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adverb where·fore \ˈhwer-ˌfȯr, ˈwer-\

Simple Definition of wherefore

  • —used in the past to mean “why”

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of wherefore

  1. 1 :  for what reason or purpose :  why

  2. 2 :  therefore

Examples of wherefore in a sentence

  1. <it was getting late, and wherefore we decided to move on>

Did You Know?

In our example sentence, Juliet is not inquiring into her beloved's whereabouts. Rather she is asking why it is that Romeo must be Romeo, a member of the Montague family and, therefore, an enemy of Juliet's own family, the Capulets. Yet, wherefore does "wherefore" mean "why"? Starting in the early 13th century, a number of new words were formed by combining "where" with a preposition. In such words, "where" had the meaning of "what" or "which," giving the English language such adverbs as "wherein" ("in what"), "whereon" ("on what"), and "wherefore" ("for what"). English speakers have largely dropped "wherefore" in favor of "why," but the noun wherefore, meaning "an answer or statement giving an explanation," continues to be used, particularly in the phrase "the whys and wherefores."

Origin and Etymology of wherefore

Middle English wherfor, wherfore, from where, wher + for, fore for

First Known Use: 13th century



noun where·fore

Definition of wherefore

  1. :  an answer or statement giving an explanation :  reason <wants to know the whys and wherefores>

Examples of wherefore in a sentence

  1. <demanded to know the whys and wherefores for the decision>


First Known Use of wherefore


Rhymes with wherefore

abhor, adore, afore, and/or, as for, ashore, backdoor, bailor, bandore, Bangor, bedsore, before, bezoar, bookstore, box score, but for, call for, candor, captor, centaur, chain store, claymore, closed-door, cold sore, cold store, condor, Côte d'Or, decor, deplore, dime-store, Dior, done for, donor, downpour, drugstore, Dutch door, encore, ephor, explore, eyesore, fall for, feoffor, fetor, Fillmore, first floor, flexor, folklore, footsore, foreshore, fourscore, French door, full-bore, Gabor, galore, Glen More, go for, ground floor, gun for, hard-core, hog score, ichor, ignore, implore, Indore, indoor, in for, inshore, in-store, Kotor, Lahore, lakeshore, lector, lee shore, lessor, line score, look for, Luxor, memoir, mentor, Mysore, nearshore, Nestor, next-door, offshore, onshore, outdoor, outpour, phosphor, psywar, rancor, rapport, raptor, raw score, Realtor, restore, rhetor, savior, seafloor, seashore, sector, seignior, Senghor, senhor, sensor, settlor, Seymour, signor, smoothbore, s'more, soft-core, sophomore, stand for, stentor, stertor, storm door, Strathmore, stressor, stridor, subfloor, swear for, Tagore, take for, temblor, tensor, therefor, therefore, threescore, Timor, trapdoor, turgor, uproar, vendor, what's more, wild boar, woodlore, z-score

WHEREFORE Defined for Kids


adverb where·fore \ˈhwer-ˌfȯr, ˈwer-\

Definition of wherefore for Students

  1. :  1why

Seen and Heard

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


articulated in the throat

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