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Saturday, September 04, 2010

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Your little ABCD schema to cram all the 63 definitions of 'of' listed under 17 senses in the O.E.D. was very enjoyable to read.

I have been desperately searching for any study of the logic of this mighty little word "but this seems to have never been studied, and there is precious little in traditional grammar concerning it." I have only found Martin, Richard Milton's chapter X OF 'OF' in Pragmatics, truth and language which I have quoted.

I can now add your schema to the precious little that concerns this mighty little word. Thank you.

If you are interested Richard Milton Martin's chapter X OF 'OF' in Pragmatics, truth and languge is avilable on google preview.

Rob,

Yes, I found R. M. Martin's chapter online.

Can you think of any uses of 'of' that cannot be brought under one of my heads? It is a versatile little word, so I wouldn't be surprised if there are some.

Rob,

I just added an addendum that shows the inadequacy of my schema. By the way, why are you interested in this topic? I myself became interested in genitive constructions when I tried to figure out what Heidegger meant by "Being is always the Being of beings." Is the 'of' to be taken subjectively, objectively, or in both ways?

All genitives are, whether viewed historically or logically, in essence genitives of source.

Dear Sir,
May I make two inquires into your schema?

#1) "The ace of spades is the ace belonging to the spade suit."

The "spade suit" should, in my opinion, be written as the spades' suit since the suit is of the spades and belongs to the spades as a collective "circumtained" group, and not of a single spade; in practice if we were sorting cards into their respective suits, I could naturally ask you "Please Sir could you hand me the spades, clubs, hearts, or diamonds," or I could also justifiably say "I can't find the Ace of the spades' suit."
This brings up a second related point which is the Queen of hearts,
Your schema would require this to be interpreted as:

"The queen of hearts is the queen belonging to the heart suit."

But if one were to say "The heart of the Queen," then obviously this is the heart belonging to the Queen. These two interpretations are intertwined in songs such as "...playing with the Queen of hearts, knowing it isn't really smart, Joker is the only fool..." where the Queen is a woman playing with a man's heart.

My second enquiry concerns the sentence:

#2) "The set of natural numbers is the natural numbers' set."

But as your thoughtful addendum states:

"'Glass of wine' expresses a relation between a container and what it contains"

But, in my opinion, 'a set of numbers' also expresses a relation between a "container" and what it contains, the numbers belong to the set and are contained in the set, the numbers do not possess the set, as shown by the s' in "the natural numbers' set, " the set "circumtains" the numbers.

Thank you for your attention, and I will be looking forward to your reply.

Rob,

You make good points. 'The set of natural numbers' is more like 'glass of wine' than like 'wife of Tom.' The wife of Tom is Tom's wife, the wife belonging to Tom; but the set of natural numbers is not the set belonging to the natural numbers so much as it is the set containing the natural numbers.


But why are you interested in these abstruse questions? Because you want to perfect your English?

Dear Sir,

I have always had an intrinsic interest in abstuse questions; as far as this particular one goes: I once read in a pre-algebra textbook that students should be taught early, the many uses of the word 'of' in mathematics, but to my dissapointment, I found after desperately searching for any study of the logic of this mighty little word that "this seems to have never been studied, and there is precious little in traditional grammar concerning it."I have only found Martin, Richard Milton's chapter X OF 'OF' in Pragmatics, truth and language which I have quoted.

Without a proper authoritative analysis available concerning the logic of this mighty little word, anyone with little or no experience in mathematics who tries honestly to study the subject is left at the mercy of the author of the work and left guessing which of the 63 definitions classified under 17 senses is being used or abused whichever maybe the case. I have tried to clarify this "intrinsic" difficulty with the subject by using the O.E.D. and sense XIV as it applies to definition 50 because this is where I found the most mathematical examples.

My point is that this "intinsic" difficulty need not exist in the subject if the proper authoritative analysis could be found. But since "this seems to have never been studied, and there is precious little in traditional grammar concerning it" the mathematician must therefore be part logician when expressing his ideas; and the student must also have experience with the the many uses of this mighty little word.

This "intrinsic" difficulty has, in my opinion, been carried on in the subject by tradition since "there is precious little in traditional grammar concerning it" the grammarians leave the interpreation of 'of' to the logicians who have ignored it and left it to the experience of the mathematicians to use it in whatever application they are working on. But the above leaves the inexperienced student rightfully confused! and I have tried to clarify this confusion with sense XIV as it applies to definition 50 of the O.E.D. as my authoritative source of analysis.

Yours respectfully,
Rob

My answer to the second part of your question: "Because you want to perfect your English?" would be yes, my mathematical English. In my opinion the place to start would be 'of.'

The plot thickens: although we usually assume that "of" is always substitutable for apostrophe-s, consider "girls' school" (a school *for* girls, not a school *of* girls). It's pretty clear that English doesn't have a sensible way of representing the range of thematic roles associated with the "genitive". But if you're interested in the *genitive* as a grammatico-logical category, then this list (cribbed from Morwood's recent Latin grammar) would be a good start:

Possessive
Partitive ("all of the wine")
Descriptive ("be of good cheer")
Characteristic ("a mark of quality")
Value ("of no importance")

I also seem to recall certain older Latin grammars talking about "objective" genitives, with "Girls' school" being a prime example. No doubt older (Victorian or 19th c. German) textbooks would have more detail.

When people say that there is "precious little in traditional grammar concerning" the uses of "of", could it be that they have neglected the Victorian obsession with Latin grammar which was the means by which most people acquired their explicit knowledge of English grammatical rules?

Howard,

Yes indeed 'of' cannot always be substituted for apostrophe-s as 'girls' school' shows.

Consider my example 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' What interests me is the fact that 'of' is used in two different ways in its two occurrences in this sentence. As I understand the matter, the first is an instance of the genitivus objectivus whereas the second is an instance of the genitivus subjectivus. This is because the Lord is the object of fear, not its subject, whereas wisdom is the subject of beginning -- that which begins -- and not the object of beginning (whatever that might mean).

'Every consciousness is a consciousness of something.' The 'of' is ambiguous as between the subjective and objective genitive.

Would you buy that?

Perhaps the latter ambiguity is not evident. The sentence could mean that every episode of consciousness 'takes an accusative' or has an intentional object, or it could mean that every episode of consciousness belongs to a subject, a being that is conscious.

Howard Peacock wote:

" although we usually assume that "of" is always substitutable for apostrophe-s, consider "girls' school" (a school *for* girls, not a school *of* girls). "

This "prime example" shows why the apostrophe-s is restricted to a HUMAN possessor in British English; we would not say a "fishs' school" but a "school of fish" that is a school collectively containing a group consisting of fish, where the fish belong to the collection called a school.

While a "school for girls," must be a school pertaining to the education of only girls.

The first line in the O.E.D. definition of 'of,' sense XIV reads:
"OF" XIV. In the sense belonging or pertaining to; expressing possession and its converse: "the owner of the house", "the house of the owner".

ie. fish belong to a school, while the school pertains to girls express "possession and its converse." You can be King of spades, king of the swingers, King of New York, king of nerds.

But no way would this make sense as spades' king, swingers' king, New York's king, nerds' king. It is not possessed by them, but is describing itself in relation to, pertaining to . Certainly when expressing this idea you can only use the 'of' expression, never the possessive.

I am agreeing with O.E.D. that 'of' can mean both possessive or pertaining to; so not all the uses of 'of ' can be expressed using the possessives 's. ie they are different usages, where possessive 'of' has the 's option not available to other usages: king of, best of , out of, memory of etc.
But this is complicated by the fact that pertaining to will be synonymous both with relating to and belonging to.


I just thought of another "prime" example:
Beware of dog.
This can only mean Beware "with reference to" the dog ie. a wariness to towards the presence that a dangerous dog exists,
or beware for a dog exists, but not any other apostrophe-s combination.

This shows the difficulty of explaining 'of' without using 'of.'

This comes under category B of my original schema.

But if thought of under schema A, one could say that the meaning of the sign "Beware of dog" alerts the awareness of the person to possess the presence of a dog, therefore be aware of a dangerous dog.

This shows a duality:
#1) Beware "with reference to" the dog
#2) Alert your awareness "to possess" the presence of a dangerous dog.

Hi - interesting! My thoughts as follows:

@Bill - I buy the idea of an "objective" genitive, since obviously there are genitive uses which express a relational state directed towards an item, e.g. "fear of flying" or one of the readings of "consciousness of something". But I'm not convinced that there is any relevant similarity between every instance that *isn't* an "objective" genitive, such that it makes sense to group them all under the heading of "subjective". For example, possessive (My father's shoes) and partitive ("all of the pies") uses seem so clearly distinct that any adequate classification of genitive uses will mark the difference.

