worth·while | \ ˈwərth-ˈhwī(-ə)l , -ˈwī(-ə)l \

Definition of worthwhile 

1 : being worth the time or effort spent worthwhile preparations

2 : worthy sense 1 a worthwhile cause

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Other words from worthwhile

worthwhileness noun

Examples of worthwhile in a Sentence

The money is for a worthwhile cause. Seeing my children's joy made building the tree house all worthwhile. Is it worthwhile to try to fix my computer?
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Recent Examples on the Web

Aries The sign of a worthwhile endeavor isn’t a horizon that dips and bends, or a dark sky that fills with gold light, or a powerful enemy made humble. Claire Comstock-gay, The Cut, "Madame Clairevoyant: Horoscopes for the Week of April 2," 2 Apr. 2018 This, too, is precision medicine: Our capacity to find women who should not be lumped into the basket of standard chemotherapy must rank among one of the most worthwhile goals of personalized cancer therapy. Siddhartha Mukherjee, New York Times, "The Search for Cancer Treatment Beyond Mutant-Hunting," 13 June 2018 Yet the potential payoff is more than worthwhile, Goldrick-Rab added, noting that a college degree can be transformative for an entire family. Marcella Bombardieri, The Atlantic, "One College's Struggle to Get Poor Students Through School," 30 May 2018 Getting fully self-driving cars on the road is a worthwhile goal. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Report: Software bug led to death in Uber’s self-driving crash," 7 May 2018 My eyes had instinctively — hungrily — latched onto those animals, and nothing makes me feel as worthwhile as delivering good meat to good people. Seth Kantner, Anchorage Daily News, "Moments of truth: Spring on the Kobuk," 28 Apr. 2018 That’s a worthwhile goal, but one the Department of Health and Human Services has done everything possible to undermine. Julie Khani, STAT, "HHS subverts a congressional plan to make Medicare lab payments fairer," 18 Apr. 2018 Maintaining a relatively small military commitment to prevent the situation from spiraling out of control — which would likely pull the U.S. back in, anyway — is a worthwhile goal at reasonable cost. Nicholas Grossman, National Review, "The U.S. Needs to Rethink What Winning in Afghanistan Looks Like," 7 Feb. 2018 But the question remains: why, after all the good intentions, the worthwhile goals, the wealth of expertise mustered, and the billions and billions of dollars spent, are students still unprepared? Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Betsy DeVos: Nothing Presidents Barack Obama or George W. Bush did in education reform really worked," 16 Jan. 2018

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

1662, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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The first known use of worthwhile was in 1662

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English Language Learners Definition of worthwhile

: worth doing or getting : good enough, important enough, etc., to be worth spending time, effort, or money on


worth·while | \ ˈwərth-ˈhwīl , -ˈwīl \

Kids Definition of worthwhile

: being worth the time spent or effort used a worthwhile trip

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Comments on worthwhile

What made you want to look up worthwhile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a magnificent or impressive array

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