Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

what for

Definition of what for

  1. :  for what purpose or reason <“The principal wants to see you.” “What for?”> <What did you do that for?> <What is this switch for?>



Word by Word Definitions

whatplay
  1. : used as an interrogative expressing inquiry about the identity, nature, or value of an object or matter

    : often used to ask for repetition of an utterance or part of an utterance not properly heard or understood

    :  who

  1. :  why

    :  in what respect :  how

  1. : used as an interrogative expressing inquiry about the identity, nature, or value of a person, object, or matter

    :  whatever

    :  any


2

what for

noun

Definition of what for

informal + somewhat old-fashioned

  1. :  harsh words or punishment <Just wait until he gets home. I'll give him what for!>



Word by Word Definitions

whatplay
  1. : used as an interrogative expressing inquiry about the identity, nature, or value of an object or matter

    : often used to ask for repetition of an utterance or part of an utterance not properly heard or understood

    :  who

  1. :  why

    :  in what respect :  how

  1. : used as an interrogative expressing inquiry about the identity, nature, or value of a person, object, or matter

    :  whatever

    :  any


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up what for? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 6, 2016

an official order, decree, or edict

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez duvet spindrift kittly-benders
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