1 of 2


ˈhüz How to pronounce whose (audio)
: of or relating to whom or which especially as possessor or possessors
whose gorgeous vesture heaps the groundRobert Browning
, agent or agents
the law courts, whose decisions were importantF. L. Mott
, or object or objects of an action
the first poem whose publication he ever sanctionedJ. W. Krutch


2 of 2


singular or plural in construction
: that which belongs to whom
used without a following noun as a pronoun equivalent in meaning to the adjective whose
tell me whose it wasWilliam Shakespeare

Examples of whose in a Sentence

Adjective The granddaddy of all metafictional novels was Tristram Shandy, whose narrator's dialogues with his imaginary readers are only one of many ways in which Sterne foregrounds the gap between art and life that conventional realism seeks to conceal. David Lodge, The Art of Fiction, 1992
In early times when I sat with my grandfather … I was puzzled about the relation between the Davis who had lived in a world of great events and my Old Jeff, whose name had entered into the common speech of the region … Robert Penn Warren, Jefferson Davis Gets His Citizenship Back, 1980
He was a flamboyant, excited person whose eyes darted here and there, like a child's, afraid of what they might miss. E. L. Doctorow, Ragtime, 1974
Pronoun Though life here is a dangerous business for olive trees, in summer the children roam the streets alone, and well into the night. Everyone knows whose are whose, and keeps an eye out. David Leavitt, Travel & Leisure, May 2000
And now for the Ignorance and Folly which he reproaches us with, let us see (if we are Fools and Ignoramus's) whose is the Fault, the Men's or our's. Benjamin Franklin 28 May 1722, in Benjamin Franklin Writings1987
Recent Examples on the Web
Many of the calls were from retailers whose business was looted before becoming engulfed in flames. Fox News, 3 June 2020 The latter company once was owned by Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage. Jennifer Henderson and Hollie Silverman, CNN, 2 June 2020 The Department of Veterans Affairs, whose headquarters on Vermont Avenue is steps from the White House, ordered all nonessential employees to go home by noon on Monday. Anchorage Daily News, 2 June 2020 Five officers picked up Owensby, whose face was cut and bleeding, and put him in the back of a police cruiser. Kevin Grasha, Cincinnati.com, 2 June 2020 My close neighbor is a grandmother whose son and granddaughter have moved in with her. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 2 June 2020 But this list represents a majority of them and those whose absence would be felt. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, 2 June 2020 The zoo is no longer controlled by Exotic, whose legal name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage. NBC News, 2 June 2020 The researchers’ first step was to use the DNA sequences to identify the species of animals—goats, sheep, ibex or cows—whose skin was used to make the parchment. Josie Glausiusz, Scientific American, 2 June 2020 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whose.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adjective and Pronoun

Middle English whos, genitive of who, what

First Known Use


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above


12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of whose was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near whose

Cite this Entry

“Whose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whose. Accessed 5 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
: of or relating to whom or which
whose bag is it
the book whose cover is torn


2 of 2 pronoun, singular or plural
: whose one : whose ones
whose is it
whose were they

More from Merriam-Webster on whose

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!