a night (stay
overnight). 2 during the course of a night. 3 suddenly,
immediately (the situation changed overnight). --adj. 1 for
use overnight (an overnight bag). 2 done etc. overnight (an
n. 1 a person who stops at a place overnight. 2 an overnight
overpaid past and past part. of OVERPAY.
adj. Theatr. having too demanding a part to play; cast beyond
adj. excessively particular or fussy.
overpass n. & v. --n. a road or railway line that passes over another
by means of a bridge. --v.tr. 1 pass over or across or beyond.
2 get to the end of; surmount. 3 (as overpassed or overpast
adj.) that has gone by, past.
overpay v.tr. (past and past part. -paid) recompense (a person,
service, etc.) too highly. ЬЬoverpayment n.
overpitch v.tr. 1 Cricket bowl (a ball) so that it pitches or would pitch
too near the stumps. 2 exaggerate.
overplay v.tr. play (a part) to excess; give undue importance to;
overemphasize. Ьoverplay one's hand 1 be unduly optimistic
about one's capabilities. 2 spoil a good case by exaggerating
overplus n. a surplus, a superabundance. [ME, partial transl. of AF
surplus or med.L su(pe)rplus]
adj. having too large a population. ЬЬoverpopulation n.
overpower v.tr. 1 reduce to submission, subdue. 2 make (a thing)
ineffective or imperceptible by greater intensity. 3 (of heat,
emotion, etc.) be too intense for, overwhelm. ЬЬoverpowering
adj. overpoweringly adv.
overprice v.tr. price (a thing) too highly.
overprint v. & n. --v.tr. 1 print further matter on (a surface already
printed, esp. a postage stamp). 2 print (further matter) in
this way. 3 Photog. print (a positive) darker than was
intended. 4 (also absol.) print too many copies of (a work).
--n. 1 the words etc. overprinted. 2 an overprinted postage
tr. (usu. absol.) 1 produce more of (a commodity) than is
wanted. 2 produce to an excessive degree. ЬЬoverproduction n.
overproof adj. containing more alcohol than proof spirit does.
adj. too highly qualified (esp. for a particular job etc.).
overran past of OVERRUN.
overrate v.tr. assess too highly.
overreach v.tr. circumvent, outwit; get the better of by cunning or
artifice. Ьoverreach oneself 1 strain oneself by reaching too
far. 2 defeat one's object by going too far.
overreact v.intr. respond more forcibly etc. than is justified.
v.tr. (also absol.) 1 refine too much. 2 make too subtle
distinctions in (an argument etc.).
override v. & n. --v.tr. (past -rode; past part. -ridden) 1 have or
claim precedence or superiority over (an overriding
consideration). 2 a intervene and make ineffective. b
interrupt the action of (an automatic device) esp. to take
manual control. 3 a trample down or underfoot. b supersede
arrogantly. 4 extend over, esp. (of a part of a fractured bone)
overlap (another part). 5 ride over (enemy country). 6 exhaust
(a horse etc.) by hard riding. --n. 1 the action or process of
suspending an automatic function. 2 a device for this.
overrider n. Brit. each of a pair of projecting pieces on the bumper of
overripe adj. (esp. of fruit etc.) past its best; excessively ripe;
overrode past of OVERRIDE.
overruff v. & n. --v.tr. (also absol.) overtrump. --n. an instance of
overrule v.tr. 1 set aside (a decision, argument, proposal, etc.) by
exercising a superior authority. 2 annul a decision by or
reject a proposal of (a person) in this way.
overrun v. & n. --v.tr. (-running; past -ran; past part. -run) 1 (of
vermin, weeds, etc.) swarm or spread over. 2 conquer or ravage
(territory) by force. 3 (of time, expenditure, production,
etc.) exceed (a fixed limit). 4 Printing carry over (a word
etc.) to the next line or page. 5 Mech. rotate faster than. 6
flood (land). --n. 1 an instance of overrunning. 2 the amount
of this. 3 the movement of a vehicle at a speed greater than is
imparted by the engine. [OE oferyrnan (as OVER-, RUN)]
adj. (of a part of a building) projecting beyond what is below.
