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EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English whennes, from Old English hwanone (with adverbial genitive -s), related to hwænne (whence when). Analyzable as when +‎ -s.

PronunciationEdit

AdverbEdit

whence (not comparable)

  1. (archaic, formal or literary) From where; from which place or source.
    Whence came I?
    "Pork" comes from French, whence we get most of our modern cooking terms.
    • 1611, King James BibleWikisource, John 8:14:
      Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
    • 1818, Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Chapter 4:
      Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life proceed?
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Sea-chest”, in Treasure IslandWikisource:
      [W]hat greatly encouraged me, it was in an opposite direction from that whence the blind man had made his appearance and whither he had presumably returned.
    • 1885, Richard F. Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 564:
      [] But when I had bestridden the plank, quoth I to myself, "Thou deserveth all that betideth thee. All this is decreed to me of Allah (whose name be exalted!), to turn me from my greed of gain, whence ariseth all that I endure, for I have wealth galore."
    • 1898, J. Meade Falkner, Moonfleet, Chapter 3:
      At first I could not tell what this new sound was, nor whence it came, and now it seemed a little noise close by, and now a great noise in the distance. And then it grew nearer and more defined, and in a moment I knew it was the sound of voices talking.

Usage notesEdit

  • This word is uncommon in contemporary usage; from where is now usually substituted (as in the example sentence: Where did I come from? or From where did I come?). Whence is now mainly encountered in older works and in poetic or literary writing.
  • From whence has a strong literary precedent, appearing in Wyclif's Bible translation, Shakespeare and the King James Bible, as well as in the writings of numerous Victorian-era writers. In recent times, however, it has been criticized as redundant by usage commentators.

AntonymsEdit

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

ConjunctionEdit

whence

  1. (literary, poetic) Used for introducing the result of a fact that has just been stated.
    The work is slow and dangerous, whence the high costs.
    I scored more than you in the exam, whence we can conclude that I am better at the subject than you are.

AntonymsEdit

Related termsEdit

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.