@Rob: (i) I suspect it's a retrograde step to use "pertaining to" in explaining different genitive uses, insofar as "pertaining to" just means something like "having something to do with". So in a sense *any* genitive use can be described as "pertaining to", but what we need to know is precisely *what kind of* relation is being ascribed: is it parthood, belonging, or some other kind of relation?

(ii) you seem to be arguing that apostrophe-s is always a "possessive" use. But surely that claim is obviously false - as "girls' school" shows. (The school is *for* girls - it does not possess them, nor do they possess it.) cf. also expressions like "the reason's proper study" (a form of enquiry appropriate *to* the reason, not belonging to it). Maybe also "The mummy's curse" - the dead Egyptian does not *own* the curse, but rather is the originator of it.

(iii) also false that apostrophe-s "must be confined to a human possessor". Where did you put the dog's bowl? The claim only sounds plausible if we add the background claim that it never makes sense to ascribe ownership to non-human animals.

(iv) the examples using "king", I guess, reflect a lexical restriction on "king" rather than anything general about "of". Why else is "New York's king" wrong but "New York's Mayor" fine? How about "New York's leading jazz club?" (The city doesn't *possess* its jazz clubs, unless things have changed a lot since I was last there.)

Rant over!
Best,
Howard

Howard,

Thanks for the 'fear of flying' example. But I wasn't lumping all non-objective uses under the subjective rubric. I did after in my original schema mention 'appositive' uses, e.g. 'city of London.'

'Of late, Sam and the son of Sam have been paralyzed by a fear of flying to the city of London.'

'Of' is a word OF remarkable versatility!

The plot thickens and begins to boil:

The 1989 edition of the OED reads:

"OF" XIV. In the sense belonging or pertaining to; expressing possession and its converse: "the owner of the house", "the house of the owner".

Formerly expressed by the genitive, and still to some extent by the possessive case (with transposition of order). The use of "of" began in Old English with senses 47, 48, expressing origin. After the Norman Conquest the example of the French "de", which had taken the place of the L. genitive, caused the gradual extension of "of" to all uses in which Old English had the genitive; the purely possessive sense was the last to be so affected, and it is that in which the genitive or "possessive" case is still chiefly used. Thus, we say the King's English, in preference to the English of the King; but the King of England in preference to England's King, which is not natural or ordinary prose English.

Part of the problem may stem from a difference between British and American English; the OED naturally describes primarily the former. One of the differences between the two national dialects is that British English is more restrictive than American English about how to use the Germanic genitive (the apostrophe-s construction which is an alternative to the "of" construction); for British English this pretty well has to be with a human possessor, so e.g. the British can say "the man's car", but they can't naturally say "the car's wheels" because a car is not a human being -- the British would say "the wheels of the car". Americans by and large, are happy to say or at least write "the car's wheels" or even, with an abstraction, "the concept's origin". In other words the process which the OED describes as beginning after the Conquest under the influence of French "de" has progressed further in Britain than in the United States. The "of" construction has become compulsory for many kinds of possessor in Britain.

Thank you for your attention.

Rob - I am British, and I can say with some certainty that there is no dialect of British English that restricts apostrophe-s either to possessors or to human possessors. My bike's wheels are Fulcrum Fives; my car's wheels are made by Saab; my cat's bowl is made of metal. In Britain we use the expressions "The Mayor of London" and "London's Mayor" interchangeably, which suggests that the phenomena surrounding "King" are peculiar to that word alone. And again, Britain is full of "Girls' Schools".

That said, I love the idea of a Britain in which a couple might pause as they leave home and one say to the other, "Have you remembered the lead of the dog? And did you top up the food of the hamster? Is the litter of the cat fresh?" I bet you won't find that even in Jane Austen!

Best,
h

Hi, I found this informative article on the web:

In English, a genitive (indicating that something possesses something else) can come before the thing possessed.

the dog's dinner
the ballot's design
In French, the common phrasing is for the genitive to follow the thing possessed:

la plume de ma tante
le bureau de mon oncle
Of course, as you can see in the phrase "the ballot's design," use of the genitive inflection in present-day English, though quite available and grammatical, can sound awkward at times. Much more natural is "the design of the ballot," which is called periphrastic genitive--a genitive that uses a phrase rather than an inflectional ending. English periphrastic genitives come after the thing possessed, and are much like French genitives.

New genitives in English tend to be periphrastic and come after the thing possessed. If you have a new motherboard and you want to talk about its speed, would you say

the motherboard's speed
or

the speed of the motherboard
You could say either and be understood. But the periphrastic genitive sounds better and comes more naturally in a wider range of circumstances.

It may not seem immediately apparent, but with English genitives, we are observing a typical long-term linguistic change. Two alternatives in syntax co-exist; one is losing ground. Such a process takes generations and may leave a final result that is an irregular system full of subtle idiomatic alternatives.

To illustrate, let's take a phrase we've already looked at, Luke 2:9 in Old English:

þa stod drihtnes engel wiþ hig and godes beorhtnes him ymbelscean: and hi him mycelum ege adredon.

Two genitive phrases occur in this sentence: "drihtnes engel" and "godes beorthnes": "God's angel" and "God's brightness"--though the ending is spelled differently, it's the same English genitive inflection we use today.

These phrases translate two ordinary Latin genitives: "angelus Domini" and "claritas Dei," where the genitive comes after the thing possessed.

In Middle English translations of the Bible made in the 1300s, the phrases are rendered "þe aungil of þe lord" and "clernesse of god." (The most famous later translation, the 1611 Bible, has of course "the angel of the Lord" and "the glory of the Lord.")

The Old English genitive order, with the genitive first, gave way as early as the 1300s to a genitive-last order. But the older order is still available, though not preferred in these kinds of phrases. What we see at work is a long process, never entirely resolved. Genitive-first phrases tend to persist most strongly where persons are the owners:

Bessie's dinner
my aunt's pen
Genitive-last phrasings are most common when the possessor is an abstract or impersonal noun, or plural, or a phrase:

the blessings of democracy
the configuration of the laptop
the rights of the voters
the people of Broward County
Though once again, it's not like you can't use the alternative in any of these cases, at more or less risk of sounding awkward.

Yours respectfully,
Rob

May I humbly present my evidence from the OED DRAFT REVISION Sept. 2010:

The primary sense was 'away', 'away from', a sense now obsolete, except in so far as it is retained under the spelling off (see OFF adv., Prep., N.1, and adj.). All the existing uses of of are derivative; many so remote as to retain no trace of the original sense, and so weakened as to be in themselves the expression of relatively indefinable syntactic relationships. For example, an 'appositional' interpretation has been proposed for a number of senses such as 23, 28c, 32, and 49b (see O. Jespersen On Some Disputed Points in English Grammar (SPE Tract No. XXV, 1926)). The sense-history is exceedingly complicated by reason of the introduction of senses or uses derived from other sources, the mingling of these with the main stream, and the subsequent weakening, which often renders it difficult to assign a particular modern use to its actual source or sources. From its original sense, of was naturally used in the expression of the notions of removal, separation, privation, derivation, origin or source, starting-point, spring of action, cause, agent, instrument, material, and other senses, which involve the notion of 'taking, coming, arising, or resulting from '. But, even in Old English, this internal development was affected by the translational character of the literature, and the employment of of to render Latin ab, d, or ex, in constructions where non-literary discourse would not have used it . Of greater significance was its employment from the 11th cent. as the equivalent of French de, itself of composite origin, since it not merely represented Latin d in its various prepositional uses, but had come to be the substitute in French for the Latin genitive case. Whether of might have come independently in English to be a substitute for the genitive has been much debated. In the expression of ethnic or national origin, we find of and the genitive to some extent interchangeable already in early Old English, cf. the following: eOE tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) III. xv. 222 Se wæs eac Scotta cynnes [L. de natione Scottorum]. eOE tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) III. xv. 222 Se nyhsta wæs Scyttisces cynnes [L. natione Scottus]. eOE tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) III. xiv. 210 Wæs es wer .. of æm æelastan cynne Scotta [L. de nobilissimo genere Scottorum]. This may well have extended in time to other uses; but the influence of French de was probably a major factor in the replacement of the Old English genitive after adjectives, verbs, and even nouns by the of construction in early Middle English. The evidence, however, also suggests that an internal change in English, the loss of inflection in the definite article and strong adjective (by the end of the 13th cent. at the latest), triggered the advance in the use of the of construction as a periphrastic genitive. Beside this (a far -reaching fact in the functional history of of) the same influence is also manifest in numerous phraseological uses, and esp. in the use of of as the equivalent of French de, in the construction of many verbs and adjectives. Many of these can be clearly distinguished; but, in other cases, the uses derived from French de have so blended with those derived from Old English of, giving rise again to later uses related to both, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to separate the two streams, with their many ramifications. The present entry seeks to exhibit the main uses of the preposition, and to show generally how far back each of these is exemplified. It has not been attempted to classify or even mention all the verbs and adjectives which are or have been construed with of; examples occur under the chief senses and uses, but the construction of any individual verb or adjective is dealt with under that word itself, where also it is shown what other prepositions share or have shared the same function with of .

