\ ˈwərth How to pronounce worth (audio) \

Definition of worth

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : monetary value farmhouse and lands of little worth
b : the equivalent of a specified amount or figure a dollar's worth of gas
2 : the value of something measured by its qualities or by the esteem in which it is held a literary heritage of great worth
3a : moral or personal value trying to teach human worth
b : merit, excellence a field in which we have proved our worth

Definition of worth (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : equal in value to
b : having assets or income equal to
2 : deserving of well worth the effort
worth one's salt
: of substantial or significant value or merit



Definition of worth (Entry 3 of 4)

1 archaic : having monetary or material value
2 archaic : estimable
for all one is worth
: to the fullest extent of one's value or ability


worthed; worthing; worths

Definition of worth (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

: become usually used in the phrase woe worth

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Synonyms for worth

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of worth in a Sentence

Noun A diamond's worth is determined partly by its cut and clarity. The worth of the stocks has increased. The furniture was of little worth since it was in such bad condition. He has proved his worth to the team. The book has proved its worth by saving me hundreds of dollars. Preposition an actor worth several million dollars The corporation is worth billions of dollars. A carefully written cover letter and resume is worth the effort. It takes a long time to get a table at the restaurant, but the food is well worth the wait. The movie was good, but I didn't think it was worth all the fuss. Chicago is worth a visit. I think you'll really like it. Do you think the car is worth buying? It is worth noting that his father and mother are also doctors. This book is not worth reading. an idea well worth consideration
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 2019, the UK exported £25.1 billion worth of goods to China. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "Britain’s economic slowdown shows it needs China’s market," 13 Nov. 2020 In a nod to this pressure, Rocket announced plans Tuesday to buy $1 billion worth of its stock. Matt Egan, CNN, "The housing market is sizzling, and Rocket Mortgage is cashing in," 12 Nov. 2020 Wall Street banks such as Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase have bundled about $550 billion worth of commercial mortgages into securities and sold them as investments to pension funds, life insurance companies and mutual funds. Washington Post, "Mounting commercial real estate losses threaten banks, recovery," 11 Nov. 2020 Beijing is hopeful that Mr. Biden will lift some of the trade tariffs that his predecessor slapped on over $360 billion worth of Chinese exports. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "With Biden’s victory, the world looks to US with hope for change," 10 Nov. 2020 During his time in office, which officially ends in January, Trump imposed tariffs on $370 billion worth of Chinese imports, beginning in mid-2018. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Why a Biden presidency won’t end the U.S.-China trade war," 9 Nov. 2020 For the moment, the quasi-anonymous nature of bitcoin transactions is concealing the identity of the person or party who transferred almost $1 billion worth of digital currency. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Someone has transferred ~$1 billion from a bitcoin wallet quiet since 2015," 4 Nov. 2020 Somehow, with not even a month’s worth of full-contact practice, MSU is pulling it off rather seamlessly. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "How Michigan State football's defense under Mel Tucker blends old, new concepts," 3 Nov. 2020 The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation board of directors has officially signed off on a request from Gov. Mike DeWine to distribute $5 billion worth of dividend checks to the state’s 249,000-plus employers. cleveland, "A record-setting early vote for Ohio, now on to Election Day: Capitol Letter," 3 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Stock it with enough to pay three to nine months’ worth of all your living expenses, such as food, housing, taxes, insurance, transportation, utilities and so on. Dallas News, "Motley Fool: Coca-Cola has a worldwide footprint — and plenty of room to grow," 14 June 2020 The champion receives $2,500, a pittance compared to the National Spelling Bee's first prize of $50,000, but worth a middle-schooler's time and effort all the same. Ben Nuckols, The Christian Science Monitor, "US spelling bee canceled, but the spelling will go on(line)," 28 May 2020 The plan includes big incentives for consumers to buy new cars, with the government offering subsidies worth more than $7,000 for electric vehicles and $2,000 for a hybrid. Charles Riley, CNN, "Renault and Nissan deepen their alliance in bid to survive the coronavirus crisis," 27 May 2020 And the $3 fee to enter the pier is worth the experience to watch the friendly fishermen, the hungry pelicans, and the occasional dolphins passing by. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, "25 Best Beaches in the U.S.," 20 May 2020 The man stole coffee and energy drink worth a total value of $10. cleveland, "Drunk woman passes out with daughter, 7, in car: Shaker Heights police blotter," 9 May 2020 Now, Kate’s job is to sort through piles of mildewed correspondences, personal papers, medical records and random receipts, even some of Miranda’s prized intimate photographs possibly worth a fortune, and organize a collection. Don Oldenburg, USA TODAY, "Review: Sara Sligar's debut novel 'Take Me Apart' a dark and absorbing psychological drama," 28 Apr. 2020 Canavaggio has spent days crunching the numbers to figure out whether reopening his bar is worth the safety risk, or even feasible in the first place, given how persistent safety concerns could crater demand for a leisurely indoor happy hour. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "Georgia’s Experiment in Human Sacrifice," 29 Apr. 2020 For those foreign investors still left in Turkey the question is: Are the heady yields the country’s markets currently offer worth the volatile ride? Christopher Whittall, WSJ, "Turkey Needs Foreign Funds as Short-Term Debt Looms," 2 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'worth.' 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 worth


