pronoun \ˈhwe-thər, ˈwe-, (ˌ)(h)wə-\

Definition of WHETHER

archaic :  which one of the two
archaic :  whichever one of the two

Examples of WHETHER

  1. … we did not indeed know where it was, and so we might get a great deal, or a little, we did not know whether; … —Daniel Defoe, The Adventures of Captain Singleton, 1720

Origin of WHETHER

Middle English, from Old English hwæther, hwether; akin to Old High German hwedar which of two, Latin uter, Greek poteros, Old English hwā who — more at who
First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with WHETHER


conjunction \ˈhwe-thər, ˈwe-, (ˌ)(h)wə-\

: if it is or was true that

: if it is or was better

—used to indicate choices or possibilities

Full Definition of WHETHER

—used as a function word usually with correlative or or with or whether to indicate (1) until the early 19th century a direct question involving alternatives; (2) an indirect question involving stated or implied alternatives <decide whether he should agree or raise objections> <wondered whether to stay>; (3) alternative conditions or possibilities <see me no more, whether he be dead or no — Shakespeare> <seated him next to her whether by accident or design>
whether or no or whether or not
:  in any case <they've only been married a very few weeks, whether or no — Thomas Hardy>

Examples of WHETHER

  1. I don't know whether they were invited.
  2. She was uncertain whether to go or stay.
  3. That supposes I would have the wisdom to decide what is in fact right and what is wrong, and the humility to consider whether any action I could take would make things better or worse. —P. D. James, The Private Patient, 2008

Origin of WHETHER

(see 1whether)
First Known Use: before 12th century

Rhymes with WHETHER


Next Word in the Dictionary: whetrock
Previous Word in the Dictionary: whet (noun)
All Words Near: whether

Seen & Heard

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

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More