I. Of motion, direction, distance. I. Of motion, direction, distance.

1. a. Indicating the thing, place, or direction from which something goes, comes, or is driven or moved: from, away from, out of. Now regional exc. as off (see OFF adv. 1). 1. A. Indicating the thing, place, or direction from which something goes, comes, or is driven or moved: from, away from, out of. Now regional exc. As off (see OFF adv. 1).

b. Indicating the place or source from which action, (as shooting, calling, writing) is directed: from. Obs. b. Indicating the place or source from which action, (as shooting, calling, writing) is directed: from. Obs.
In quot. 15701 prob. after Latin ex. In quot. 15701 prob. After Latin ex.

c. Following and closely connected to an adverb, as down of, up of. Now usually in OUT OF prep. c. Following and closely connected to an adverb, as down of, up of. Now usually in OUT OF prep.
See also forth of n. at FORTH adv. 9a; OFF adv. 13b. See also forth of n. at FORTH adv. 9a; OFF adv. 13b.

2. Indicating a point of time (or stage of life, etc.) from which something begins or proceeds: from, since. Now only in as of (see AS 33c), and of late, of recent years, etc. (which have gradually come to have the sense 'during' or 'in the course of' the time indicated: see sense 53). 2. Indicating a point of time (or stage of life, etc.) From which something begins or proceeds: from, since. Now only in as of (see AS 33c), and of late, of recent years, etc. (Which have gradually come to have the sense 'during' or 'in the course of' the time indicated: see sense 53).

3. Indicating a situation, condition, or state out of or away from which something moves, or is figured as moving: from, out of. Obs. 3. Indicating a situation, condition, or state out of or away from which something moves, or is figured as moving: from, out of. Obs.

4. Expressing position which is (or is treated as) the result of departure, and is defined with reference to the starting point. 4. Expressing position which is (or is treated as) the result of departure, and is defined with reference to the starting point.

a. Away from, out of. of life: see LIFE n. Phrases 3. Obs. a. Away from, out of. of life: see LIFE n. Phrases 3. Obs.

b. Following a compass point, as north of, south of, etc.; (also) following a specified distance (US regional). Also in within a mile (or an hour, an ace, etc.) of, wide of, back of (chiefly N. Amer.), backward of (now arch.), upward(s) of (a number or amount): see also the first elements. b. Following a compass point, as north of, south of, etc.; (also) following a specified distance (US regional). Also in within a mile (or an hour, an ace, etc.) of, wide of, back of (chiefly N. Amer.), backward of (now arch.), upward (s) of (a number or amount): see also the first elements.

c. N. Amer., Sc., and Irish English (north.). In expressing the time: from or before (a specified hour); = TO prep. 6b. Also with the numeral expressing the hour understood. c. N. Amer., Sc., and Irish English (north.). In expressing the time: from or before (a specified hour); = TO prep. 6b. Also with the numeral expressing the hour understood.

II. Expressing separation or removal of something from an owner, or an affected person or thing. II. Expressing separation or removal of something from an owner, or an affected person or thing.
In Old English expressed by of, from, or the genitive case. In Old English expressed by of, from, or the genitive case.

5. a. Following transitive verbs. (a) to cure, heal, etc.; cleanse, clear, purge, etc.; bring to bed, deliver, ease, empty, free, rid, etc. (b) to deprive, divest, drain, oust, rob, spoil, strip, etc. 5. A. Following transitive verbs. (A) to cure, heal, etc.; Cleanse, clear, purge, etc.; Bring to bed, deliver, ease, empty, free, rid, etc. (B) to deprive, divest, drain, oust, rob, spoil, strip, etc.
In the constructions in sense 5a(b), by a kind of transposition, of introduces that which is removed, the person or thing whence it is removed being made the grammatical object: thus, a prisoner is said to be stripped of his clothes, when in reality the clothes are stripped off or from the prisoner. In the constructions in sense 5a (b), by a kind of transposition, of introduces that which is removed, the person or thing whence it is removed being made the grammatical object: thus, a prisoner is said to be stripped of his clothes, when in reality the clothes are stripped off or from the prisoner.

b. Following intransitive verbs. b. Following intransitive verbs.

(a) to cease, fail, lack, stint, etc. Obs. (A) to cease, fail, lack, stint, etc. Obs.

(b) to recover. Obs. (B) to recover. Obs.

6. Following verbal nouns and nouns of action. Obs. 6. Following verbal nouns and nouns of action. Obs.
In modern use usually replaced by from. In modern use usually replaced by from.

7. Following adjectives. 7. Following adjectives.

a. whole of (a wound), better of (an illness); clean, free, pure, rid, etc. a. whole of (a wound), better of (an illness); clean, free, pure, rid, etc.

b. bare, barren, destitute, devoid, empty, naked, void, etc. b. bare, barren, destitute, devoid, empty, naked, void, etc.
Some of these, eg clean, empty, free, naked, etc., were in Old English followed by the genitive (cf. branch XI.). Some of these, eg clean, empty, free, naked, etc., Were in Old English followed by the genitive (cf. branch XI.).
In some cases of has now been replaced by from: see the adjectives. In some cases of has now been replaced by from: see the adjectives.

III. Of origin or source. Indicating the thing, place, or person from which or whom something originates, comes, or is acquired or sought. III. Of origin or source. Indicating the thing, place, or person from which or whom something originates, comes, or is acquired or sought.

8. a. Expressing ancestral or local origin, descent, etc.: following arise, be, come, descend, spring, etc.; be born, be bred, be derived, be propagated, etc. 8. A. Expressing ancestral or local origin, descent, etc.: Following arise, be, come, descend, spring, etc.; Be born, be bred, be derived, be propagated, etc.

b. Expressing the origin or derivation of a name. Obs. b. Expressing the origin or derivation of a name. Obs.
Now replaced by from or after. Now replaced by from or after.

9. Following certain verbs and verbal derivatives. 9. Following certain verbs and verbal derivatives.

a. With borrow, buy, gain, get, have, receive, steal, take, win, etc. Now replaced by from, or arch. and regional, except in take advantage (see ADVANTAGE n. 5b), take leave (see LEAVE n.1 2a), etc. See also OFF adv. 3. a. With borrow, buy, gain, get, have, receive, steal, take, win, etc. Now replaced by from, or arch. and regional, except in take advantage (see ADVANTAGE n. 5b), take leave (see LEAVE n.1 2a), etc. See also OFF adv. 3.

b. With ask, beg, demand, desire, expect, inquire, request, require, want, etc.; also hear, learn, understand. b. With ask, beg, demand, desire, expect, inquire, request, require, want, etc.; also hear, learn, understand.
Some of these, as ask, inquire, were formerly constructed with at. In some cases of is now used interchangeably with from. Some of these, as ask, inquire, were formerly constructed with at. In some cases of is now used interchangeably with from.

10. After a noun, with the participle of a verb (such as one of those referred to at senses 8 and 9) implied or understood. 10. After a noun, with the participle of a verb (such as one of those referred to at senses 8 and 9) implied or understood.
Also used spec. with reference to local origin (where the notion of from passes into that of belonging to): see sense 33. Also used spec. With reference to local origin (where the notion of from passes into that of belonging to): see sense 33.

IV. Of the source or starting point of action, emotion, etc., in respect of motive, cause, reason, or ground. IV. Of the source or starting point of action, emotion, etc., In respect of motive, cause, reason, or ground.

11. a. Indicating the mental or non-material source or spring of action, emotion, etc.: out of, from, as an outcome, expression, or consequence of. 11. A. Indicating the mental or non-material source or spring of action, emotion, etc.: Out of, from, as an outcome, expression, or consequence of.
Esp. in phrases, as of one's own accord, of choice, of course, of necessity, of one's own free will, of right, etc.: see also the nouns. Esp. In phrases, as of one's own accord, of choice, of course, of necessity, of one's own free will, of right, etc.: See also the nouns.
This connects the notions of origin and cause. This connects the notions of origin and cause.

b. of oneself: by one's own impetus or motion; without the instigation or aid of another; essentially. b. of oneself: by one's own impetus or motion; without the instigation or aid of another; essentially.
Now usually only in of itself, of themselves. Now usually only in of itself, of themselves.

