1

why

play
adverb \ ˈhwī , ˈwī \

Definition of why

:for what cause, reason, or purpose
  • why did you do it?

Examples of why in a Sentence

  1. Why did you quit your job?

  2. Why is the sky blue?

  3. Why didn't you call me?

  4. Why didn't I think of that?

  5. I can't go out tonight. Why not?

Recent Examples of why from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'why.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of why

Middle English, from Old English hwȳ, instrumental case of hwæt what — more at what


2

why

conjunction

Definition of why

1 :the cause, reason, or purpose for which
  • know why you did it
  • that is why you did it
2 :for which :on account of which
  • know the reason why you did it

Examples of why in a Sentence

  1. I know why he did it.

  2. It's easy to see why she fell in love with him.

  3. He's a very good player. That's why he made the team.

  4. The reason why they succeeded is obvious. They worked really hard.

  5. Give me one good reason why I should stay.

First Known Use of why

before 12th century


3

why

noun

Definition of why

plural whys
1 :reason, cause
  • wants to know the whys and wherefores
2 :a baffling problem :enigma

Examples of why in a Sentence

  1. asked the whys behind the surprising decision

  2. how one decides that a certain he or she is the one is one of the great whys of life

Recent Examples of why from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'why.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of why

13th century


4

why

interjection

Definition of why

used to express mild surprise, hesitation, approval, disapproval, or impatience
  • why, here's what I was looking for

Examples of why in a Sentence

  1. why, what a strange thing to say!

Recent Examples of why from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'why.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of why

1519

why Synonyms

Synonyms
ah, aha, come on, fie, indeed, my word, pshaw, well, what, no
Related Words
gee, gee whiz, ha, hello, hey, lo, oh; fiddlesticks, phooey, pooh; there; oops (or whoops also woops), ugh; egad, gad, gadzooks [archaic], the deuce, the devil, the dickens, zounds


WHY Defined for English Language Learners

why

play
adverb

Definition of why for English Language Learners

  • : for what reason or purpose

  • —used to offer a suggestion or to say that a course of action is not necessary

  • —used to express irritation or annoyance


why

conjunction

Definition of why for English Language Learners

  • : the cause, reason, or purpose for which

  • : for which


why

interjection

Definition of why for English Language Learners

  • —used at the beginning of a statement especially to express surprise


WHY Defined for Kids

1

why

play
adverb \ ˈhwī , ˈwī \

Definition of why for Students

:for what cause or reason
  • Why did you do it?

2

why

conjunction

Definition of why for Students

1 :the cause or reason for which
  • We know why you did it.
2 :for which
  • Here's the reason why I did it.

3

why

interjection

Definition of why for Students

used to express surprise, uncertainty, approval, disapproval, or impatience
  • Why, how did you know that?


Seen and Heard

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