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

What is often lacking is the wherewithal to carry that out. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "How Detained Children Are Treated Around the World," 10 July 2019 Scrutiny by food scientists busted those myths, beginning with the commonsensical observation that bone itself is so dense that, in the short time given over to grilling, marrow has neither the chance nor the wherewithal to make it to the meat. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "With steaks, closer to the bone makes a difference," 10 July 2019 And Castro has not had the wherewithal for aggressive digital forays until recently. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "2020 campaigns spend heavily on Facebook ads, despite scandals of 2016," 2 July 2019 And there are plenty of students who work hard but whose parents don’t have the wherewithal to help them take such classes. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "What We Do in the Shadows," 24 June 2019 The experience showed him the effect the environment had on people, especially those without the wherewithal to move away from the city center. Vince Guerrieri, Popular Mechanics, "Smoke on the Water: 50 Years After the Cuyahoga Fire," 20 June 2019 Does America — and, specifically, NASA — have the dedication and institutional wherewithal to meet the Chinese challenge? Jack H. Burke, National Review, "China’s New Wealth-Creation Scheme: Mining the Moon," 13 June 2019 Neymar’s legal strategy going forward Neymar, who is reportedly worth in the ballpark of $185 million, has the financial wherewithal to hire an army of criminal defense attorneys to represent his interests in Brazil and, if necessary, France. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Neymar's Social Media Response, Geography Add Layers to Rape Accusation," 4 June 2019 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

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

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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