12. Indicating the cause, reason, or ground of an action, occurrence, feeling, etc. 12. Indicating the cause, reason, or ground of an action, occurrence, feeling, etc.

a. Following an intransitive verb. a. Following an intransitive verb.
In some cases of is now replaced by with, from, or at, or may be used interchangeably with these. In some cases of is now replaced by with, from, or at, or may be used interchangeably with these.
The sense of cause is sometimes weakened into that of the subject matter of the action: cf. branch VIII. The sense of cause is sometimes weakened into that of the subject matter of the action: cf. Branch VIII.

b. Following a transitive verb: for, on account of. Obs. b. Following a transitive verb: for, on account of. Obs.

13. Following an adjective or noun, indicating the thing that causes or gives rise to a feeling, condition, or action. 13. Following an adjective or noun, indicating the thing that causes or gives rise to a feeling, condition, or action.

a. Following adjectives: because of, on account of. a. Following adjectives: because of, on account of.
In some of these now Obs.: see the words themselves. In some of these now Obs.: See the words themselves.
In Old English expressed by the genitive: cf. 38. In French with de. In Old English expressed by the genitive: cf. 38. In French with de.

b. Following nouns: on account of, for, at. Now rare. b. Following nouns: on account of, for, at. Now rare.
Now usually only in joy of: see JOY n. 9. Now usually only in joy of: see JOY n. 9.

V. Indicating the agent or doer. V. Indicating the agent or doer.

14. Introducing the agent after a passive verb. 14. Introducing the agent after a passive verb.
The usual word for this is now by (BY prep. 33), which was prevalent by the 15th cent.; of was used alongside by until c1600. Of is subsequently found as a stylistic archaism in biblical, poetic, and literary use, and in certain constructions, eg 'on the part of'. In Old English of was less used than from (both of which, however, retain connotations of separation or origin): cf. German von from, of. The usual word for this is now by (BY prep. 33), which was prevalent by the 15th cent.; Of was used alongside by until c1600. Of is subsequently found as a stylistic archaism in biblical, poetic, and literary use, and in certain constructions, eg 'on the part of'. In Old English of was less used than from (both of which, however, retain connotations of separation or origin): cf. German von from, of.
The use of of is most frequent after past participles expressing a continued non-physical action (as in admired, loved, hated, ordained of), or a condition resulting from a definite action (as in abandoned, deserted, forgotten, forsaken of, which approach branch II.). It is also occasional with participial adjectives in un-, as unseen of, unowned of. Of often shows an approach to the subjective genitive: cf. 'he was chosen of God to this work' with 'he was the chosen of the electors'. In other senses the agent has passed into the cause, as in afeard, afraid, frightened, terrified of; or the source or origin, as in born of. English of and by correspond somewhat to French de and par. The use of of is most frequent after past participles expressing a continued non-physical action (as in admired, loved, hated, ordained of), or a condition resulting from a definite action (as in abandoned, deserted, forgotten, forsaken of, which approach branch II.). It is also occasional with participial adjectives in un-, as unseen of, unowned of. Of often shows an approach to the subjective genitive: cf. 'he was chosen of God to this work' with 'he was the chosen of the electors'. In other senses the agent has passed into the cause, as in afeard, afraid, frightened, terrified of; or the source or origin, as in born of. English of and by correspond somewhat to French de and par.

15. Following a noun, as the head of a postmodifying noun phrase. 15. Following a noun, as the head of a postmodifying noun phrase.
Sometimes called the subjective genitive. This can often also be expressed by the possessive case, eg 'the approbation of his prince' or 'his prince's approbation', 'the sonatas of Beethoven' or 'Beethoven's sonatas'. With sense 15b a combination of the possessive with the partitive of (sense 32) is also possible, eg 'a sonata of Beethoven's'. Sometimes called the subjective genitive. This can often also be expressed by the possessive case, eg 'the approbation of his prince' or 'his prince's approbation', 'the sonatas of Beethoven' or 'Beethoven's sonatas'. With sense 15b a combination of the possessive with the partitive of (sense 32) is also possible, eg 'a sonata of Beethoven's'.

a. Expressing the relation of agent (doer or maker). a. Expressing the relation of agent (doer or maker).

b. spec. Indicating the creator of a work: made, written, painted, etc., by. b. spec. Indicating the creator of a work: made, written, painted, etc., by.

16. Indicating the doer of something characterized by an adjective: following an adjective alone, as foolish, good, rude, stupid, unkind, wise, wrong (or any other adjective with which conduct can be described); following an adjective qualifying a noun, as a cruel act, a cunning trick, a kind deed, an odd thing; following a past participle qualified by an adverb, as cleverly managed, ill conceived, well done. 16. Indicating the doer of something characterized by an adjective: following an adjective alone, as foolish, good, rude, stupid, unkind, wise, wrong (or any other adjective with which conduct can be described); following an adjective qualifying a noun , as a cruel act, a cunning trick, a kind deed, an odd thing; following a past participle qualified by an adverb, as cleverly managed, ill conceived, well done.
Usually followed by to do (something), as in it was kind of you (ie a kind act or thing done by you) to help him etc., and less frequently by that, both constructions introducing the logical subject or object of the statement, eg It was kind of him to tell me = His telling me was a thing kindly done by him. Usually followed by to do (something), as in it was kind of you (ie a kind act or thing done by you) to help him etc., And less frequently by that, both constructions introducing the logical subject or object of the statement , eg It was kind of him to tell me = His telling me was a thing kindly done by him.

VI. Indicating means or instrument. VI. Indicating means or instrument.

17. a. Indicating the thing by means of or with which something is done: with. Obs. 17. A. Indicating the thing by means of or with which something is done: with. Obs.
In Old English with residual connotations of origin or source. In Old English with residual connotations of origin or source.

b. Indicating that on or by means of which a person or animal lives, feeds, is fed on, etc.: on, off. Obs. b. Indicating that on or by means of which a person or animal lives, feeds, is fed on, etc.: on, off. Obs.

18. With adjectives. 18. With adjectives.

a. After full. a. After full.
Doubtfully placed here. In Old English also accompanied by a noun in the genitive case. Doubtfully placed here. In Old English also accompanied by a noun in the genitive case.

b. Following an adjective, indicating that which imparts a quality to a thing: with. Now regional. b. Following an adjective, indicating that which imparts a quality to a thing: with. Now regional.

VII. Indicating the material or substance of which something is made or consists. VII. Indicating the material or substance of which something is made or consists.

19. a. Following the verbs be, consist, make; be made, etc.: out of, from. 19. A. Following the verbs be, consist, make; be made, etc.: Out of, from.
Also in fig. phrases, as to make a fool of, to make much of, to make the best of, etc. See MAKE v.1 12). Also in fig. Phrases, as to make a fool of, to make much of, to make the best of, etc. See MAKE v.1 12).

b. Indicating the former condition from which a transformation to a different condition has occurred: from. Obs. (arch. in later use). b. Indicating the former condition from which a transformation to a different condition has occurred: from. Obs. (arch. in later use).
This has affinities with sense 3. This has affinities with sense 3.

20. Following a noun, connecting the material immediately with the thing. 20. Following a noun, connecting the material immediately with the thing.
This can usually also be expressed by a preceding adjective, or a noun used attrib., eg 'a floor of wood or tiles' or 'a wooden or tile floor'. This can usually also be expressed by a preceding adjective, or a noun used attrib., Eg 'a floor of wood or tiles' or 'a wooden or tile floor'.

21. a. Connecting two nouns, of which the former is a collective term, a quantitative or numeral word, or the name of something having component parts, and the latter is the substance or elements of which this consists. 21. A. Connecting two nouns, of which the former is a collective term, a quantitative or numeral word, or the name of something having component parts, and the latter is the substance or elements of which this consists.
In Old English usually expressed by the genitive. In Old English usually expressed by the genitive.

b. Following a classificatory word, as class, kind, manner, sort, species, type, etc. b. Following a classificatory word, as class, kind, manner, sort, species, type, etc.

