Definition of for preposition from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//fə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//fər//
    ; BrE strong form BrE//fɔː(r)//
    ; NAmE strong form NAmE//fɔːr//
    For the special uses of for in phrasal verbs, look at the entries for the verbs. For example fall for somebody is in the phrasal verb section at fall.
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  1. 1  used to show who is intended to have or use something or where something is intended to be put There's a letter for you. It's a book for children. We got a new table for the dining room. This is the place for me (= I like it very much).
  2. 2  in order to help somebody/something What can I do for you (= how can I help you)? Can you translate this letter for me? I took her classes for her while she was sick. soldiers fighting for their country
  3. 3  concerning somebody/something They are anxious for her safety. Fortunately for us, the weather changed.
  4. 4  as a representative of I am speaking for everyone in this department.
  5. 5  employed by She's working for IBM.
  6. 6  meaning Shaking your head for ‘No’ is not universal.
  7. 7  in support of somebody/something Are you for or against the proposal? They voted for independence in a referendum. There's a strong case for postponing the exam. I'm all for people having fun. ‘What does Naomi think about the move?’ ‘She’s all for it.’ compare against (2)
  8. 8  used to show purpose or function a machine for slicing bread Let's go for a walk. Are you learning English for pleasure or for your work? What did you do that for (= Why did you do that)?
  9. 9  used to show a reason or cause The town is famous for its cathedral. She gave me a watch for my birthday. He got an award for bravery. I couldn't speak for laughing. He didn’t answer for fear of hurting her.
  10. 10  in order to obtain something He came to me for advice. For more information, call this number. There were over fifty applicants for the job.
  11. 11  in exchange for something Copies are available for two dollars each. I'll swap these two bottles for that one.
  12. 12  considering what can be expected from somebody/something The weather was warm for the time of year. She's tall for her age. He’s not bad for a beginner. That's too much responsibility for a child.
  13. 13better, happier, etc. for something better, happier, etc. following something You'll feel better for a good night's sleep. This room would look more cheerful for a spot of paint.
  14. 14  used to show where somebody/something is going Is this the bus for Chicago? She knew she was destined for a great future.
  15. 15  used to show a length of time I'm going away for a few days. That's all the news there is for now.
  16. 16  used to show that something is arranged or intended to happen at a particular time an appointment for May 12 We're invited for 7.30.
  17. 17  used to show the occasion when something happens I'm warning you for the last time—stop talking!
  18. 18  used to show a distance The road went on for miles and miles.
  19. 19  used to say how difficult, necessary, pleasant, etc. something is that somebody might do or has done It's useless for us to continue. There's no need for you to go. For her to have survived such an ordeal was remarkable. The box is too heavy for me to lift. Is it clear enough for you to read?
  20. 20used to show who can or should do something It's not for me to say why he left. How to spend the money is for you to decide.
  21. Word OriginOld English, probably a reduction of a Germanic preposition meaning ‘before’ (in place or time); related to German für, also to fore.Idioms
    be in for it (British English also be for it)
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    (informal) to be going to get into trouble or be punished We'd better hurry or we'll be in for it.
    1. 1despite For all its clarity of style, the book is not easy reading.
    2. 2used to say that something is not important or of no interest or value to you/somebody For all I know she's still living in Boston. You can do what you like, for all I care. For all the good it's done we might as well not have bothered.
    there’s/that’s… for you
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    (often ironic) used to say that something is a typical example of its kind She might at least have called to explain. There's gratitude for you.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: for