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for worth


Middle English, going back to Old English weorþ, wyrth (strong neuter noun), going back to Germanic *werþa- (whence also Old Frisian werth, worth "value," Old Saxon werth "payment, price," Old High German werd "value, price," Old Icelandic verð, Gothic wairþ "price"), noun derivative from *werþa-, adjective, "of value" — more at worth entry 3


Middle English, from worth worth entry 3


Middle English, "having monetary value, valuable, having status, deserving, highborn, efficacious, strong," going back to Old English weorþ, wyrþ, worþ "having monetary value, valuable," going back to Germanic *werþa- (whence also Old Frisian werth "of value," Old Saxon werth "of value, worthy, dear," Old High German werd, wert "of value, valuable," Old Icelandic verðr "of value, worthy," Gothic wairþs "deserving"), of uncertain origin

Note: The Middle English adjective continues in part Old English wierðe, wyrðe "worthy, deserving," a ja-stem adjective from the same base. Welsh gwerth "worth, value, price" (whence gwerthu "to sell"), along with Middle Breton guerz, is perhaps an early loan from Old English.


Middle English worthen "to exist, be, come into existence, become, change, happen," going back to Old English weorþan, wurþan (class III strong verb) "to become, come to be, happen," going back to Germanic *werþan- (whence also Old Frisian wertha "to become, happen, arise," Old Saxon werthan, Old High German werdan, Old Icelandic verða, Gothic wairþan "to become"), going back to an Indo-European verbal base *u̯ert- "turn," whence also Latin vertō, vertere "to cause to revolve, turn, spin," vertor "(I) change direction, turn," Lithuanian verčiù, ver͂sti "to cause to turn," Sanskrit vártate "(it) turns, rolls, revolves"; with zero-grade ablaut Old Church Slavic vrǔštǫ, vrǔteti sę "to turn oneself"; with a causative stem *u̯ort- Old Church Slavic vraštǫ, vratiti "to make turn," Sanskrit vartáyati "(s/he) makes turn"; from an n-present old Church Slavic obvrǔnǫti sę "to turn around," Tocharian B wärnāmane "turning"

Note: In Germanic the Indo-European base *u̯ert- "turn" developed the figurative sense "become, happen" (compare, in English, "the milk turned sour"), which has largely displaced the literal senses (but compare the suffix *-wearda- -ward entry 1).

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Time Traveler for worth

Time Traveler

The first known use of worth was before the 12th century

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Statistics for worth

Last Updated

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Worth.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worth. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for worth


How to pronounce worth (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of worth

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an amount of something that has a specified value, that lasts for a specified length of time, etc.
: the amount of money that something is worth
: usefulness or importance

English Language Learners Definition of worth (Entry 2 of 2)

used to indicate the value of something
: having money and possessions equal in value to (an amount)
: good, valuable, or important enough for (something) : deserving of (something)
\ ˈwərth How to pronounce worth (audio) \

Kids Definition of worth

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : equal in value to The painting is worth thousands of dollars.
2 : having possessions or income equal to She is worth millions.
3 : deserving of This project is worth the effort.
4 : capable of I ran for all I was worth.



Kids Definition of worth (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the value or usefulness of something or someone Teammates praised his worth to the team.
2 : value as expressed in money or in amount of time something will last a week's worth of groceries
3 : excellence a man of worth

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