Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition

Webster's Dictionary 1828

Americal Dictionary of the English Language

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OF, preposition ov. [Gr.]

1. From or out of; proceeding from, as the cause, source, means, author or agent bestowing.

I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you. 1 Corinthians 11:1.

For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts. Joshua 11:1.

It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed.

Lamentations 3:1.

The whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. Proverbs 16:1.

Go, inquire of the Lord for me. 2 Chronicles 34:2.

That holy thing that shall be born of thee. Luke 1:1.

Hence of is the sign of the genitive case, the case that denotes production; as the son of man, the son proceeding from man, produced from man. This is the primary sense, although we now say, produced by man. 'Part of these were slain; ' that is, a number separate, for part denotes a division; the sense then is, a number from or out of the whole were slain. So also, 'some of these were slain; ' that is, some from or out of others. 'I have known him of old, or of a child; ' that is, from old times, from a child. 'He is of the race of kings; ' that is, descended from kings. 'He is of noble blood or birth, or of ignoble origin.' 'No particle of matter, or no body can move of itself; ' that is, by force or strength proceeding from itself, derived from itself.

'The quarrel is not now of fame and tribute, or of wrongs done; ' that is, from fame or wrongs, as the cause, and we may render it concerning, about, relating to.

'Of this little he had some to spare; ' that is, some from the whole. It may be rendered out of

'Of all our heroes thou canst boast alone; ' that is, thou alone from the number of heroes. This may be rendered among.

'The best of men, the most renowned of all; ' that is, the best from the number of men, the most renowned from the whole; denoting primarily separation, like part.

'I was well entertained of the English Consul; ' that is, entertained from the Consul; my entertainment was from the Consul. This use is obsolete, and we use by in lieu of it.

'This does of right belong to us; ' that is, from right, de jure; our title proceeds from right.

'The chariot was all of cedar; ' that is, made from cedar. So we say, made of gold, made of clay; an application corresponding with our modern use of from; manufactured from wool, or from raw materials. Hence we say, cloth consisting of wool. 'This is a scheme of his own devising; ' that is, from his own devising or device. 'If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth; ' that is, as from the ability, as the source of action.

'Of happy, he is become miserable; ' that is, from happy; from being happy, he has passed to being miserable. 'Of necessity this must prove ruinous; ' that is, from necessity, as the cause or source. 'Of a hundred take fifty; ' that is, from a hundred, or out of a hundred, from among a hundred.

OF sometimes implies a part or share.

It is a duty to communicate of those blessings we have received.

From is then the primary sense of this preposition; a sense retained in off, the same word differently written for distinction. But this sense is appropriately lost in many of its applications; as a man of genius, a man of courage, a man of rare endowments, a fossil of a red color, or of a hexagonal figure. he lost all hope of relief. This is an affair of the cabinet. He is a man of decayed fortune. What is the price of corn? We say that of in these and similar phrases, denotes property or possession, making of the sign of the genitive or possessive case. These applications, however, all proceeded from the same primary sense. That which proceeds from or is produced by a person, is naturally the property or possession of that person, as the son of John; and this idea of property in the course of time would pass to things not thus produced, but still bearing a relation to another thing. Thus we say, the father of a son, as well as the son of a father. In both senses, other languages also use the same word, as in the French de, de la, and Italian di, dell. of then has one primary sense, from, departing, issuing, proceeding from or out of and a derivative sense denoting possession or property.