what·​about·​ery ˌ(h)wä-tə-ˈbau̇-tə-rē How to pronounce whataboutery (audio)
plural whatabouteries
chiefly British
: whataboutism
… blame can be accepted without some finger-pointing immediately following it but, especially online, whataboutery still abounds.Liam Bryce
"Whataboutery" is deployed by people who are themselves accused of a charge, and who wish to distract rather than defend themselves—it is a misdirection technique of the guilty.Kate Maltby
… there was always the lurking suspicion that the promised new approach could not be sustained and that old whatabouteries would inevitably surface …Belfast Telegraph Online

Examples of whataboutery in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For Republicans to make this case is not another tedious and empty example in political whataboutery—the endless process of excusing your own faults by pointing to those of others. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 7 Nov. 2022 America's 2003 invasion of Iraq and the disaster that followed was a gift Putin used to turn any debate into another round of exhausting whataboutery, which in turn made Putin a hero for the European far-left. Natalia Antelava, CNN, 1 Mar. 2022 The synonymous term whataboutery is more common in British English. Gabriela Miranda, USA TODAY, 28 Oct. 2021 For those steeped in such diplomatic talks, Putin’s whataboutery was entirely predictable. Philip Elliott, Time, 17 June 2021 This is where a flimsy exercise in whataboutery as a defence against structural sexism and misogyny comes into play: the hashtag #notallmen. Vicky Spratt, refinery29.com, 23 Apr. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whataboutery.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


what about [X]? + -ery

First Known Use

1974, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of whataboutery was in 1974

Dictionary Entries Near whataboutery

Cite this Entry

“Whataboutery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whataboutery. Accessed 25 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!