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 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 And many of the solutions are already at hand, if governments have the wherewithal to implement them. Justin Worland, Time, "If We Want to Stop Climate Change, Now is a Moment of Reckoning for How We Use the Planet, Warns U.N. Report," 8 Aug. 2019 Member States involved in setting the organization’s priorities and resources need to give him the wherewithal to do so. Ved Nanda, The Denver Post, "Nanda: WHO, Rotary Clubs have made the world a healthier place," 27 June 2019 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

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

7 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for wherewithal

The first known use of wherewithal was in 1534

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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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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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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