22. Connecting two nouns, of which the former denotes the class of which the latter is a particular example, or of which the former is a connotative and the latter a denotative term (ie genitive of definition or specializing genitive). 22. Connecting two nouns, of which the former denotes the class of which the latter is a particular example, or of which the former is a connotative and the latter a denotative term (ie genitive of definition or specializing genitive).
Often passing into grammatical apposition, eg 'the River Thames', formerly 'the River of Thames'; the city of Rome, Old English Rmeburg: cf. Latin urbs Roma, urbs Buthroti. Often passing into grammatical apposition, eg 'the River Thames', formerly 'the River of Thames'; the city of Rome, Old English Rmeburg: cf. Latin urbs Roma, urbs Buthroti.
The pattern of distribution of usage between of, apposition, and other constructions is very complex: see eg H. Poutsma, Grammar of Late Modern English (ed. 2, 1928) I. iv. §13-§39. The pattern of distribution of usage between of, apposition, and other constructions is very complex: see eg H. Poutsma, Grammar of Late Modern English (ed. 2, 1928) I. iv. § 13 - § 39.

23. Between two nouns which are in virtual apposition. 23. Between two nouns which are in virtual apposition.

a. In the person of; in respect of being; to be; for. Obs. a. In the person of; in respect of being; to be; for. Obs.
The leading noun is the former, of the qualification of which the phrase introduced by of constitutes a limitation; thus 'he was the greatest traveller of a prince', ie the greatest traveller in the person of a prince, or so far as princes are concerned. The sense often merges with that of the partitive genitive. See sense 30. The leading noun is the former, of the qualification of which the phrase introduced by of constitutes a limitation; thus 'he was the greatest traveller of a prince', ie the greatest traveller in the person of a prince, or so far as princes are concerned. The sense often merges with that of the partitive genitive. See sense 30.

b. In the form of, in the guise of. b. In the form of, in the guise of.
The leading noun is the latter, to which the preceding noun with of stands as a qualification, equivalent to an adjective; thus 'that fool of a man' = that foolish man, that man who deserves to be called 'fool'; 'that beast of a place' = that beastly place. The leading noun is the latter, to which the preceding noun with of stands as a qualification, equivalent to an adjective; thus' that fool of a man '= that foolish man, that man who deserves to be called' fool ';' that beast of a place '= that beastly place.
Quot. ?c1200 is placed here by Middle Eng. Dict.; however the of-phrase seems to complement the verb and its object (as in sense 19) rather than the preceding noun only as in later examples. Quot.? C1200 is placed here by Middle Eng. Dict.; However the of-phrase seems to complement the verb and its object (as in sense 19) rather than the preceding noun only as in later examples.

24. Forming a complement to the object of a transitive clause, indicating a person or thing regarded as what is specified by the object of the clause. 24. Forming a complement to the object of a transitive clause, indicating a person or thing regarded as what is specified by the object of the clause.

a. With reference to persons: in, in the person of. Obs. a. With reference to persons: in, in the person of. Obs.

b. With reference to things. With it. b. With reference to things. With it.
Esp. in such phrases as to have a bad time of it. Of it appears originally to mean 'consisting of' or 'comprising' the fact or circumstance referred to. Esp. In such phrases as to have a bad time of it. Of it appears originally to mean 'consisting of' or 'comprising' the fact or circumstance referred to.

VIII. Indicating the subject matter of thought, feeling, or action. VIII. Indicating the subject matter of thought, feeling, or action.

25. Concerning, about; with regard to, regarding. 25. Concerning, about; with regard to, regarding.

a. Following intransitive verbs, esp. of learning, knowing, thinking, and expressing thought, as dream, hear, know, read, tell, think, write, etc.; also complain, despair, rejoice, etc. (which are closely akin to branch XI.). a. Following intransitive verbs, esp. of learning, knowing, thinking, and expressing thought, as dream, hear, know, read, tell, think, write, etc.; also complain, despair, rejoice, etc. (which are closely akin to branch XI.).
Formerly freq. in subject-headings, titles of chapters, etc., often without a verb, eg 'Of Snakes in Europe'; of is now often omitted. Formerly freq. In subject-headings, titles of chapters, etc., Often without a verb, eg 'Of Snakes in Europe'; of is now often omitted.
Rare in Old English (which commonly uses be, ymb, or with some verbs the genitive); but of occurs after secgan to tell and after sprecan to speak. Rare in Old English (which commonly uses be, ymb, or with some verbs the genitive); but of occurs after secgan to tell and after sprecan to speak.

b. Following transitive verbs and their objects, as hear, read, tell, etc. (cf. 25a); also advise, inform, warn, etc. b. Following transitive verbs and their objects, as hear, read, tell, etc. (cf. 25a); also advise, inform, warn, etc.
These blend with 39a. These blend with 39a.

c. Following other verbs and phrases. c. Following other verbs and phrases.

d. Following the verb do. Obs. d. Following the verb do. Obs.
Now replaced by with: cf. branch VI. Now replaced by with: cf. Branch VI.

e. Following become; formerly also following other impersonal verbs, as befall, fare, fortune, etc. e. Following become; formerly also following other impersonal verbs, as befall, fare, fortune, etc.

26. Following nouns. 26. Following nouns.
Now chiefly limited to nouns of knowing, narrating, informing, and the like. Now chiefly limited to nouns of knowing, narrating, informing, and the like.

27. Following adjectives. 27. Following adjectives.

IX. In partitive expressions, indicating things or a thing of which a part is expressed by the preceding words. IX. In partitive expressions, indicating things or a thing of which a part is expressed by the preceding words.

28. a. Preceded by a word of number or quantity. 28. A. Preceded by a word of number or quantity.
[Of may here render Latin ex or de. Old English more commonly had the genitive case, eg [Of may here render Latin ex or de. Old English more commonly had the genitive case, eg
eOE tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) III. vi. 174 Monige ara brora. OE Laws of Æelred II (Corpus Cambr. 201) VIII. Prol. 263 is is an ara gerædnessa, e Engla cyningc gedihte. See constructions of ONE adj., n., and pron., SOME pron., adj.1, adv., and n.1, etc.] eOE tr. Bede Eccl. Hist. (Tanner) III. vi. 174 Monige ara brora. OE Laws of Æelred II (Corpus Cambr. 201) VIII. Prol. 263 is is an ara gerædnessa, e Engla cyningc gedihte. See constructions of ONE adj., n., and pron., SOME pron., adj.1, adv., and n.1, etc.]

b. Preceded by a noun. b. Preceded by a noun.

c. Expressing the whole of a thing under the partitive form. c. Expressing the whole of a thing under the partitive form.
This has affinity with sense 21. This has affinity with sense 21.

d. [Perhaps after French rien de.] Followed by an adjective standing alone. Cf. NOTHING pron. and n. 2b, SOMETHING n. 2b. Now rare. d. [Perhaps after French rien de.] Followed by an adjective standing alone. Cf. NOTHING pron. and n. 2b, SOMETHING n. 2b. Now rare.
In later use chiefly arch. and literary. In later use chiefly arch. And literary.

29. a. Without preceding partitive word, forming the complement of a verb, or the predicate after be: a portion of, one of, some of, some. Now arch. and poet. 29. A. Without preceding partitive word, forming the complement of a verb, or the predicate after be: a portion of, one of, some of, some. Now arch. And poet.

b. Following the verb partake; formerly also part, participate. b. Following the verb partake; formerly also part, participate.

30. a. Preceded by a superlative or a comparative, or by a word equivalent to a superlative, as chief, flower, cream, dregs, etc. 30. A. Preceded by a superlative or a comparative, or by a word equivalent to a superlative, as chief, flower, cream, dregs, etc.

b. Preceded by a noun or pronoun denoting a person or thing that is distinguished out of a number, or out of all, on account of excellence. Also with repetition of the same noun in the plural, for intensification, as in the Hebraistic Song of songs, holy of holies, king of kings; hence book of books, man of men, heart of hearts, etc. b. Preceded by a noun or pronoun denoting a person or thing that is distinguished out of a number, or out of all, on account of excellence. Also with repetition of the same noun in the plural, for intensification, as in the Hebraistic Song of songs, holy of holies, king of kings; hence book of books, man of men, heart of hearts, etc.

c. of all others (formerly also of (all) other and variants): of all, out of all. c. of all others (formerly also of (all) other and variants): of all, out of all.
The use of other after a superlative is illogical, unless of originally had the notion of 'singled out from', 'taken from'. The use of other after a superlative is illogical, unless of originally had the notion of 'singled out from', 'taken from'.

d. With superlative implied. of all (modifying a plural noun): most of all possible things, people, places, etc. Formerly also of any (modifying a singular noun). Obs. d. With superlative implied. of all (modifying a plural noun): most of all possible things, people, places, etc. Formerly also of any (modifying a singular noun). Obs.

e. of all (the): emphasizing (often parenthetically) the unlikelihood of something. Freq. as a (surprised or indignant) exclamation. Cf. PEOPLE n. 6a. e. of all (the): emphasizing (often parenthetically) the unlikelihood of something. Freq. as a (surprised or indignant) exclamation. Cf. PEOPLE n. 6a.

f. A person or thing considered the leading example of his, her, or its kind in a specified period of time (as week, month, century, etc.). Earliest in of the year at YEAR n.1 7a. Cf. book of the month at BOOK n. 14 and flavour of the month (or week) at FLAVOUR n. 3d. f. A person or thing considered the leading example of his, her, or its kind in a specified period of time (as week, month, century, etc.). Earliest in of the year at YEAR n.1 7a. Cf. book of the month at BOOK n. 14 and flavour of the month (or week) at FLAVOUR n. 3d.

