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 Beane said of having the wherewithal to lure a pricey player. Susan Slusser, SFChronicle.com, "A’s offseason plan: Win on a shoestring, but disparity ever more obvious," 9 Dec. 2019 But Dixville had the savvy and wherewithal to define the tradition. BostonGlobe.com, "For six decades, Americans have woken up on the morning of the New Hampshire presidential primary, turned on the news, and heard about Dixville Notch, the tiny hamlet where perhaps a dozen voters had cast paper ballots into a wooden box right at midnight, with the pomp of a long ago era.," 8 Dec. 2019 Rajapaksa must find the wherewithal to make repayments on foreign debt totaling nearly $6 billion. Washington Post, "Sri Lanka’s new president may struggle to form government," 19 Nov. 2019 Most techies supported big government, higher taxes, and open borders, and had the money and wherewithal to not worry much about the ensuing costs and the catastrophic results for others. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "What Happened to California Republicans?," 14 Nov. 2019 Aroma, for one, has little faith in her government’s desire or wherewithal to tackle the issue. Charlie Campbell / Tokyo, Time, "The Sexual Exploitation of Young Girls in Japan Is 'On the Increase,' an Expert Says," 29 Oct. 2019 Uncertainty about Urquidy’s wherewithal was assuaged. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros blast Nationals in Game 4 to level World Series," 26 Oct. 2019 Castro, while pressing donors for wherewithal for ads in hopes of driving up his poll numbers, has stepped up his focus on behalf of populations enduring difficult challenge and often trauma. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "Castro touts a ‘Children First’ plan to improve foster care," 10 Oct. 2019 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

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of wherewithal was in 1534

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Last Updated

29 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

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

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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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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