Listen: UK UK-RP UK-Yorkshire Irish Scottish US Southern Jamaican /wɒt/
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017 what /hwʌt, hwɑt, wʌt, wɑt;
unstressed hwət, wət/ USA pronunciation pron.
(used in questions as a request for information): What is your phone number? What is your wife's name? What is the matter?
(used in questions to ask about the character, origin, identity, or worth of a person or thing): What is the meaning of life? What is wealth without friends?
(used in questions to ask for a repetition of words or information not fully understood): You need what?
(used in questions) how much?: What does it cost?
(used to introduce a clause) that which; whatever; as much or as many as: I will send what was promised ( = I will send the thing that was promised). We will stick together come what may (= whatever happens).
(used to indicate that there is more to follow, or that there are additional possibilities, alternatives, etc.): You know what? Shall we go or what?
(used to introduce an exclamation, or to make stronger the next word or noun): What luck! What an idea!
British Termsdon't you agree?: An unusual chap, what? n.
[ countable ]
the true nature or identity of something, or the sum or total of its characteristics: a lecture on the whats and hows of crop rotation. adj.
(used to signal a question): What time is it?
whatever; whichever: Take what supplies you need. adv.
to what extent or degree?: What does it matter?
(used to introduce a prepositional phrase beginning with and conveying the cause of something): [with ] What with storms and all, their return was delayed. interj.
(used to show shock or surprise, and may then be followed by a question or phrase): What, no kiss? Idioms
Informal Terms, Idioms so what, (used to express indifference or contempt): They're rich, so what?
Idioms what for:
why: What did you do that for?
Idioms what have you, other things of the same kind; so forth: They stole money, jewels, and what have you.
Idioms what if, what would be the outcome if; suppose that: What if we get lost?
Idioms what it takes, whatever is necessary for success: Do you have what it takes to become a business executive? Informal Terms, Idioms what's what, the true situation: Let's find out what's what around here. WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017 what
(hwut, hwot, wut, wot;
unstressed hwət, wət), USA pronunciation pron.
(used interrogatively as a request for specific information): What is the matter?
(used interrogatively to inquire about the character, occupation, etc., of a person): What does he do?
(used interrogatively to inquire as to the origin, identity, etc., of something): What are those birds?
(used interrogatively to inquire as to the worth, usefulness, force, or importance of something): What is wealth without friends?
(used interrogatively to request a repetition of words or information not fully understood, usually used in elliptical constructions): You need what?
(used interrogatively to inquire the reason or purpose of something, usually used in elliptical constructions): What of it?
how much?: What does it cost?
(used relatively to indicate that which): I will send what was promised.
whatever; anything that: Say what you please. Come what may.
the kind of thing or person that: He said what everyone expected he would. They are just what I was expecting.
as much as; as many as: We should each give what we can.
the thing or fact that (used in parenthetic clauses): He went to the meeting and, what was worse, insisted on speaking.
(used to indicate more to follow, additional possibilities, alternatives, etc.): You know what? Shall we go or what?
(used as an intensifier in exclamatory phrases, often fol. by an indefinite article): What luck! What an idea!
British Termsdon't you agree?: An unusual chap, what?
Slang Terms that; [Nonstandard. ] which; who: She's the one what told me.
Slang Terms Say what? (used esp. among teenagers) What's that you say? Would you repeat that?
Informal Terms So what? (an expression of disinterest, disinclination, or contempt.)
what have you, other things of the same kind; so forth: money, jewels, stocks, and what have you.
why: What are you doing that for? a punishment or scolding.
what if, what would be the outcome if; suppose that: What if everyone who was invited comes?
what it takes, something that enables one to achieve success or attain a desired end, as good looks, ability, or money: There's a young woman who has what it takes to get along in the world.
Informal Terms what's what, the true situation; all the facts: It's high time you told him what's what. n.
the true nature or identity of something, or the sum of its characteristics: a lecture on the whats and hows of crop rotation. adj.
(used interrogatively before nouns): What news? What clothes shall I pack?
whatever: Take what supplies you need. adv.
to what extent or degree? how much?: What does it matter?
(used to introduce a prepositional phrase beginning with with): What with storms and all, their return was delayed.
for what reason or purpose? why? [Obs. ] interj.
(used in exclamatory expressions, often fol. by a question): What, no salt? conj.
Slang Terms as much as; [Older Use. ] as far as: He helps me what he can. Informal Terms but what, but that; but who; who or that … not: Who knows but what the sun may still shine.
bef. 900; Middle English; Old English hwæt; cognate with German was, Dutch wat, Old Norse hvat; akin to Gothic hwa, Latin quod, Greek tí
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
what / wɒt; ( unstressed) wət/ determiner used with a noun in requesting further information about the identity or categorization of something: what job does he do? (: as pronoun) what is her address? (: used in indirect questions) does he know what man did this?, tell me what he said the (person, thing, persons, or things) that: we photographed what animals we could see (: as pronoun) bring me what you've written, come what may (intensifier; used in exclamations): what a good book! adv in what respect? to what degree?: what do you care? pron what about ⇒ what do you think, know, feel, etc, concerning? what for ⇒ for what purpose? why? informal a punishment or reprimand (esp in the phrase give ( a person) what for) what have you ⇒ someone, something, or somewhere unknown or unspecified: cars, motorcycles, or what have you what if ⇒ what would happen if? what difference would it make if? what matter ⇒ what does it matter? what's what ⇒ informal the true or real state of affairs Etymology: Old English hwæt; related to Old Frisian whet, Old High German hwaz (German was), Old Norse hvatr
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