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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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

Noun 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 And women have the wherewithal to understand investing basics. Nancy Tengler, USA TODAY, "If you don't know the lingo, ask your financial adviser for clarity," 22 Nov. 2019 There's a lot of women who don't have the resources, education, wherewithal to even begin to hold the harasser accountable. Olivia Fleming, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gretchen Carlson Refuses to Be Silenced," 6 Nov. 2019 The question now is whether the protesters have the wherewithal to tackle the plethora of players, external influences and business interests that have for years sustained these establishments. Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "Protests toppled two governments in three days, but the fight is only beginning," 2 Nov. 2019 The main culprit is a state funding formula that has failed to keep pace with inflation, causing inequities in spending to widen as communities with the financial wherewithal can make up the difference and then some. James Vaznis, BostonGlobe.com, "Report backs Governor Baker tying strings to new education dollars," 2 July 2019 That doesn’t mean some teams aren’t advantaged in terms of financial wherewithal and available salary cap space, or desirability as a place to live, or are located in states without a state income tax, and so on. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Could Teams Clearly Ignoring Free Agency Tampering Rules Be a Problem for NBA?," 1 July 2019 This attention to detail, keeping the French Quarter trapped in a calcified past, requires money and wherewithal, of course, that other parts of the city, languishing and decaying, do not have. Sarah M. Broom, The New Yorker, "Who Stays Gone, and Who Can Afford to Return," 12 Aug. 2019 According to this line of thinking, NBA players possess the financial wherewithal and career incentives to pay for designer drugs that evade detection, particularly when those drugs are taken in small dosages. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Examining Wilson Chandler's Suspension for PEDs and Infrequency of Steroids in the NBA," 29 Aug. 2019 Diaz carried the wherewithal to do what was right when spotting something wrong, the mayor said. Los Angeles Times, "Thousands honor slain 24-year-old LAPD officer who wanted to make a difference in city," 12 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for wherewithal

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The first known use of wherewithal was in 1534

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Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Wherewithal.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wherewithal. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for wherewithal


How to pronounce wherewithal (audio) How to pronounce wherewithal (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wherewithal

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

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