[OVER + F saillir SALLY(1)]
oversaw past of OVERSEE.
adj. excessively scrupulous or particular.
overseas adv. & adj. --adv. (also oversea) abroad (was sent overseas
for training; came back from overseas). --adj. (also oversea)
1 foreign; across or beyond the sea. 2 of or connected with
movement or transport over the sea (overseas postage rates).
oversee v.tr. (-sees; past -saw; past part. -seen) officially
supervise (workers, work, etc.). [OE oferseon look at from
above (as OVER-, SEE(1))]
overseer n. a person who supervises others, esp. workers. Ьoverseer of
the poor Brit. hist. a parish official who administered funds
to the poor. [OVERSEE]
oversell v.tr. (past and past part. -sold) (also absol.) 1 sell more of
(a commodity etc.) than one can deliver. 2 exaggerate the
adj. excessively sensitive; easily hurt by, or too quick to
react to, outside influences. ЬЬover-sensitiveness n.
overset v.tr. (-setting; past and past part. -set) 1 overturn, upset.
2 Printing set up (type) in excess of the available space.
oversew v.tr. (past part. -sewn or -sewed) 1 sew (two edges) with
every stitch passing over the join. 2 join the sections of (a
book) by a stitch of this type.
oversexed adj. having unusually strong sexual desires.
v.tr. 1 appear much more prominent or important than. 2 cast
into the shade; shelter from the sun. [OE ofersceadwian (as
overshoe n. a shoe of rubber, felt, etc., worn over another as
protection from wet, cold, etc.
overshoot v. & n. --v.tr. (past and past part. -shot) 1 pass or send
beyond (a target or limit). 2 (of an aircraft) fly beyond or
taxi too far along (the runway) when landing or taking off.
--n. 1 the act of overshooting. 2 the amount of this.
Ьovershoot the mark go beyond what is intended or proper; go too
far. overshot wheel a waterwheel operated by the weight of
water falling into buckets attached to its periphery.
overside adv. over the side of a ship (into a smaller boat, or into the
oversight n. 1 a failure to notice something. 2 an inadvertent mistake.
v.tr. (-ies, -ied) (also absol.) distort (a problem etc.) by
stating it in too simple terms. ЬЬoversimplification n.
oversize adj. (also -sized) of more than the usual size.
overskirt n. an outer or second skirt.
n. & v. --n. Brit. Mil. the passing over of one's turn of
duty. --v.tr. 1 Brit. Mil. pass over (one's duty) in
consideration of another duty that takes precedence. 2 US pass
over in favour of another. 3 US omit to consider. [Du.
overslag (n.) f. overslaan omit (as OVER, slaan strike)]
oversleep v.intr. & refl. (past and past part. -slept) 1 continue
sleeping beyond the intended time of waking. 2 sleep too long.
n. a protective sleeve covering an ordinary sleeve.
oversold past and past part. of OVERSELL.
adj. excessively worried, anxious, eager, etc.
oversoul n. God as a spirit animating the universe and including all
v.intr. (also -ise) concentrate too much on one aspect or area.
overspend v. (past and past part. -spent) 1 intr. & refl. spend too
much. 2 tr. spend more than (a specified amount).
overspill n. 1 what is spilt over or overflows. 2 the surplus population
leaving a country or city to live elsewhere.
v.tr. (past and past part. -spread) 1 become spread or
diffused over. 2 cover or occupy the surface of. 3 (as
overspread adj.) (usu. foll. by with) covered (high mountains
overspread with trees). [OE oferspr‘dan (as OVER-, SPREAD)]
overstaff v.tr. provide with too large a staff.
overstate v.tr. 1 state (esp. a case or argument) too strongly. 2
exaggerate. ЬЬoverstatement n.
overstay v.tr. stay longer than (one's welcome, a time limit, etc.).
oversteer v. & n. --v.intr. (of a motor vehicle) have a tendency to turn
more sharply than was intended. --n. this tendency.
overstep v.tr. (-stepped, -stepping) 1 pass beyond (a boundary or mark).
2 violate (certain standards of behaviour etc.).
overstock v.tr. stock excessively.
v.tr. strain too much.
v. & n. --v.tr. stress too much. --n. an excessive degree of
v.tr. 1 stretch too much. 2 (esp. as overstretched adj.) make
excessive demands on (resources, a person, etc.).
adj. 1 (of a person, disposition, etc.) intensely strained,
highly strung. 2 (of a piano) with strings in sets crossing
each other obliquely.
overstudy v.tr. (-ies, -ied) 1 study beyond what is necessary or
desirable. 2 (as overstudied adj.) excessively deliberate;
overstuff v.tr. 1 stuff more than is necessary. 2 (as overstuffed adj.)