31. a. One of, a member of. Hence: belonging to, included in, taking part in. Now chiefly in to be in (the world, etc.) but not of it. Cf. MAN OF THE WORLD n., man of the people n. at MAN n.1 Phrases 2ac. 31. A. One of, a member of. Hence: belonging to, included in, taking part in. Now chiefly in to be in (the world, etc.) But not of it. Cf. MAN OF THE WORLD n., man of the people n. at MAN n.1 Phrases 2ac.

b. Followed by an adjective in the superlative: one of, some of, something of. Formerly also used adverbially with sense 'as a thing of'. Now arch. or literary. b. Followed by an adjective in the superlative: one of, some of, something of. Formerly also used adverbially with sense 'as a thing of'. Now arch. or literary.

32. Followed by a noun in the genitive case or a possessive pronoun. 32. Followed by a noun in the genitive case or a possessive pronoun.
Originally partitive, but subsequently used instead of the simple possessive (of the possessor or author) where this would be awkward or ambiguous, or as equivalent to an appositive phrase; eg this son of mine = this my son; a dog of John's = a dog which is John's, a dog belonging to John. The early examples are capable of explanation as partitive, but in later use this is often not possible, and the construction may now be viewed as appositional (see further O. Jespersen On Some Disputed Points in English Grammar (SPE Tract No. XXV, 1926)). Originally partitive, but subsequently used instead of the simple possessive (of the possessor or author) where this would be awkward or ambiguous, or as equivalent to an appositive phrase; eg this son of mine = this my son; a dog of John's = a dog which is John's, a dog belonging to John. The early examples are capable of explanation as partitive, but in later use this is often not possible, and the construction may now be viewed as appositional (see further O. Jespersen On Some Disputed Points in English Grammar (SPE Tract No. XXV, 1926)).

X. Expressing possession and being possessed. X. Expressing possession and being possessed.
Eg 'the owner of the house', 'the house of the owner'. Generally regarded as one of the central uses of the word. Formerly expressed by the genitive case, and still to some extent by the genitive of nouns (especially proper names) and possessive adjectives (with transposition of order). The use of of began in Old English with senses 33, 34, expressing origin. After the Norman Conquest the example of the French de, which had taken the place of the Latin genitive, caused the gradual extension of of to all uses in which Old English had the genitive; the purely possessive sense was the last to be so affected, and it is that in which the genitive or 'possessive' case is still chiefly used. Thus, we say the King's English, in preference to the English of the King; but the King of England in preference to England's King, which is not natural or ordinary prose English. Eg 'the owner of the house', 'the house of the owner'. Generally regarded as one of the central uses of the word. Formerly expressed by the genitive case, and still to some extent by the genitive of nouns (especially proper names ) and possessive adjectives (with transposition of order). The use of of began in Old English with senses 33, 34, expressing origin. After the Norman Conquest the example of the French de, which had taken the place of the Latin genitive, caused the gradual extension of of to all uses in which Old English had the genitive; the purely possessive sense was the last to be so affected, and it is that in which the genitive or 'possessive' case is still chiefly used. Thus, we say the King's English, in preference to the English of the King; but the King of England in preference to England's King, which is not natural or ordinary prose English.

33. a. Belonging to a place, as a native or resident. 33. A. Belonging to a place, as a native or resident.
This occurs in Old English with the sense of origin = 'springing or coming from, belonging by origin to' (originally sense 10); in the 11th cent. this passed into the sense 'belonging to as inhabitants or occupants', 'living in', and so of things 'situated in or at'. This occurs in Old English with the sense of origin = 'springing or coming from, belonging by origin to' (originally sense 10); in the 11th cent. This passed into the sense 'belonging to as inhabitants or occupants',' living in ', and so of things' situated in or at'.

b. Belonging to a place, as situated, existing, or taking place there; belonging to a place or thing, as forming part of it, or as associated with or derived from it (in which sense it approaches the partitive). b. Belonging to a place, as situated, existing, or taking place there; belonging to a place or thing, as forming part of it, or as associated with or derived from it (in which sense it approaches the partitive).

c. Belonging to a time, as existing or taking place in it. c. Belonging to a time, as existing or taking place in it.

d. Representative of a time, as typical or characteristic of it. d. Representative of a time, as typical or characteristic of it.

34. a. Belonging to a place, as deriving a title from it, or as its lord, ruler, owner, etc., as King, Earl, Archbishop of, etc. 34. A. Belonging to a place, as deriving a title from it, or as its lord, ruler, owner, etc., As King, Earl, Archbishop of, etc.
Prob. also from the notion of origin. Rare in Old English till 11th cent., when it became the regular equivalent of French de, of and its object being found in apposition to a genitive case. Prob. Also from the notion of origin. Rare in Old English till 11th cent., When it became the regular equivalent of French de, of and its object being found in apposition to a genitive case.

b. Related to a thing or person as its ruler, superior, possessor, etc. Freq. following an official title. b. Related to a thing or person as its ruler, superior, possessor, etc. Freq. following an official title.
Akin to the objective genitive, sense 40, and sometimes interchangeable with a possessive case, esp. when the object is a person. Akin to the objective genitive, sense 40, and sometimes interchangeable with a possessive case, esp. When the object is a person.

35. a. Belonging to a person or thing, as something that he, she, or it has or possesses (= the possessive genitive, and akin to the subjective, sense 15). 35. A. Belonging to a person or thing, as something that he, she, or it has or possesses (= the possessive genitive, and akin to the subjective, sense 15).
In Old English always, in Middle English most frequently, and in modern English preferably expressed by the genitive case (or a possessive adjective), except when for some reason this is difficult or awkward, eg in quots. c13852, a1616, 1895. In Old English always, in Middle English most frequently, and in modern English preferably expressed by the genitive case (or a possessive adjective), except when for some reason this is difficult or awkward, eg in quots. C13852, a1616, 1895.

b. Belonging to a person or thing as a quality or attribute. b. Belonging to a person or thing as a quality or attribute.
Also interchanging with the possessive, esp. when the object is a person, animal, or space of time, as 'a month's salary'. Also interchanging with the possessive, esp. When the object is a person, animal, or space of time, as 'a month's salary'.

36. Belonging to a thing, as a logical consequence of its nature: eg cause, effect, origin, reason, result of; correlative, counterpart, match, opposite, original of; copy, derivative, image, likeness of; (also in Math.) square, cube, logarithm, tangent, differential of. 36. Belonging to a thing, as a logical consequence of its nature: eg cause, effect, origin, reason, result of; correlative, counterpart, match, opposite, original of; copy, derivative, image, likeness of; (also in Math.) square, cube, logarithm, tangent, differential of.

37. Belonging to an action, etc., as that to which it relates. 37. Belonging to an action, etc., As that to which it relates.

XI. Representing an original genitive dependent on a verb or adjective. XI. Representing an original genitive dependent on a verb or adjective.
Many adjectives and verbs in Old English were followed by a genitive case as an object or complement. In Latin, also, many adjectives and some verbs were construed with a genitive, represented in French by de. These are represented in Middle and Modern English by constructions with of. Those which are closely allied in sense to one or other of the preceding branches are there included; but there are many other adjectives and verbs after which of is used to embody a relatively indefinable syntactic relationship, or which do not clearly fit into any of these branches. Many of these come close in sense to branch VIII., while others, esp. the adjectives, often approach or coincide with the objective genitive in branch XII. It is convenient therefore to consider them here. Many adjectives and verbs in Old English were followed by a genitive case as an object or complement. In Latin, also, many adjectives and some verbs were construed with a genitive, represented in French by de. These are represented in Middle and Modern English by constructions with of. Those which are closely allied in sense to one or other of the preceding branches are there included; but there are many other adjectives and verbs after which of is used to embody a relatively indefinable syntactic relationship, or which do not clearly fit into any of these branches. Many of these come close in sense to branch VIII., while others, esp. the adjectives, often approach or coincide with the objective genitive in branch XII. It is convenient therefore to consider them here.

