Definition of whodunit
: a detective story or mystery story
whodunit was our Word of the Day on 05/18/2015. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Recent Examples of whodunit from the Web
In addition to being a page-turning whodunit, The Child is also a subtle exploration of the relationships between mothers and their children, their bonds and battles.
As any armchair detective or avid Investigation Discovery channel viewer can tell you, such grim scenarios are standard fare for true-crime television, fodder for an endless stream of whodunits flooding the market.
As any armchair detective or avid Investigation Discovery channel viewer can tell you, such grim scenarios are standard fare for true crime television, fodder for an endless stream of whodunits now flooding the market.
Aug. 9-27, Kansas City Actors Theatre: The company of venerable local actors launches its new season with this classic Agatha Christie whodunit.
The Cesnik story, in contrast, is a noirish whodunit, and Ms. Hoskins and Ms. Schaub, despite the grimness of the material, are doughty, humorous presences.
The war remains one of the bloodiest whodunits of 21st-century international relations.
Two married couples are gathering for dinner to discuss something sensitive, something to do with their teenage sons — creating the atmosphere of genuinely suspenseful whodunit.
That two married couples are meeting for dinner to discuss something sensitive — something to do with their teenage sons — creates the atmosphere of a genuinely suspenseful whodunit.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whodunit'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
In 1930, Donald Gordon, a book reviewer for News of Books, needed to come up with something to say about a rather unremarkable mystery novel called Half-Mast Murder. "A satisfactory whodunit," he wrote. The coinage played fast and loose with spelling and grammar, but "whodunit" caught on anyway. Other writers tried respelling it "who-done-it," and one even insisted on using "whodidit," but those sanitized versions lacked the punch of the original and have fallen by the wayside. "Whodunit" became so popular that by 1939 at least one language pundit had declared it "already heavily overworked" and predicted it would "soon be dumped into the taboo bin." History has proven that prophecy false, and "whodunit" is still going strong.
Origin and Etymology of whodunit
alteration of who done it?
First Known Use: 1929See Words from the same year
WHODUNIT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of whodunit for English Language Learners
: a novel, play, or movie about a murder where you do not know who committed the murder until the end
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up whodunit? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).