nor 1 (nôr; nər when unstressed)
And not; or not; not either: has neither phoned nor written us; life forms that are neither plants nor animals.
Usage Note: When neither begins a balanced construction that negates two parts of a sentence, nor, not or, must introduce the second part. Thus standard usage requires He is neither able nor (not or) willing to go. Similarly, nor (not or) must be used to start the second of two negative independent clauses: He cannot find anyone now, nor does he expect to find anyone in the future. Jane will never compromise with Bill, nor will Bill compromise with Jane. Note that in these constructions nor causes an inversion of the auxiliary verb and the subject (does he... will Bill). However, when a verb is negated by not or never, and is followed by a negative verb phrase (but not an entire clause), either or or nor is acceptable: He will not permit the change or (or nor) even consider it. · In noun phrases of the type no this or that, or is more common than nor: He has no experience or interest (less frequently nor interest) in chemistry. Or is also more common than nor when such a noun phrase, adjective phrase, or adverb phrase is introduced by not: He is not a philosopher or a statesman. They were not rich or happy. The senator did not speak persuasively or movingly on the issue. See Usage Notes at neither, or1.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus