when

adverb
\ ˈ(h)wen How to pronounce when (audio) , (h)wən \

Definition of when

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : at what time when will you return
2a : at or during which time
b : and then
3 : at a former and usually less prosperous time brag fondly of having known him when— Vance Packard
\ ˈ(h)wen How to pronounce when (audio) , (h)wən \

Definition of when (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : at or during the time that : while went fishing when he was a boy
b : just at the moment that stop writing when the bell rings
c : at any or every time that when he listens to music, he falls asleep
2 : in the event that : if a contestant is disqualified when he disobeys the rules
3a : considering that why use water at all when you can drown in it— Stuart Chase
b : in spite of the fact that : although quit politics when I might have had a great career in it
4 : the time or occasion at or in which tomorrow is when we must decide humor is when you laugh— Earl Rovit

when

pronoun
\ ˈ(h)wen How to pronounce when (audio) \

Definition of when (Entry 3 of 4)

: what or which time life-long homes for those … who have lived here since when— Kim Waller

when

noun
\ ˈ(h)wen How to pronounce when (audio) \

Definition of when (Entry 4 of 4)

: the time in which something is done or comes about troubled his head very little about the hows and whens of life— Laurence Sterne

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Synonyms for when

Synonyms: Conjunction

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Examples of when in a Sentence

Adverb When did the American Civil War begin? The detective asked me when I last saw her. When is the next performance? It was a time when people didn't have to lock their doors. the happy days when we were together We're still waiting for the test results, when we'll decide our next move. Conjunction When he finally showed up, he was drunk. When I was in school, we didn't have computers. You can go when the bell rings. Call me when you get home. Things were better when he got a job. When he watches television, he falls asleep. She quit politics when she might have had a great career in it. Pronoun He retired in 1998, since when he has been devoting his time to gardening. You need the report by when?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The Senate sergeant-at-arms at the time, Michael Stenger, was hired in 2018 when Republican Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky led the chamber. BostonGlobe.com, 26 July 2021 The state waterfowl survey has been conducted annually since 1973 except 2020 when it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 July 2021 Knight was on a fishing trip in Idaho when Turner's accident happened. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, The Indianapolis Star, 26 July 2021 Demand for housing, food and other services spiked at a time when donations and volunteers dried up. Stacy Sullivan, The Arizona Republic, 26 July 2021 But, the governor said, the ban on mask mandates is something that could change between now and when school starts in the state depending on its vaccination rate and whether lawmakers convene a session to consider changing the law. Devan Cole, CNN, 25 July 2021 His remarkable recovery started really almost by accident, or fate maybe, when a doctor happened to notice a tiny movement in Haendel's wrist – a mere twitch. CBS News, 25 July 2021 Earlier this week, the first punishment for a felony charge of obstructing an official proceeding was handed down when Paul Allard Hodgkins was sentenced to eight months in prison. Paul Best, Fox News, 25 July 2021 Needless to say, no one on the team is thrilled when Bishop Marx thrusts this new case upon them. Maggie Fremont, Vulture, 25 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Frankly, the question was never an if, but a when and a how. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 30 Mar. 2021 How about a streaming product versus a must-see-when-and-where-cable-event? Ars Staff, Ars Technica, 26 Dec. 2020 Williams, in short, paired all her how-to with a when-to wherewithal sometimes absent in her first two seasons. Mike Anthony, courant.com, 20 Dec. 2020 Dan Marino lost his first game as a rookie starter way-back-when to Buffalo in overtime 38-35. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, 22 Oct. 2020 These squishable-when-they're-not-spitting camelids hold antibodies that could hold the key to treating COVID-19, scientists suggested in a study published Tuesday in the journal Cell. TheWeek, 6 May 2020 Saturday’s 38-31 win at Nebraska put to bed a lot of since-whens and last-times in Bloomington. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, 28 Oct. 2019 When Calvo relinquished the captain’s armband, Alonso put it on and has been credited with a lead-by-example, speak-when-necessary leadership style that garners attention and respect. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, 17 Oct. 2019 The springy, lightweight nylon frames comfortably grip the head with sticky-when-wet pads at the nose and earpieces. Outside Online, 15 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'when.' 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 when

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Conjunction

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Pronoun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1616, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for when

Adverb

Middle English, from Old English hwanne, hwenne; akin to Old High German hwanne when, Old English hwā who — more at who

Conjunction

Middle English, from Old English hwanne, hwenne, from hwanne, hwenne, adverb

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Time Traveler for when

Time Traveler

The first known use of when was before the 12th century

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Statistics for when

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“When.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/when. Accessed 28 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for when

when

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of when

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: at what time
: at, in, or during which
: at or during which time

when

conjunction

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

: at or during the time that
: just after the time that
: at any or every time that

when

pronoun

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

: what or which time

when

adverb
\ ˈhwen How to pronounce when (audio) , ˈwen, hwən, wən \

Kids Definition of when

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : at what time When did you leave?
2 : the time at which I was not sure of when they'd come.
3 : at, in, or during which It was hard to remember the time when they hadn't played that game …— Eleanor Estes, The Hundred Dresses

when

conjunction

Kids Definition of when (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : at, during, or just after the time that She wants to leave when I do.
2 : in the event that : if When you have a question, raise your hand.
3 : although sense 1 Why do you tease, when you know it's wrong?
4 : the time at which Tomorrow is when we leave.

when

pronoun

Kids Definition of when (Entry 3 of 3)

: what or which time Since when have you been an expert?

More from Merriam-Webster on when

Nglish: Translation of when for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of when for Arabic Speakers

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