(of furniture) made soft and comfortable by thick upholstery.
v.tr. (usu. as oversubscribed adj.) subscribe for more than the
amount available of (a commodity offered for sale etc.) (the
offer was oversubscribed).
adj. excessively subtle; not plain or clear.
v. & n. --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) supply with too much. --n. an
adj. too susceptible or vulnerable.
overt adj. unconcealed; done openly. ЬЬovertly adv. overtness n.
[ME f. OF past part. of ovrir open f. L aperire]
overtake v.tr. (past -took; past part. -taken) 1 (also absol.) catch up
with and pass in the same direction. 2 (of a storm, misfortune,
etc.) come suddenly or unexpectedly upon. 3 become level with
and exceed (a compared value etc.).
overtask v.tr. 1 give too heavy a task to. 2 be too heavy a task for.
overtax v.tr. 1 make excessive demands on (a person's strength etc.).
2 tax too heavily.
overthrow v. & n. --v.tr. (past -threw; past part. -thrown) 1 remove
forcibly from power. 2 put an end to (an institution etc.). 3
conquer, overcome. 4 knock down, upset. --n. 1 a defeat or
downfall. 2 Cricket a a fielder's return of the ball, not
stopped near the wicket and so allowing further runs. b such a
run. 3 Archit. a panel of decorated wrought-iron work in an
arch or gateway.
n. Geol. the thrust of esp. lower strata on one side of a
fault over those on the other side.
overtime n. & adv. --n. 1 the time during which a person works at a job
in addition to the regular hours. 2 payment for this. 3 US
Sport = extra time. --adv. in addition to regular hours.
overtire v.tr. & refl. exhaust or wear out (esp. an invalid etc.).
overtone n. 1 Mus. any of the tones above the lowest in a harmonic
series. 2 a subtle or elusive quality or implication (sinister
overtones). [OVER- + TONE, after G Oberton]
overtop v.tr. (-topped, -topping) 1 be or become higher than. 2
overtrain v.tr. & intr. subject to or undergo too much (esp. athletic)
training with a consequent loss of proficiency.
overtrick n. Bridge a trick taken in excess of one's contract.
overtrump v.tr. (also absol.) play a higher trump than (another player).
overture n. 1 an orchestral piece opening an opera etc. 2 a
one-movement composition in this style. 3 (usu. in pl.) a an
opening of negotiations. b a formal proposal or offer (esp.
make overtures to). 4 the beginning of a poem etc. [ME f. OF
f. L apertura APERTURE]
overturn v. & n. --v. 1 tr. cause to fall down or over; upset. 2 tr.
reverse; subvert; abolish; invalidate. 3 intr. fall down; fall
over. --n. a subversion, an act of upsetting.
overuse v. & n. --v.tr. use too much. --n. excessive use.
overvalue v.tr. (-values, -valued, -valuing) value too highly; have too
high an opinion of.
overview n. a general survey.
adj. arrogant, presumptuous, conceited, self-confident.
ЬЬoverweeningly adv. overweeningness n.
adj., n., & v. --adj. beyond an allowed or suitable weight.
--n. excessive or extra weight; preponderance. --v.tr. (usu.
foll. by with) load unduly.
overwhelm v.tr. 1 overpower with emotion. 2 (usu. foll. by with)
overpower with an excess of business etc. 3 bring to sudden
ruin or destruction; crush. 4 bury or drown beneath a huge
mass, submerge utterly.
adj. irresistible by force of numbers, influence, amount, etc.
ЬЬoverwhelmingly adv. overwhelmingness n.
overwind v. & n. --v.tr. (past and past part. -wound) wind (a
mechanism, esp. a watch) beyond the proper stopping point. --n.
an instance of this.
v. 1 intr. (usu. foll. by at, in) spend the winter. 2 intr.
