\ ˈhwen(t)s How to pronounce whence (audio) , ˈwen(t)s \

Definition of whence

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: from what place, source, or cause then whence comes this paradoxChanging Times
from whence
: from what place, source, or cause no one could tell me from whence the gold had come— Graham Greene

Definition of whence (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : from what place, source, or cause inquired whence the water came— Maria Edgeworth
2a : from or out of which place, source, or cause the lawless society whence the ballads sprang— DeLancey Ferguson
b : by reason of which fact nothing broke— whence I infer that my bones are not yet chalky— O. W. Holmes †1935

Examples of whence in a Sentence

Adverb They returned to the land whence they came.

First Known Use of whence


13th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for whence


Middle English whennes, from whenne whence (from Old English hwanon) + -s, adverb suffix, from -s, genitive singular ending; akin to Old High German hwanān whence, Old English hwā who

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Time Traveler for whence

Time Traveler

The first known use of whence was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Whence.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whence. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for whence


How to pronounce whence (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of whence

old-fashioned + literary : from where


\ ˈhwens How to pronounce whence (audio) , ˈwens \

Kids Definition of whence

1 : from what place, source, or cause Whence come all these questions?
2 : from or out of which We knew little of the land whence they came.

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More from Merriam-Webster on whence

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whence

Spanish Central: Translation of whence

Nglish: Translation of whence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whence for Arabic Speakers

Comments on whence

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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