What does whether mean?

Definitions for whether
ˈʰwɛð ər, ˈwɛð-whether

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

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  1. whetherpronoun

    Which of two.

  2. whetherconjunction

    ; if, whether or not.

    Do you know whether he's coming?

  3. whetherconjunction

    Introducing a direct interrogative question which indicates doubt between alternatives.

    whether ys it easyer to saye to the sicke of the palsey, thy synnes ar forgeven the: or to saye, aryse, take uppe thy beed and walke?

  4. whetherconjunction

    Used to introduce an indirect interrogative question that consists of multiple alternative possibilities.

    He chose the correct answer, but I don't know whether it was by luck or by skill.

  5. whetherconjunction

    Without a correlative, used to introduce a simple indirect question.

    Do you know whether he's coming?

  6. whetherconjunction

    Used to introduce a disjunctive adverbial clause which qualifies the main clause of the sentence.

    He's coming, whether you like it or not.

  7. Etymology: Old English hwæþer, from Proto-Germanic *hwaþeraz, comparative form of *hwaz ("who"). Cognate with English either, German weder ("neither"), Swedish var, Icelandic hvor ("each of two, which of two").

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Whetheradverb

    A particle expressing one part of a disjunctive question in opposition to the other.

    Etymology: hwœðer , Saxon.

    As they, so we have likewise a publick form, how to serve God both morning and evening, whether sermons may be had or no. Richard Hooker.

    Resolve whether you will or no. William Shakespeare, Rich. III.

    Perkins’s three counsellors registered themselves sanctuarymen; and whether upon pardon obtained, or continuance within the privilege, they were not proceeded with. Francis Bacon.

    If we adjoin to the lords, whether they prevail or not, we engulph ourselves into assured danger. John Hayward.

    Then did’st thou found that order, whether love
    Or victory thy royal thoughts did move,
    Each was a noble cause. John Denham.

    Epictetus forbids a man, on such an occasion, to consult with the oracle whether he should do it or no, it being necessary to be done. Decay of Piety.

    Whether by health or sickness, life or death, mercy is still contriving and carrying on the spiritual good of all who love God. Robert South, Sermons.

    This assistance is only offered to men, and not forced upon them, whether they will or no. John Tillotson.

    When our foreign trade exceeds our exportation of commodities, our money must go to pay our debts, whether melted or not. John Locke.

    Whether it be that the richest of these discoveries fall not into the pope’s hands, or for some other reason, the prince of Farnese will keep this seat from being turned up, ’till one of his own family is in the chair. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

  2. Whetherpronoun.

    Which of two.

    Whither when they came, they fell at words
    Whether of them should be the lord of lords. Hubberd’s Tale.

    Whether of them twain did the will of his father? Mat. xxi.

    Whether is more beneficial, that we should have the same yearly quantity of heat distributed equally, or a greater share in Summer, and in Winter a less? Richard Bentley.

    Let them take whether they will: if they deduce all animals from single pairs, even to make the second of a pair, is to write after a copy. Richard Bentley.


  1. whether

    An interrogative word or question word is a function word used to ask a question, such as what, which, when, where, who, whom, whose, why, whether and how. They are sometimes called wh-words, because in English most of them start with wh- (compare Five Ws). They may be used in both direct questions (Where is he going?) and in indirect questions (I wonder where he is going). In English and various other languages the same forms are also used as relative pronouns in certain relative clauses (The country where he was born) and certain adverb clauses (I go where he goes). It can also be used as a modal, since question words are more likely to appear in modal sentences, like (Why was he walking?) A particular type of interrogative word is the interrogative particle, which serves to convert a statement into a yes–no question, without having any other meaning. Examples include est-ce que in French, ли li in Russian, czy in Polish, чи chy in Ukrainian, ĉu in Esperanto, āyā آیا in Persian, কি ki in Bengali, 嗎/吗 ma in Mandarin Chinese, mı/mi in Turkish, pa in Ladin, か ka in Japanese, 까 kka in Korean, ko/kö in Finnish and (да) ли (da) li in Serbo-Croatian. "Is it true that..." would be a similar construct in English. Such particles contrast with other interrogative words, which form what are called wh-questions rather than yes–no questions. For more information about the grammatical rules for forming questions in various languages, see Interrogative.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Whether

    which (of two); which one (of two); -- used interrogatively and relatively

  2. Whether

    in case; if; -- used to introduce the first or two or more alternative clauses, the other or others being connected by or, or by or whether. When the second of two alternatives is the simple negative of the first it is sometimes only indicated by the particle not or no after the correlative, and sometimes it is omitted entirely as being distinctly implied in the whether of the first

  3. Etymology: [OE. whether, AS. hwer; akin to OS. hwear, OFries. hweder, OHG. hwedar, wedar, G. weder, conj., neither, Icel. hvrr whether, Goth. hwaar, Lith. katras, L. uter, Gr. , , Skr. katara, from the interrogatively pronoun, in AS. hw who. . See Who, and cf. Either, Neither, Or, conj.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Whether

    hweth′ėr, interrog. and rel. pron. signifying which of two.—conj. which of two alternatives.—interrog. adv. introducing the first of two questions, the second being introduced by or—also conj.Whether or no (coll.), in any case, surely. [A.S. hwæther, from hwá, who, with the old comp. suffix -ther; cog. with Goth. hwathar, Ger. weder; also with L. uter, Gr. koteros, Sans. katara. Cf. Other and Alter.]

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'whether' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #277

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'whether' in Written Corpus Frequency: #265

How to pronounce whether?

How to say whether in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of whether in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of whether in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of whether in a Sentence

  1. Sliman Bensmaia:

    On the short term, you want to know whether you are touching an object, and how much pressure you are exerting on it, those basic things that you need to hold things.

  2. Peter Beyer:

    There are justified doubts about whether a company that is close to the Chinese government can credibly achieve these security standards, which are imperative for such highly sensitive applications.

  3. Lee Brown:

    Christopher Peterson have a records department at every facility that's double-checking and making sure the records line up, those people would have potentially had access to paperwork to determine whether this the right guy.

  4. Adam Schiff:

    I’d like to know what these documents were. I’d like to know what the [special counsel’s] assessment is, whether there was any risk of exposure and what the harm would be and whether any mitigation needs to be done, i think that would be appropriate and consistent with what we requested in the case of Mar-a-Lago.

  5. Matthew Davis:

    The time to respond to bullying, and to support victims of bullying, is during adolescence when it occurs, don’t wait to see whether it gets better ; make sure the teen bullying victim knows that he/she is not to blame.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for whether

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    identifying word or words by which someone or something is called and classified or distinguished from others
    • A. extroversive
    • B. ambidextrous
    • C. adscripted
    • D. appellative

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