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.

Wiktionary

  1. what(Adverb)

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

    What with singing and joking, the time passed quickly.

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

  2. what(Adverb)

    Such; this is; that is.

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

  3. what(Adverb)

    Why?

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

  4. what(Adverb)

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

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

  5. what(Pronoun)

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

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

  6. what(Pronoun)

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

    It's rather late, what?

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

  7. what(Pronoun)

    that; which

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

  8. what(Pronoun)

    that which; those that; the thing that

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

  9. what(Interjection)

    which; which kind of.

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

  10. what(Interjection)

    an expression of surprise or disbelief.

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

  11. what(Interjection)

    is that not true?

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

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

  12. what(Interjection)

    how much; how great (used in an exclamation)

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

    Etymology: 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?

    Etymology: [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.]

  2. What

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

    Etymology: [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.]

  3. What

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

    Etymology: [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.]

  4. What

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

    Etymology: [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.]

  5. What

    as a relative pronoun

    Etymology: [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.]

  6. What

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

    Etymology: [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.]

  7. What

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

    Etymology: [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.]

  8. What

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

    Etymology: [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.]

  9. What

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

    Etymology: [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.]

  10. What

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

    Etymology: [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.]

  11. What(noun)

    something; thing; stuff

    Etymology: [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.]

  12. What

    why? For what purpose? On what account?

    Etymology: [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.]

Editors Contribution

  1. what

    To describe or ask.

    We know what is required to ensure our wedding proceeds and we love each other to the depths of our souls.

    Submitted by MaryC on February 29, 2020  

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

How to pronounce what?

  1. Alex
    Alex
    US English
    Daniel
    Daniel
    British
    Karen
    Karen
    Australian
    Veena
    Veena
    Indian

How to say what in sign language?

  1. what

Numerology

  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. whatwhatwhatwhatwhat

Popularity rank by frequency of use

what#1#56#10000

Translations for what

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"what." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 May 2020. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/what>.

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