AskDefine | Define disjunctive

Dictionary Definition

disjunctive adj : serving or tending to divide or separate [ant: conjunctive]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. of a personal pronoun, not used in immediate conjunction with the verb of which the pronoun is the subject, examples:
    French moi 'I', 'me'
    Irish é 'he', 'him'



Extensive Definition

In logic and mathematics, or, also known as logical disjunction or inclusive disjunction is a logical operator that results in true whenever one or more of its operands are true. In grammar, or is a coordinating conjunction.


Logical disjunction is an operation on two logical values, typically the values of two propositions, that produces a value of false if and only if both of its operands are false. More generally a disjunction is a logical formula that can have one or more literals separated only by ORs. A single literal is often considered to be a degenerate disjunction.

Truth table

The truth table of p OR q (also written as p\orq (logic), p || q (in C-family languages in computer programming), or p + q (electronics)) is as follows:

Venn diagram

The Venn diagram of "p or q" (red is true)


The following properties apply to disjunction:
  • distributivity: (a \lor (b \land c)) \equiv ((a \lor b) \land (a \lor c))
(a \land (b \lor c)) \equiv ((a \land b) \lor (a \land c))
(a \lor (b \equiv c)) \equiv ((a \lor b) \equiv (a \lor c))
  • monotonicity: (a \rightarrow b) \rightarrow ((c \lor a) \rightarrow (c \lor b))
(a \rightarrow b) \rightarrow ((a \lor c) \rightarrow (b \lor c))
  • truth-preserving: The interpretation under which all variables are assigned a truth value of 'true' produces a truth value of 'true' as a result of disjunction.
  • falsehood-preserving: The interpretation under which all variables are assigned a truth value of 'false' produces a truth value of 'false' as a result of disjunction.


The mathematical symbol for logical disjunction varies in the literature. In addition to the word "or", the symbol "\or", deriving from the Latin word vel for "or", is commonly used for disjunction. For example: "A \or B " is read as "A or B ". Such a disjunction is false if both A and B are false. In all other cases it is true.
All of the following are disjunctions:
A \or B
\neg A \or B
A \or \neg B \or \neg C \or D \or \neg E
The corresponding operation in set theory is the set-theoretic union.

Applications in computer science

Operators corresponding to logical disjunction exist in most programming languages.

Bitwise operation

Disjunction is often used for bitwise operations. Examples:
  • 0 or 0 = 0
  • 0 or 1 = 1
  • 1 or 0 = 1
  • 1 or 1 = 1
  • 1010 or 1100 = 1110
The or operator can be used to set bits in a bitfield to 1, by or-ing the field with a constant field with the relevant bits set to 1.

Logical operation

Many languages distinguish between bitwise and logical disjunction by providing two distinct operators; in languages following C, bitwise disjunction is performed with the single pipe (|) and logical disjunction with the double pipe (||) operators.
Logical disjunction is usually short-circuited; that is, if the first (left) operand evaluates to true then the second (right) operand is not evaluated. The logical disjunction operator thus usually constitutes a sequence point.
Although in most languages the type of a logical disjunction expression is boolean and thus can only have the value true or false, in some (such as Python and JavaScript) the logical disjunction operator returns one of its operands; the first operand if it evaluates to a true value, and the second operand otherwise.


The union used in set theory is defined in terms of a logical disjunction: x ∈ A ∪ B if and only if (x ∈ A) ∨ (x ∈ B). Because of this, logical disjunction satisfies many of the same identities as set-theoretic union, such as associativity, commutativity, distributivity, and de Morgan's laws.


  • Boole, closely following analogy with ordinary mathematics, premised, as a necessary condition to the definition of "x + y", that x and y were mutually exclusive. Jevons, and practically all mathematical logicians after him, advocated, on various grounds, the definition of "logical addition" in a form which does not necessitate mutual exclusiveness.
disjunctive in Bulgarian: Логическа дизюнкция
disjunctive in Czech: Disjunkce
disjunctive in German: Disjunktion
disjunctive in Estonian: Disjunktsioon
disjunctive in Spanish: Disyunción lógica
disjunctive in Esperanto: Logika aŭo
disjunctive in French: Disjonction logique
disjunctive in Korean: 논리합
disjunctive in Indonesian: Logika disjungsi
disjunctive in Italian: Disgiunzione inclusiva
disjunctive in Hebrew: או (לוגיקה)
disjunctive in Lithuanian: Disjunkcija
disjunctive in Macedonian: Логичка дисјункција
disjunctive in Dutch: Logische disjunctie
disjunctive in Japanese: 論理和
disjunctive in Norwegian: Inklusiv disjunksjon
disjunctive in Polish: Alternatywa
disjunctive in Portuguese: Disjunção lógica
disjunctive in Simple English: Inclusive disjunction
disjunctive in Slovak: Disjunkcia (logika)
disjunctive in Serbian: Дисјункција
disjunctive in Swedish: Disjunktion (logik)
disjunctive in Thai: การเลือกเชิงตรรกศาสตร์
disjunctive in Ukrainian: Диз'юнкція (логічна)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ablative, adjectival, adjective, adverb, adverbial, adversative conjunction, alternative, attributive, biodegradable, broken, broken off, chopped-off, choppy, conjunction, conjunctive adverb, coordinating conjunction, copulative, copulative conjunction, correlative conjunction, corrosive, decomposable, decomposing, decousu, degradable, dilapidated, disconnected, discontinued, discontinuous, discrete, discretional, disintegrable, disintegrated, disintegrating, disintegrative, disjunctive conjunction, disruptive, dividing, elective, episodic, erosive, exclamatory noun, fitful, form class, form word, function class, gerundive, herky-jerky, incoherent, interjection, intermittent, interrupted, irregular, jagged, jerky, moldering, noncontinuous, nonlinear, nonsequential, nonserial, nonuniform, optional, parenthetic, part of speech, participle, particle, parting, past participle, patchy, perfect participle, preposition, present participle, ravaged, resolvent, ruinous, scrappy, separating, separative, snatchy, solvent, spasmodic, spotty, subordinating conjunction, suspended, unconnected, unjoined, unsuccessive, verbal adjective, volitional, voluntary, worn
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