(of insects, fungi, etc.) live through the winter. 3 tr. keep
(animals, plants, etc.) alive through the winter.
overwork v. & n. --v. 1 intr. work too hard. 2 tr. cause (another
person) to work too hard. 3 tr. weary or exhaust with too much
work. 4 tr. make excessive use of. --n. excessive work.
overwound past and past part. of OVERWIND.
overwrite v. (past -wrote; past part. -written) 1 tr. write on top of
(other writing). 2 tr. Computing destroy (data) in (a file
etc.) by entering new data. 3 intr. (esp. as overwritten adj.)
write too elaborately or too ornately. 4 intr. & refl. write
too much; exhaust oneself by writing. 5 tr. write too much
about. 6 intr. (esp. as overwriting n.) in shipping insurance,
accept more risk than the premium income limits allow.
adj. 1 overexcited, nervous, distraught. 2 overdone; too
adj. too zealous in one's attitude, behaviour, etc.;
excessively enthusiastic. ЬЬoverzeal n.
ovi-(1) comb. form egg, ovum. [L ovum egg]
ovi-(2) comb. form sheep. [L ovis sheep]
ovibovine adj. & n. Zool. --adj. having characteristics intermediate
between a sheep and an ox. --n. such an animal, e.g. a musk-ox.
oviduct n. the tube through which an ovum passes from the ovary.
ЬЬoviducal adj. oviductal adj.
oviform adj. egg-shaped.
ovine adj. of or like sheep. [LL ovinus f. L ovis sheep]
oviparous adj. Zool. producing young by means of eggs expelled from the
body before they are hatched (cf. VIVIPAROUS). ЬЬoviparity n.
oviposit v.intr. (oviposited, ovipositing) lay an egg or eggs, esp. with
an ovipositor. ЬЬoviposition n. [OVI-(1) + L ponere posit- to
n. a pointed tubular organ with which a female insect deposits
her eggs. [mod.L f. OVI-(1) + L positor f. ponere posit- to
ovoid adj. & n. --adj. 1 (of a solid or of a surface) egg-shaped. 2
oval, with one end more pointed than the other. --n. an ovoid
body or surface. [F ovo‹de f. mod.L ovoides (as OVUM)]
ovolo n. (pl. ovoli) Archit. a rounded convex moulding. [It.
dimin. of ovo egg f. L OVUM]
ovotestis n. (pl. -testes) Zool. an organ producing both ova and
spermatozoa. [OVUM + TESTIS]
adj. Zool. producing young by means of eggs hatched within the
body (cf. OVIPAROUS, VIVIPAROUS). ЬЬovoviviparity n. [OVUM +
ovulate v.intr. produce ova or ovules, or discharge them from the
ovary. ЬЬovulation n. ovulatory adj. [mod.L ovulum (as
ovule n. the part of the ovary of seed plants that contains the germ
cell; an unfertilized seed. ЬЬovular adj. [F f. med.L ovulum,
dimin. of OVUM]
ovum n. (pl. ova) 1 a mature reproductive cell of female animals,
produced by the ovary. 2 the egg cell of plants. [L, = egg]
owe v.tr. 1 a be under obligation (to a person etc.) to pay or
repay (money etc.) (we owe you five pounds; owe more than I can
pay). b (absol., usu. foll. by for) be in debt (still owe for
my car). 2 (often foll. by to) render (gratitude etc., a person
honour, gratitude, etc.) (owe grateful thanks to). 3 (usu.
foll. by to) be indebted to a person or thing for (we owe to
Newton the principle of gravitation). Ьowe a person a grudge
cherish resentment against a person. owe it to oneself (often
foll. by to + infin.) need (to do) something to protect one's
own interests. [OE agan (see OUGHT(1)) f. Gmc]
owing predic.adj. 1 owed; yet to be paid (the balance owing). 2
(foll. by to) a caused by; attributable to (the cancellation was
owing to ill health). b (as prep.) because of (trains are
delayed owing to bad weather).
owl n. 1 any nocturnal bird of prey of the order Strigiformes, with
large eyes and a hooked beak, including barn owls, tawny owls,
etc. 2 colloq. a person compared to an owl, esp. in looking
solemn or wise. Ьowl-light dusk, twilight. owl-monkey (pl.
-eys) a douroucouli. ЬЬowlery n. (pl. -ies). owlish adj.
owlishly adv. owlishness n. (in sense 2). owl-like adj. [OE
ule f. Gmc]
owlet n. a small or young owl.
own adj. & v. --adj. (prec. by possessive) 1 a belonging to oneself
or itself; not another's (saw it with my own eyes). b
individual, peculiar, particular (a charm all of its own). 2
used to emphasize identity rather than possession (cooks his own
meals). 3 (absol.) a private property (is it your own?). b
kindred (among my own). --v. 1 tr. have as property; possess.
2 a tr. confess; admit as valid, true, etc. (own their faults;
owns he did not know). b intr. (foll. by to) confess to (owned
to a prejudice). 3 tr. acknowledge paternity, authorship, or
possession of. Ьcome into one's own 1 receive one's due. 2
achieve recognition. get one's own back (often foll. by on)
colloq. get revenge. hold one's own maintain one's position;
not be defeated or lose strength. of one's own belonging to
oneself alone. on one's own 1 alone. 2 independently, without
help. own brand (often attrib.) goods manufactured specially
for a retailer and bearing the retailer's name. own goal 1 a
goal scored (usu. by mistake) against the scorer's own side. 2
an act or initiative that has the unintended effect of harming
one's own interests. own up (often foll. by to) confess
frankly. ЬЬ-owned adj. (in comb.). [OE agen, agnian: see OWE]
owner n. 1 a person who owns something. 2 sl. the captain of a ship.
Ьowner-occupier a person who owns the house etc. he or she lives
in. ЬЬownerless adj. ownership n.
owt n. colloq. or dial. anything. [var. of AUGHT(1)]
ox n. (pl. oxen) 1 any bovine animal, esp. a large usu. horned
domesticated ruminant used for draught, for supplying milk, and
for eating as meat. 2 a castrated male of a domesticated
species of cattle, Bos taurus. Ьox-fence a strong fence for
keeping in cattle, consisting of railings, a hedge, and often a
ditch. ox-pecker any African bird of the genus Buphagus,
feeding on skin parasites living on animals. [OE oxa f. Gmc]
ox- var. of OXY-(2).
n. Chem. a very poisonous and sour acid found in sorrel and
rhubarb leaves. °Chem. formula: (COOH). ЬЬoxalate n. [F
oxalique f. L oxalis f. Gk oxalis wood sorrel]
oxalis n. any plant of the genus Oxalis, with trifoliate leaves and
white or pink flowers. [L f. Gk f. oxus sour]
oxbow n. 1 a U-shaped collar of an ox-yoke. 2 a a loop formed by a
horseshoe bend in a river. b a lake formed when the river cuts
across the narrow end of the loop.
Oxbridge n. Brit. 1 (also attrib.) Oxford and Cambridge universities
regarded together, esp. in contrast to newer institutions. 2
(often attrib.) the characteristics of these universities.
[portmanteau word f. Ox(ford) + (Cam) bridge]
oxen pl. of OX.
oxer n. an ox-fence.
ox-eye n. a plant with a flower like the eye of an ox. Ьox-eye daisy
n. a daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare, having flowers with white
petals and a yellow centre: also called white ox-eye. ЬЬox-eyed
Oxf. abbr. Oxford.
Oxfam abbr. Oxford Committee for Famine Relief.
n. wide baggy trousers. [Oxford in S. England]
n. & adj. --n. a dark blue, sometimes with a purple tinge.
--adj. of this colour.
n. a religious movement founded at Oxford in 1921, with
discussion of personal problems by groups.
n. an Anglican High-Church movement started in Oxford in 1833,
advocating traditional forms of worship.
oxherd n. a cowherd.
oxhide n. 1 the hide of an ox. 2 leather made from this.
oxidant n. an oxidizing agent. ЬЬoxidation n. oxidational adj.
oxidative adj. [F, part. of oxider (as OXIDE)]
oxide n. a binary compound of oxygen. [F f. oxygЉne OXYGEN + -ide
after acide ACID]
oxidize v. (also -ise) 1 intr. & tr. combine or cause to combine with
oxygen. 2 tr. & intr. cover (metal) or (of metal) become
covered with a coating of oxide; make or become rusty. 3 intr.
& tr. undergo or cause to undergo a loss of electrons.
Ьoxidized silver the popular name for silver covered with a dark
coat of silver sulphide. oxidizing agent Chem. a substance
that brings about oxidation by being reduced and gaining
electrons. ЬЬoxidizable adj. oxidization n. oxidizer n.
oxlip n. 1 a woodland primula, Primula elatior. 2 (in general use) a
natural hybrid between a primrose and a cowslip.
Oxon. abbr. 1 Oxfordshire. 2 of Oxford University or the diocese of
Oxford. [abbr. of med.L Oxoniensis f. Oxonia: see OXONIAN]
Oxonian adj. & n. --adj. of or relating to Oxford or Oxford University.
