when

adverb
\ ˈ(h)wen How to pronounce when (audio) , (h)wən \

Definition of when

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : at what time when will you return
2a : at or during which time
b : and then
3 : at a former and usually less prosperous time brag fondly of having known him when— Vance Packard
\ ˈ(h)wen How to pronounce when (audio) , (h)wən \

Definition of when (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : at or during the time that : while went fishing when he was a boy
b : just at the moment that stop writing when the bell rings
c : at any or every time that when he listens to music, he falls asleep
2 : in the event that : if a contestant is disqualified when he disobeys the rules
3a : considering that why use water at all when you can drown in it— Stuart Chase
b : in spite of the fact that : although quit politics when I might have had a great career in it
4 : the time or occasion at or in which tomorrow is when we must decide humor is when you laugh— Earl Rovit

when

pronoun
\ ˈ(h)wen How to pronounce when (audio) \

Definition of when (Entry 3 of 4)

: what or which time life-long homes for those … who have lived here since when— Kim Waller

when

noun
\ ˈ(h)wen How to pronounce when (audio) \

Definition of when (Entry 4 of 4)

: the time in which something is done or comes about troubled his head very little about the hows and whens of life— Laurence Sterne

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Synonyms for when

Synonyms: Conjunction

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Examples of when in a Sentence

Adverb When did the American Civil War begin? The detective asked me when I last saw her. When is the next performance? It was a time when people didn't have to lock their doors. the happy days when we were together We're still waiting for the test results, when we'll decide our next move. Conjunction When he finally showed up, he was drunk. When I was in school, we didn't have computers. You can go when the bell rings. Call me when you get home. Things were better when he got a job. When he watches television, he falls asleep. She quit politics when she might have had a great career in it. Pronoun He retired in 1998, since when he has been devoting his time to gardening. You need the report by when?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The Cardinals’ longest winning string is franchise history is 14, back in 1935 when Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean starred for them. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 24 Sep. 2021 There is not a single person in Hollywood who would’ve predicted that when Netflix snapped up two seasons of House of Cards sight unseen in March 2011. Josef Adalian, Vulture, 24 Sep. 2021 The auditor found in 2019, and again Thursday, that the city hadn’t closely tracked how much money was spent on road repairs and how much was spent on pedestrian and bicycle improvements, particularly when projects incorporated both. oregonlive, 24 Sep. 2021 As of Tuesday evening, when the Texas Department of Public Safety provided media access, there were roughly 8,600 people in the makeshift camp, in squalor, along the banks of the river dividing Del Rio, Texas, from Ciudad Acuña in Mexico. Lauren Villagran, USA TODAY, 23 Sep. 2021 There will be times when the voice in your head tries to convince you to take the easy route and take shortcuts. Ross Franklin, Forbes, 23 Sep. 2021 Meanwhile, 52% reported that at least one employee had at least one conflict with a customer when attempting to verify vaccination status. Janelle Bitker, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Sep. 2021 The footprints were formed when people strode over damp, sandy ground on the margin of a lake. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 Boz—as in Facebook metaverse guru Andrew Bosworth, not Charles Dickens—will become the social network’s new chief technology officer next year, when Mike Schroepfer steps down. David Meyer, Fortune, 23 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bumblefest and normalcy are not words that often appear in the same sentence, but the Sept. 17 return of Steve Rullman’s modern-rock hootenanny in downtown West Palm Beach now feels like a comforting symbol of back-when. Ben Crandell, sun-sentinel.com, 6 Aug. 2021 Frankly, the question was never an if, but a when and a how. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 30 Mar. 2021 How about a streaming product versus a must-see-when-and-where-cable-event? Ars Staff, Ars Technica, 26 Dec. 2020 Williams, in short, paired all her how-to with a when-to wherewithal sometimes absent in her first two seasons. Mike Anthony, courant.com, 20 Dec. 2020 Dan Marino lost his first game as a rookie starter way-back-when to Buffalo in overtime 38-35. Dave Hyde, sun-sentinel.com, 22 Oct. 2020 These squishable-when-they're-not-spitting camelids hold antibodies that could hold the key to treating COVID-19, scientists suggested in a study published Tuesday in the journal Cell. TheWeek, 6 May 2020 Saturday’s 38-31 win at Nebraska put to bed a lot of since-whens and last-times in Bloomington. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, 28 Oct. 2019 When Calvo relinquished the captain’s armband, Alonso put it on and has been credited with a lead-by-example, speak-when-necessary leadership style that garners attention and respect. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, 17 Oct. 2019

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

Adverb

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

Conjunction

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

Pronoun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1616, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for when

Adverb

Middle English, from Old English hwanne, hwenne; akin to Old High German hwanne when, Old English hwā who — more at who

Conjunction

Middle English, from Old English hwanne, hwenne, from hwanne, hwenne, adverb

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Time Traveler for when

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for when

Last Updated

25 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“When.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/when. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for when

when

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of when

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: at what time
: at, in, or during which
: at or during which time

when

conjunction

English Language Learners Definition of when (Entry 2 of 3)

: at or during the time that
: just after the time that
: at any or every time that

when

pronoun

English Language Learners Definition of when (Entry 3 of 3)

: what or which time

when

adverb
\ ˈhwen How to pronounce when (audio) , ˈwen, hwən, wən \

Kids Definition of when

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : at what time When did you leave?
2 : the time at which I was not sure of when they'd come.
3 : at, in, or during which It was hard to remember the time when they hadn't played that game …— Eleanor Estes, The Hundred Dresses

when

conjunction

Kids Definition of when (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : at, during, or just after the time that She wants to leave when I do.
2 : in the event that : if When you have a question, raise your hand.
3 : although sense 1 Why do you tease, when you know it's wrong?
4 : the time at which Tomorrow is when we leave.

when

pronoun

Kids Definition of when (Entry 3 of 3)

: what or which time Since when have you been an expert?

More from Merriam-Webster on when

Nglish: Translation of when for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of when for Arabic Speakers

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