38. In the construction of adjectives. Besides those mentioned under the preceding divisions, many adjectives are construed with of and an object; the following are representatives of some of the chief groups: fruitful, prolific, ominous, redolent; liberal, lavish, prodigal, scant, short, sparing; capable, incapable, susceptible; worthy, unworthy, guilty, guiltless, innocent; certain, uncertain, confident, diffident, doubtful, sure; aware, conscious, unconscious, ignorant, sensible, insensible; careful, careless, forgetful, heedful, heedless, hopeful, hopeless, mindful, unmindful, reckless, regardless, thoughtless, neglectful, negligent, observant, watchful; ambitious, desirous, eager, emulous, enamoured, envious, fond, greedy, jealous, studious, suspicious; disdainful, indulgent, patient, impatient; those in -ive, as apprehensive, communicative, descriptive, destructive, expressive, indicative, productive; and some in -ic, as characteristic, symbolic. 38. In the construction of adjectives. Besides those mentioned under the preceding divisions, many adjectives are construed with of and an object; the following are representatives of some of the chief groups: fruitful, prolific, ominous, redolent; liberal, lavish, prodigal , scant, short, sparing; capable, incapable, susceptible; worthy, unworthy, guilty, guiltless, innocent; certain, uncertain, confident, diffident, doubtful, sure; aware, conscious, unconscious, ignorant, sensible, insensible; careful, careless , forgetful, heedful, heedless, hopeful, hopeless, mindful, unmindful, reckless, regardless, thoughtless, neglectful, negligent, observant, watchful; ambitious, desirous, eager, emulous, enamoured, envious, fond, greedy, jealous, studious, suspicious ; disdainful, indulgent, patient, impatient; those in-ive, as apprehensive, communicative, descriptive, destructive, expressive, indicative, productive; and some in-ic, as characteristic, symbolic.
Many of these involve an underlying noun, which may be considered as the head of the prepositional phrase expressing the genitive relation; eg hopeful of, having hope of, envious of, having envy of, etc.; others are verbal derivatives, and are closely akin to the objective-genitive group (see branch XII.), eg expressive of = that expresses. Many of these involve an underlying noun, which may be considered as the head of the prepositional phrase expressing the genitive relation; eg hopeful of, having hope of, envious of, having envy of, etc.; Others are verbal derivatives, and are closely akin to the objective-genitive group (see branch XII.), eg expressive of = that expresses.

39. In the construction of verbs. 39. In the construction of verbs.

a. After transitive verbs, the person or thing affected ('secondary object') is often introduced by of (representing an original genitive). Such are balk, cheat, defraud, disappoint, frustrate; accuse, arrest, blame, convict, indict, suspect; possess, seize (a person of); avail, bethink (oneself of); also with impersonal verbs, as it repents me of; and formerly with ask, beg, beseech, thank (a person of), etc. a. After transitive verbs, the person or thing affected ('secondary object') is often introduced by of (representing an original genitive). Such are balk, cheat, defraud, disappoint, frustrate; accuse, arrest, blame, convict, indict , suspect; possess, seize (a person of); avail, bethink (oneself of); also with impersonal verbs, as it repents me of; and formerly with ask, beg, beseech, thank (a person of), etc.

b. In many verbal phrases, as to have (also get) the advantage of; to get (also have) the better of; also formerly in to have compassion (also mercy) of; to have (also take) pity of; to keep watch of, demand or do justice of (= on), have the victory of (= over). b. In many verbal phrases, as to have (also get) the advantage of; to get (also have) the better of; also formerly in to have compassion (also mercy) of; to have (also take) pity of; to keep watch of, demand or do justice of (= on), have the victory of (= over).

c. After intransitive verbs. Many of these in Old English took the genitive, and are found with of in Middle and Early Modern English, but this is now rare, except where of falls in sense under one of the branches already treated; instances are to reck, repent, rue, beware (orig. be ware) of. Verbs of sense, eg feel, smell, taste, touch (still with of in regional or colloquial use), verbs of asking, as ask, beseech, demand, desire, entreat, and others, eg distinguish, esteem, forget, like, seize, formerly construed with of, now take a simple object; some, as accept, admit, allow, approve, conceive, recollect, remember, still have both constructions; with others, as hope, look, thirst, wait, etc., of has been displaced by for or some other preposition. c. After intransitive verbs. Many of these in Old English took the genitive, and are found with of in Middle and Early Modern English, but this is now rare, except where of falls in sense under one of the branches already treated; instances are to reck, repent, rue, beware (orig. be ware) of. Verbs of sense, eg feel, smell, taste, touch (still with of in regional or colloquial use), verbs of asking, as ask, beseech, demand, desire, entreat, and others, eg distinguish, esteem, forget, like, seize, formerly construed with of, now take a simple object; some, as accept, admit, allow, approve, conceive, recollect, remember, still have both constructions ; with others, as hope, look, thirst, wait, etc., of has been displaced by for or some other preposition.

XII. Expressing the relationship of the objective genitive. XII. Expressing the relationship of the objective genitive.

40. After an agent noun. 40. After an agent noun.
Sometimes closely approaching the relation of the object possessed (see 34b). Sometimes closely approaching the relation of the object possessed (see 34b).

41. After a noun of action. 41. After a noun of action.

42. After a verbal noun in -ing. (See also -ING suffix1). 42. After a verbal noun in-ing. (See also-ING suffix1).

a. With a verbal noun preceded by the or another determiner, or (esp. in recent usage) a premodifying adjective or noun. a. With a verbal noun preceded by the or another determiner, or (esp. in recent usage) a premodifying adjective or noun.

b. With a verbal noun not preceded by a determiner or other premodifier. Now rare and (when the object of of is a pronoun) regional. b. With a verbal noun not preceded by a determiner or other premodifier. Now rare and (when the object of of is a pronoun) regional.
Use without the appears to occur chiefly where the process expressed by the verbal noun is prominent. In current standard English the form in -ing is usually constructed as a gerund taking a direct object without of. Use without the appears to occur chiefly where the process expressed by the verbal noun is prominent. In current standard English the form in-ing is usually constructed as a gerund taking a direct object without of.

c. With a verbal noun governed by in or a (in later modern English regarded as a present participle, as in sense 43, with prefixed a-). Now regional. c. With a verbal noun governed by in or a (in later modern English regarded as a present participle, as in sense 43, with prefixed a-). Now regional.

43. After a present participle (equivalent to sense 42c). Now regional and nonstandard. 43. After a present participle (equivalent to sense 42c). Now regional and nonstandard.

XIII. Indicating that in respect of which a quality is attributed, or a fact is predicated. XIII. Indicating that in respect of which a quality is attributed, or a fact is predicated.

44. In respect of, in the matter of, in point of, in. 44. In respect of, in the matter of, in point of, in.

a. Following an adjective. Now arch., literary, and regional (chiefly Irish English). a. Following an adjective. Now arch., literary, and regional (chiefly Irish English).
In Old English expressed by on; in French by de; in Latin by the ablative, genitive, and accusative (of respect). In Old English expressed by on; in French by de; in Latin by the ablative, genitive, and accusative (of respect).
The of-clause is grammatically an adverbial qualification of the adjective, for which an adverb may often be substituted, eg weak of mind, 'mentally weak'. Taken together, the adjective + the of-clause = a compound (parasynthetic) adjective, eg light of foot, 'light-footed', strong of limb, 'strong-limbed'. It is further equivalent to the of-clause of quality in branch X., eg 'a man weak of mind' = 'a man of weak mind'; the latter being the ordinary prose form. The of-clause is grammatically an adverbial qualification of the adjective, for which an adverb may often be substituted, eg weak of mind, 'mentally weak'. Taken together, the adjective + the of-clause = a compound (parasynthetic) adjective, eg light of foot, 'light-footed', strong of limb, 'strong-limbed'. It is further equivalent to the of-clause of quality in branch X., eg 'a man weak of mind' = 'a man of weak mind '; the latter being the ordinary prose form.

b. Indicating the reference of a measurement, in of length, of breadth, of depth, etc. Now arch., exc. in of age. b. Indicating the reference of a measurement, in of length, of breadth, of depth, etc. Now arch., exc. in of age.
Now usually replaced by in; this construction is often replaced by an adjective, eg 'six feet high', 'two inches long'. Now usually replaced by in; this construction is often replaced by an adjective, eg 'six feet high', 'two inches long'.

c. Following long, late, quick, slow, etc., and followed by a verbal noun. Now regional (Irish English and Sc.: cf. Scots lang o') exc. in hard of hearing. c. Following long, late, quick, slow, etc., and followed by a verbal noun. Now regional (Irish English and Sc.: cf. Scots lang o ') exc. in hard of hearing.
Now usually replaced by in or at. Now usually replaced by in or at.

