What does whence mean?

Definitions for whence
ʰwɛns, wɛnswhence

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word whence.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. whenceadverb

    from what place, source, or cause


  1. whenceadverb

    From where; from which place or source.

    Whence came I?

  2. whenceconjunction

    From where.

  3. whenceconjunction

    From which.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Whenceadverb

    Etymology: Formed from where by the same analogy with hence from here.

    Whence, feeble nature! shall we summon aid,
    If by our pity and our pride betray’d? Matthew Prior.

    Their practice was to look no farther before them than the next line; whence it will follow, that they can drive to no certain point. Dryden.

    Grateful to acknowledge whence his good descends. John Milton.

    Recent urine, distilled with a fixed alkali, is turned into an alkaline nature; whence alkaline salts, taken into a human body, have the power of turning its benign salts into fiery and volatile. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.

    I have shewn whence the understanding may get all the ideas it has. John Locke.

    From whence he views, with his black-lidded eye,
    Whatso the heaven in his wide vault contains. Edmund Spenser.

    To leave his wife, to leave his babes,
    His mansion, and his titles, in a place
    From whence himself does fly. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    He ask’d his guide,
    What and of whence was he who press’d the hero’s side? John Dryden, Æn.


  1. whence

    Whence is an adverb primarily used in formal or literary language. It means "from what place or source." It can also mean "from which" or "from where," and is sometimes used to indicate origin or starting point. In modern usage, it can also suggest a cause or reason.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Whenceadverb

    from what place; hence, from what or which source, origin, antecedent, premise, or the like; how; -- used interrogatively

  2. Whenceadverb

    from what or which place, source, material, cause, etc.; the place, source, etc., from which; -- used relatively

  3. Etymology: [OE. whennes, whens (with adverbial s, properly a genitive ending; -- see -wards), also whenne, whanene, AS. hwanan, hwanon, hwonan, hwanone; akin to D. when. See When, and cf. Hence, Thence.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of whence in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of whence in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of whence in a Sentence

  1. Niccolo Machiavelli:

    He who blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss.

  2. Omar Khayym:

    Into this Universe, and Why not knowing Nor Whence, like Water, willy-nilly flowing And out of it, as Wind along the Waste, I know not Wither, willy-nilly blowing.

  3. Samantha Heller:

    Most people have no idea how much unnecessary sugar they are eating or from whence it comes, while sugar is a perfectly fine ingredient in many recipes, we are consuming far too much of it and in high amounts in foods that have little or no nutritional value. With the new label consumers will be able to identify the foods that perhaps they should be eating less of.

  4. Jean Paul Friedrich Richter:

    Every man has a rainy corner of his life whence comes foul weather which follows him.

  5. James Arthur Baldwin:

    Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.

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Translations for whence

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"whence." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/whence>.

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