where·​with·​al | \ ˈhwer-wi-ˌt͟hȯl How to pronounce wherewithal (audio) , ˈwer-, -ˌthȯl How to pronounce wherewithal (audio) \

Definition of wherewithal

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: means, resources specifically : money didn't have the wherewithal for an expensive dinner



Definition of wherewithal (Entry 2 of 3)



Definition of wherewithal (Entry 3 of 3)

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Synonyms for wherewithal

Synonyms: Noun

bankroll, coffers, exchequer, finances, fund, pocket, resources

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Did You Know?


Wherewithal has been with us in one form or another since the 16th century. It comes from "where" and "withal" (meaning "with"), and it has been used as a conjunction meaning "with or by means of which" and as a pronoun meaning "that with or by which." These days, however, it is almost always used as a noun referring to the means or resources one has at one's disposal - especially financial resources, that is, money.

Examples of wherewithal in a Sentence


A project as big as this requires a lot of financial wherewithal. He doesn't have the wherewithal to finish what he started.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The important thing is that the Sixers have the wherewithal to formulate an offer that, at worst, is competitive, and, at best, can’t be beat. David Murphy, Philly.com, "How much value does the Sixers' newly acquired first-round draft pick have? More than you might think | David Murphy," 22 June 2018 The Sixers might be star hunting, but deals like these get done when wherewithal intersects with motivation, and in a marketplace that includes both Boston and L.A., the Sixers face a significant deficit in both. David Murphy, Philly.com, "Kawhi Leonard trade sweepstakes may get too steep for Sixers if Lakers, Celtics make best offers | David Murphy," 28 June 2018 And Wallace, a multimillionaire who had long supported liberal causes, had the backing of many local Democrats and the wherewithal to outspend his opponent. Steve Kurtz, Fox News, "Liberals stomping moderates in primaries: Will it hurt Dems in November?," 25 May 2018 Magistrate Judge Henry Bemporad on Thursday ruled that Uresti doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to afford to pay for his own attorney. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Judge refuses to appoint Uresti’s lawyer of choice for appeal," 12 July 2018 In places where families have the space and wherewithal, team roping is practiced as a recreational sport, kind of like doubles tennis. Melissa Lyttle, Smithsonian, "The First Family of Rodeo," 13 Dec. 2017 In an era when many high-end brands have been snapped up by conglomerates, analysts and investors have wondered if Chanel has the financial wherewithal to remain independent. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "Chanel’s First Results Release Shows Its Financial Might," 21 June 2018 Yet many of the companies developing these tools have neither the funds nor the wherewithal to test effectively and efficiently what can really help at the bedside. Derek Angus, STAT, "Current efforts to fight sepsis aren’t working. We need a bolder approach," 14 June 2018 Few criminals have the wherewithal to pull off a heist like that and leave no trail, so it's already rumored that the infamous Pink Panthers were behind the robbery. Emily Selter, Town & Country, "The Story Behind the Crime Network Rumored to Have Robbed Kim Kardashian," 4 Oct. 2016

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


1809, in the meaning defined above


1534, in the meaning defined above


1583, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wherewithal


where + withal entry 2

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Statistics for wherewithal

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Time Traveler for wherewithal

The first known use of wherewithal was in 1534

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More Definitions for wherewithal



English Language Learners Definition of wherewithal

: the money, skill, etc., that is needed to get or do something

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Comments on wherewithal

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


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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