45. Following a verb: in respect of. Obs. 45. Following a verb: in respect of. Obs.
Replaced by in. Replaced by in.

46. Following a noun: in respect of, in, by. Obs. 46. Following a noun: in respect of, in, by. Obs.

XIV. Indicating a quality or other distinguishing mark by which a person or thing is characterized, identified or described. XIV. Indicating a quality or other distinguishing mark by which a person or thing is characterized, identified or described.
Used for the Old English genitive, French de; equivalent to the genitive of quality or description. Used for the Old English genitive, French de; equivalent to the genitive of quality or description.

47. a. Indicating a quality possessed by the subject. 47. A. Indicating a quality possessed by the subject.
The quality is usually expressed by a noun qualified by an adjective, but may consist of a noun alone, as in 'a man of tact', 'a text-book of authority'. It is often equivalent to an adjective as in 'a man of tact' = a tactful man, 'a work of authority' = an authoritative work. The quality is usually expressed by a noun qualified by an adjective, but may consist of a noun alone, as in 'a man of tact', 'a text-book of authority'. It is often equivalent to an adjective as in 'a man of tact '= a tactful man,' a work of authority '= an authoritative work.

b. In all of a (something), indicating a (usually temporary) condition. Now colloq. b. In all of a (something), indicating a (usually temporary) condition. Now colloq.

48. Indicating an action, fact, or thing that distinguishes, characterizes, or specifies a time, place, etc. 48. Indicating an action, fact, or thing that distinguishes, characterizes, or specifies a time, place, etc.
This passes into branch XIV. This passes into branch XIV.

49. a. Indicating quantity, age, extent, price, etc. 49. A. Indicating quantity, age, extent, price, etc.

b. With an adjective added, esp. old (see OLD adj. 4c); less commonly long, broad, high, deep, wide, etc. b. With an adjective added, esp. old (see OLD adj. 4c); less commonly long, broad, high, deep, wide, etc.

50. Followed by a noun of action with possessive. 50. Followed by a noun of action with possessive.
Equivalent to a passive participial phrase indicating the agent and action of which something is the object, eg 'trees of our planting' = trees planted by us. Equivalent to a passive participial phrase indicating the agent and action of which something is the object, eg 'trees of our planting' = trees planted by us.
This has affinities with branches III. and IX. This has affinities with branches III. And IX.

XV. Indicating a point or space of time. XV. Indicating a point or space of time.

51. a. At some time during, in the course of, on. 51. A. At some time during, in the course of, on.
App. taking the place of the Germanic and Old English genitive of time. Now only implying regularity or repetition (as also in sense 51b), eg in of an evening, of a Sunday afternoon. Now chiefly regional. App. Taking the place of the Germanic and Old English genitive of time. Now only implying regularity or repetition (as also in sense 51b), eg in of an evening, of a Sunday afternoon. Now chiefly regional.

b. With plural noun (originally the genitive). Cf. A-NIGHTS adv., o'nights at NIGHT n. and int. Phrases 2c(d). Now regional and arch. b. With plural noun (originally the genitive). Cf. A-NIGHTS adv., o'nights at NIGHT n. and int. Phrases 2c (d). Now regional and arch.

c. Sc. and US From the specified date. Usually in of this date: as of now. Cf. sense 2. Obs. c. Sc. and US From the specified date. Usually in of this date: as of now. Cf. sense 2. Obs.

52. a. During, for (a space of time). In later use chiefly in negative contexts. Now Eng. regional (midl. and north.). 52. A. During, for (a space of time). In later use chiefly in negative contexts. Now Eng. Regional (midl. and north.).

b. After a noun, indicating the duration of an activity, relationship, etc. b. After a noun, indicating the duration of an activity, relationship, etc.

53. During, in the course of (a specified period). Chiefly in of late, of old, of recent years, of yore (now arch. or literary). 53. During, in the course of (a specified period). Chiefly in of late, of old, of recent years, of yore (now arch. Or literary).
These phrases were prob. originally in sense 2. These phrases were prob. Originally in sense 2.

XVI. In locative and other mainly obsolete uses. XVI. In locative and other mainly obsolete uses.
Many former uses of of are difficult to class. Some of these arose from employing it as a literal rendering of French de (or of Latin ab, ex, de), in phrases where English idiom would have required some other preposition; others arose from a confusion with on, or erroneous expansion of a, o = on (A prep.1), or of Scots a' for i' = in. Others were app. due to confusion of constructions. Without endeavouring to distinguish these, examples are here given in various senses. Many former uses of of are difficult to class. Some of these arose from employing it as a literal rendering of French de (or of Latin ab, ex, de), in phrases where English idiom would have required some other preposition; others arose from a confusion with on, or erroneous expansion of a, o = on (A prep.1), or of Scots a 'for i' = in. Others were app. due to confusion of constructions. Without endeavouring to distinguish these, examples are here given in various senses.

54. In senses of 'a-' (see A prep.1) of three: in three. to fall of: to set to or about (a task). Obs. 54. In senses of 'a-' (see A prep.1) of three: in three. To fall of: to set to or about (a task). Obs.

55. a. colloq. In sense 'on'. Now US regional (south.). 55. A. colloq. In sense 'on'. Now US regional (south.).

b. With side, hand, part, etc. Obs. b. With side, hand, part, etc. Obs.
[Compare French du côté de, Latin ab, ex parte, etc.] [Compare French du côté de, Latin ab, ex parte, etc.]

56. In sense 'at'. of all [= French du tout (compare DU TOUT adv.]: at all (see also AVA phr.). Now Irish English. 56. In sense 'at'. Of all [= French du tout (compare DU TOUT adv.]: At all (see also AVA phr.). Now Irish English.

57. In sense 'by'. of oneself: by oneself, alone. Cf. 11b. Obs. 57. In sense 'by'. Of oneself: by oneself, alone. Cf. 11b. Obs.

58. In sense 'in'. Now regional. 58. In sense 'in'. Now regional.

59. In sense 'with'. Cf. 25d, 18. Now chiefly US regional and Sc. 59. In sense 'with'. Cf. 25d, 18. Now chiefly US regional and Sc.

60. In sense 'to'. Obs. 60. In sense 'to'. Obs.


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PHRASES

P1. a. Followed by a noun, as of age, of a certainty, of choice, of consequence, of course, of force, of kin, of life, of necessity, of purpose, of right, of a truth, of use, of wrong, etc.: see the nouns. P1. A. Followed by a noun, as of age, of a certainty, of choice, of consequence, of course, of force, of kin, of life, of necessity, of purpose, of right, of a truth, of use , of wrong, etc.: see the nouns.
of old, etc.: see also 53. of old, etc.: see also 53.

b. Followed by an adjective (or adverb), formerly forming adverbial phrases [compare French d'avant, de loin, de nouveau, etc.], as of before, of certain, of enough, of ere, of far, of fore, of fresh, (also of afresh), of hard, of high, of light, of more, of new, (also of anew), of night, of ordinary, of the same. Now only in (all) of a sudden, or as represented by worn-down forms in a- (as afar, afresh, alight, anew). b. Followed by an adjective (or adverb), formerly forming adverbial phrases [compare French d'avant, de loin, de nouveau, etc.], as of before, of certain, of enough, of ere, of far, of fore , of fresh, (also of afresh), of hard, of high, of light, of more, of new, (also of anew), of night, of ordinary, of the same. Now only in (all) of a sudden , or as represented by worn-down forms in a-(as afar, afresh, alight, anew).

P2. Forming the last element of compound prepositions, as eg because of; by means of, by reason of; for fear of, for the sake of, for want of; in behalf of, in case of, in comparison of, in consequence of, in face of, in lieu of, in regard or respect of, in spite of, instead of; on account of, on behalf of, on condition of, on the point of; in front of, (in) back of, on top of. outside of; etc.: see the main words. P2. Forming the last element of compound prepositions, as eg because of; by means of, by reason of; for fear of, for the sake of, for want of; in behalf of, in case of, in comparison of, in consequence of, in face of, in lieu of, in regard or respect of, in spite of, instead of; on account of, on behalf of, on condition of, on the point of; in front of, (in) back of, on top of. outside of; etc.: see the main words.




This is why DEFINITION always has the last word!!!

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