pronoun wheth·er \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 wheth·er \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

WHETHER OR NOT Defined for Kids


conjunction wheth·er \ˈhwe-thər, ˈwe-\

Definition of WHETHER for Kids

:  if it is or was true that <See whether they've left.>
:  if it is or was better <I wondered whether to stay or go home.>
—used to introduce two or more situations of which only one can occur <The game will be played whether it rains or shines.>


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