EnglishEdit

 
English Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English what, from Old English hwæt (what), from Proto-Germanic *hwat (what), from Proto-Indo-European *kʷód (what), neuter form of *kʷós (who). Cognate with Scots whit (what), North Frisian wat (what), Saterland Frisian wat (what), West Frisian wat (what), Dutch wat (what), Low German wat (what), German was (what), Danish hvad (what), Norwegian Bokmål hva (what), Swedish vad (what), Norwegian Nynorsk kva (what), Icelandic hvað (what), Latin quod (what, which).

PronunciationEdit

PronounEdit

what

  1. (interrogative) Which thing, event, circumstance, etc.: used interrogatively in asking for the specification of an identity, quantity, quality, etc.
    • 2016, VOA Learning English (public domain)
      The gym is across from … what? — The gym is across from the lounge. — Across from the lounge. Right. Thanks!
      (file)
  2. That which; those that; the thing that.
    He knows what he wants.
    What is amazing are his skills.
    Keep up with what your friends are doing.
  3. (relative, nonstandard) That; which; who.
  4. Whatever.
    I will do what I can to help you.

TranslationsEdit

AdjectiveEdit

what (not comparable)

  1. Used before a noun phrase at the beginning of a sentence to form an exclamation. Indicates that something is remarkable in quality or degree.
    What nonsense!
    Wow! What a speech.
    What beautiful children you have.
    With what passion she sings!

Usage notesEdit

what and such are largely interchangeable, with a few exceptions:

  • Nouns modified by such need not appear at the beginning of the sentence: She sings with such passion.
  • such requires that the noun phrase it modifies be gradable in some way. Such a disaster! is acceptable because a disaster may be minor or major in degree, but Such a movie! is not (except with the unusual meaning that the movie under discussion has especially "movie-like" qualities).

how is another word used at the beginning of a sentence to form an exclamation (How quickly he ran!), but it modifies different syntactic elements (verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and certain determinatives).

SynonymsEdit

TranslationsEdit

AdverbEdit

what (not comparable)

  1. (usually followed by "with," but also sometimes "would" or "might," especially in finance) In some manner or degree; in part; partly. See also what with
    What with singing and joking, the time passed quickly.
    The market will calculate these higher risks in their funding costs what might result in higher lending rates.
    This leads to an uncertain situation for creditors what would negatively affect the willingness to provide credit.
  2. (Singlish) Alternative form of wat (used to contradict an assumption)

TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

InterjectionEdit

what

  1. An expression of surprise or disbelief.
    • 1605 William Shakespeare, King Lear
      What, have his daughters brought him to this pass?
    What! That’s amazing.
  2. What do you want? An abrupt, usually unfriendly enquiry as to what a person desires.
    What? I'm busy.
  3. (Britain, colloquial, dated) Clipping of what do you say?
    It’s a nice day, what?
  4. What did you say? I beg your pardon?

Alternative formsEdit

SynonymsEdit

TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

DeterminerEdit

what

  1. Which one(s); which kind of.
    What shirt are you going to wear?
    What time is it?
    What kind of car is that?
  2. (relative) Whatever
    Write down what things come into your mind.

TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

NounEdit

what (countable and uncountable, plural whats)

  1. (obsolete, uncountable) Something; thing; stuff.
  2. (countable) The identity of a thing, as an answer to a question of what.
    • 2005, Norman K. Denzin, Yvonna S. Lincoln, The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (page 493)
      The emphasis on the interplay between the hows and whats of interpretive practice is paramount.
  3. (countable) Something that is addressed by what, as opposed to a person, addressed by who.
    • 2012, "We Are Both", season 2, episode 2 of Once Upon a Time
      Regina: What are you?
      Rumplestiltskin: What? What? What? My, my, what a rude question! I am not a what.

Derived termsEdit

AnagramsEdit


Middle EnglishEdit

AdverbEdit

what

  1. Why.
  2. Used to introduce each of two coordinate phrases or concepts; both...and...
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter primum, in Le Morte Darthur, book III:
      And as for on C good knyghtes I haue my self / but I fawte / l / for so many haue ben slayne in my dayes / and so Ladegreans delyuerd his doughter Gweneuer vnto Merlyn / and the table round with the C knyghtes / and so they rode fresshly with grete royalte / what by water and what by land / tyl that they came nyghe vnto london

ScotsEdit

Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English what, from Old English hwæt, from Proto-West Germanic *hwat. Cognates include English what and Yola faade.

Alternative formsEdit

PronunciationEdit

PronounEdit

what

  1. (interrogative) what?
  2. (relative) that, which

AdverbEdit

what

  1. (interrogative) how?
  2. (interrogative) why?
  3. (relative) as, than, how
  4. (exclamatory) how!

DeterminerEdit

what

  1. (interrogative) what?
  2. (relative) what, which
  3. (exclamatory) what a lot of! how many!

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English whetten, from Old English hwettan, from Proto-West Germanic *hwattjan. Cognates include English whet

Alternative formsEdit

PronunciationEdit

VerbEdit

what (third-person singular present whats, present participle whatin, past whatt, past participle whatt)

  1. (transitive) to whet, hone, sharpen

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 what, pron., adv., conj., interj.,.” in the Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries.
  2. ^ what, v., n..” in the Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries.