1 of 3


(h)wət- How to pronounce whatever (audio)
: anything or everything that
take whatever you want
: no matter what
whatever he says, they won't believe him
: whatnot
enjoys skiing, hiking, or whatever
: what sense 1a(1)
used to express astonishment or perplexity
whatever do you mean by that


2 of 3


: any … that : all … that
buy peace … on whatever terms could be obtainedC. S. Forester
: no matter what
money, in whatever hands, will confer powerSamuel Johnson
: of any kind at all
used after the substantive it modifies with any or with an expressed or implied negative
in any order whateverW. G. Moultonno food whatever


3 of 3


: in any case : whatever the case may be
sometimes used interjectionally to suggest the unimportance of an issue or decision between alternatives
go see a movie, watch TV,—whatever

Example Sentences

Pronoun “What's that smell?” “I don't know, but whatever it is, it's awful!” Whatever you do, don't press that button! Adjective She will buy the painting at whatever price. There's no evidence whatever to support your theory. Adverb whatever the reviews say, I still think it was a great play
Recent Examples on the Web
Central to whatever the answer might be is the issue of race and policing – the same as when Watts exploded in 1965 and then in 1992, with south Los Angeles again the epicenter of violence that spread to other parts of Southern California. Theresa Walker, Orange County Register, 30 Apr. 2017 The symptoms, for whatever reason, took a turn for the worse maybe five days ago. Anthony Slater, The Mercury News, 23 Apr. 2017 Whatever spoils of tour come back with them are to be conscientiously invested. Joe Rubino, The Know, 30 Mar. 2017 Basically helping out with whatever needed to be done. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, 25 Jan. 2017 The show often has a little segment on the history of whatever pile of carbohydrates the contestants have to construct. The Washington Post, The Denver Post, 3 Jan. 2017
Wants to be sure her friends notice her new whatever-she's-wearing. Arkansas Online, 8 May 2021 And so the Administration of Harvard, by its own admission, has taken no action whatever. William F. Buckley Jr., National Review, 23 Oct. 2017 Obviously nobody is going to listen to me on the subject of clowns, so whatever. Marc Snetiker, EW.com, 17 Oct. 2017 Most fares are less than $330, which is whatever-the-Norwegian-word-for-remarkable-is for flights that usually cost at least $750. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, 15 Mar. 2017 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1870, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of whatever was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near whatever

Cite this Entry

“Whatever.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whatever. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 pronoun
what·​ev·​er hwät-ˈev-ər How to pronounce whatever (audio)
: anything that
take whatever you need
: no matter what
whatever you do, don't cheat
: what entry 1 sense 1b
used to express surprise or bewilderment
whatever made you think that


2 of 2 adjective
: any and all : any … that
take whatever action is needed
: of any kind at all
no food whatever

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