What does what mean?

Definitions for what
ʰwʌt, ʰwɒt, wʌt, wɒt; unstressed ʰwət, wətwhat

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word what.


  1. what(Adverb)

    In some manner or degree; in part; partly; usually followed by with.

    What with singing and joking, the time passed quickly.

  2. what(Adverb)

    Such; this is; that is.

  3. what(Adverb)


  4. what(Adverb)

    Used to introduce each of two coordinate phrases or concepts; both...and.

  5. what(Pronoun)

    which thing, event, circumstance, etc.: used interrogatively in asking for the specification of an identity, quantity, quality, etc.

  6. what(Pronoun)

    An interrogative which asks "Don't you agree?"

    It's rather late, what?

  7. what(Pronoun)

    that; which

  8. what(Pronoun)

    that which; those that; the thing that

  9. what(Interjection)

    which; which kind of.

  10. what(Interjection)

    an expression of surprise or disbelief.

  11. what(Interjection)

    is that not true?

    It's a nice day, what? (sometimes repeated, e.g.: What-what?)

  12. what(Interjection)

    how much; how great (used in an exclamation)

    It's a nice day, what? (sometimes repeated, e.g.: What-what?)

  13. Origin: from hwæt, from hwat, from kʷos (which also gave us who).

Webster Dictionary

  1. What

    as an interrogative pronoun, used in asking questions regarding either persons or things; as, what is this? what did you say? what poem is this? what child is lost?

  2. What

    as an exclamatory word: -- (a) Used absolutely or independently; -- often with a question following

  3. What

    used adjectively, meaning how remarkable, or how great; as, what folly! what eloquence! what courage!

  4. What

    sometimes prefixed to adjectives in an adverbial sense, as nearly equivalent to how; as, what happy boys!

  5. What

    as a relative pronoun

  6. What

    used substantively with the antecedent suppressed, equivalent to that which, or those [persons] who, or those [things] which; -- called a compound relative

  7. What

    used adjectively, equivalent to the . . . which; the sort or kind of . . . which; rarely, the . . . on, or at, which

  8. What

    used adverbially in a sense corresponding to the adjectival use; as, he picked what good fruit he saw

  9. What

    whatever; whatsoever; what thing soever; -- used indefinitely

  10. What

    used adverbially, in part; partly; somewhat; -- with a following preposition, especially, with, and commonly with repetition

  11. What(noun)

    something; thing; stuff

  12. What

    why? For what purpose? On what account?

  13. Origin: [AS. hwt, neuter of hw who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. 182. See Who.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. What

    hwot, interrog. pron. applied both to persons and things—also used elliptically and as an interjection: (Shak.) used to express a summons, or as a mere expletive.—interrog. adj. of what sort, how much, how great—also used in an intensive manner.—rel. pron. that which, such ... as: (Shak.) any, who, which.—indef. pron. something: (Spens.) a portion, bit.—adv. (obs.) why? to what degree?—conj. so much as: that, as in but what, that ... not.—ns. What′abouts, the things one is occupied about; What′-d'ye-call (-it, -'em), a word substituted for the name of a thing (or person) because of forgetfulness, or in contempt.—adjs. What′en, What′ten (Scot.), what kind of.—prons. Whatev′er, Whate'er′, anything which: (coll.) what?—adj. any or all that, no matter what.—adjs. What′-like (coll.), of what kind; What′na (Scot.), same as Whaten.—pron. What′not, whatever or whoever.—adj. What′so, of whatever kind.—pron. whosoever.—adjs. Whatsoev′er, Whatsoe'er′, of whatever kind; Whatsomev′er (coll.), whatsoever.—What an if (Shak.), what of; What else, could anything else be the case? What ... for (Shak.), what kind of; What ho! a loud summons; What if, what would happen if? What not, elliptical for 'what may I not say?' implying the presence or existence of many other things; What of, what comes of? what do you think of? What's what, the real or genuine thing; What though, what matters it though, notwithstanding; What time, at the very time when; What with, by reason of. [A.S. hwæt, neut. of hwa, who; Ger. was, L. quid.]

Suggested Resources

  1. WHAT

    What does WHAT stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the WHAT acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'what' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #53

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'what' in Written Corpus Frequency: #21

Anagrams for what »

  1. hawt, thaw, wath

  2. Hawt

  3. Thaw

  4. Wath


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of what in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of what in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Images & Illustrations of what

  1. whatwhatwhat

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for what

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"what." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 26 Apr. 2019. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/what>.

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