--n. 1 a member of Oxford University. 2 a native or inhabitant
of Oxford. [Oxonia Latinized name of Ox(en)ford]
oxtail n. the tail of an ox, often used in making soup.
oxter n. Sc. & N.Engl. the armpit. [OE ohsta, oxta]
oxtongue n. 1 the tongue of an ox, esp. cooked as food. 2 any composite
plant of the genus Picris, with bright yellow flowers.
oxy-(1) comb. form denoting sharpness (oxytone). [Gk oxu- f. oxus
oxy-(2) comb. form (also ox-) Chem. oxygen (oxyacetylene). [abbr.]
adj. of or using a mixture of oxygen and acetylene, esp. in
cutting or welding metals (oxyacetylene burner).
oxyacid n. Chem. an acid containing oxygen.
oxygen n. Chem. a colourless tasteless odourless gaseous element,
occurring naturally in air, water, and most minerals and organic
substances, and essential to plant and animal life. °Symb.: O.
Ьoxygen mask a mask placed over the nose and mouth to supply
oxygen for breathing. oxygen tent a tentlike enclosure
supplying a patient with air rich in oxygen. ЬЬoxygenous adj.
[F oxygЉne acidifying principle (as OXY- 2): it was at first
held to be the essential principle in the formation of acids]
oxygenate v.tr. 1 supply, treat, or mix with oxygen; oxidize. 2 charge
(blood) with oxygen by respiration. ЬЬoxygenation n. [F
oxyg‚ner (as OXYGEN)]
n. an apparatus for oxygenating the blood.
oxygenize (also -ise) v.tr. = OXYGENATE.
n. Biochem. a bright red complex formed when haemoglobin
combines with oxygen.
oxymoron n. rhet. a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory
terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him
falsely true). [Gk oxumoron neut. of oxumoros pointedly foolish
f. oxus sharp + moros foolish]
oxytocin n. 1 a hormone released by the pituitary gland that causes
increased contraction of the womb during labour and stimulates
the ejection of milk into the ducts of the breasts. 2 a
synthetic form of this used to induce labour etc. [oxytocic
accelerating parturition f. Gk oxutokia sudden delivery (as
OXY-(1), tokos childbirth)]
oxytone adj. & n. --adj. (esp. in ancient Greek) having an acute accent
on the last syllable. --n. a word of this kind. [Gk oxutonos
(as OXY-(1), tonos tone)]
oyer and terminer
n. hist. a commission issued to judges on a circuit to hold
courts. [ME f. AF oyer et terminer f. L audire hear + et and +
oyez int. (also oyes) uttered, usu. three times, by a public crier
or a court officer to command silence and attention. [ME f. AF,
OF oiez, oyez, imper. pl. of o‹r hear f. L audire]
oyster n. 1 any of various bivalve molluscs of the family Ostreidae or
Aviculidae, esp. an edible kind, Ostrea edulus, of European
waters. 2 an oyster-shaped morsel of meat in a fowl's back. 3
something regarded as containing all that one desires (the world
is my oyster). 4 (in full oyster-white) a white colour with a
grey tinge. Ьoyster-bank (or -bed) a part of the sea-bottom
where oysters breed or are bred. oyster-catcher any usu.
coastal wading bird of the genus Haematopus, with a strong
orange-coloured bill, feeding on shellfish. oyster-farm an area
of the seabed used for breeding oysters. oyster-plant 1 =
SALSIFY. 2 a blue-flowered plant, Mertensia maritima, growing
on beaches. [ME & OF oistre f. L ostrea, ostreum f. Gk ostreon]
ozocerite n. (also ozokerite) a waxlike fossil paraffin used for candles,
insulation, etc. [G Ozokerit f. Gk ozo smell + keros wax]
ozone n. 1 Chem. a colourless unstable gas with a pungent odour and
powerful oxidizing properties, used for bleaching etc. °Chem.
formula: O. 2 colloq. a invigorating air at the seaside
etc. b exhilarating influence. Ьozone-friendly (of
manufactured articles) containing chemicals that are not
destructive to the ozone layer. ozone layer a layer of ozone in
the stratosphere that absorbs most of the sun's ultraviolet
radiation. ЬЬozonic adj. ozonize v.tr. (also -ise).
ozonization n. ozonizer n. [G Ozon f. Gk, neut. pres. part. of