what·​ev·​er | \ (h)wät-ˈe-vər, (h)wət- How to pronounce whatever (audio) \

Definition of whatever

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : anything or everything that take whatever you want
b : no matter what whatever he says, they won't believe him
c : whatnot enjoys skiing, hiking, or whatever
2 : what sense 1a(1) used to express astonishment or perplexitywhatever do you mean by that



Definition of whatever (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : any … that : all … that buy peace … on whatever terms could be obtained— C. S. Forester
b : no matter what money, in whatever hands, will confer power— Samuel Johnson
2 : of any kind at all used after the substantive it modifies with any or with an expressed or implied negativein any order whatever— W. G. Moultonno food whatever



Definition of whatever (Entry 3 of 3)

: in any case : whatever the case may be sometimes used interjectionally to suggest the unimportance of an issue or decision between alternativesgo see a movie, watch TV,—whatever

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Synonyms for whatever

Synonyms: Pronoun

Synonyms: Adverb

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Examples of whatever in a Sentence

Pronoun “What's that smell?” “I don't know, but whatever it is, it's awful!” Whatever you do, don't press that button! Adjective She will buy the painting at whatever price. There's no evidence whatever to support your theory. Adverb whatever the reviews say, I still think it was a great play
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Central to whatever the answer might be is the issue of race and policing – the same as when Watts exploded in 1965 and then in 1992, with south Los Angeles again the epicenter of violence that spread to other parts of Southern California. Theresa Walker, Orange County Register, "LA Riots 25 years later: Rodney King’s ‘Can we all get along’ still matters," 30 Apr. 2017 The symptoms, for whatever reason, took a turn for the worse maybe five days ago. Anthony Slater, The Mercury News, "Warriors coach Steve Kerr announces he will be out indefinitely with health issues," 23 Apr. 2017 Whatever spoils of tour come back with them are to be conscientiously invested. Joe Rubino, The Know, "Metal moonlighting: Weekend warriors Khemmis definitely aren’t in it for the money," 30 Mar. 2017 Basically helping out with whatever needed to be done. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, "With two eateries open, mother-son team do restaurateur family proud," 25 Jan. 2017 The show often has a little segment on the history of whatever pile of carbohydrates the contestants have to construct. The Washington Post, The Denver Post, "I thought my cake recipe was my family’s alone. Then I traced its history.," 3 Jan. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb And so the Administration of Harvard, by its own admission, has taken no action whatever. William F. Buckley Jr., National Review, "The Ivory Tower," 23 Oct. 2017 Obviously nobody is going to listen to me on the subject of clowns, so whatever. Marc Snetiker, EW.com, "All the Halloween costumes you can't avoid in 2017," 17 Oct. 2017 Most fares are less than $330, which is whatever-the-Norwegian-word-for-remarkable-is for flights that usually cost at least $750. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Flight Deal: U.S. to Norway This Spring and Summer from $250 Round-Trip," 15 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whatever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of whatever


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1870, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for whatever

Time Traveler

The first known use of whatever was in the 14th century

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Statistics for whatever

Cite this Entry

“Whatever.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whatever. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for whatever


How to pronounce whatever (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of whatever

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: anything or everything that
: no matter what : regardless of what
used in questions that express surprise or confusion



English Language Learners Definition of whatever (Entry 2 of 3)

: all the
: any : any…that
used to refer to something that is not known



English Language Learners Definition of whatever (Entry 3 of 3)

informal used to show that something said or done is not important


what·​ev·​er | \ hwät-ˈe-vər How to pronounce whatever (audio) , hwət-, wät-, wət- \

Kids Definition of whatever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : anything or everything that Take whatever you need.
2 : no matter what Whatever you do, don't cheat.
3 : what in the world Whatever made you do that?



Kids Definition of whatever (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : any and all : any … that Take whatever money you need.
2 : of any kind at all There's no food whatever.

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Comments on whatever

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