What Definition & Meaning | Britannica Dictionary (2023)

1 what

/ˈwɑːt/ /ˈwʌt/

pronoun

1 what

/ˈwɑːt/ /ˈwʌt/

pronoun

Britannica Dictionary definition of WHAT

1

a

used to ask for information about someone or something

  • What is your name?

  • What are those things on the table?

  • What's your family like?

  • What happened?

  • What [=how much] does it cost?

  • What did she say?” “She said yes.”

  • What do you think of my idea?

  • What do you want to do tonight?

  • “Dad!” “What (do you want)?” “You have a phone call.”

  • What (on earth) are you doing?!

  • I finished dusting. Now what (should I do)?

  • What (should I do) next?

  • What else did he say?

  • You have money, fame, and a beautiful family. What more could you want?

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b

used to describe a question

  • Please ask them what they want for dinner.

  • They asked her what she knew about him.

  • I wonder what his motives were.

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2

a

used to ask someone to say something again because you have not clearly heard or understood it

  • What did you say? = (informal) What?

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often used to show surprise about the thing that someone has just said

  • “And then I said that he could go to hell.” “You said what?!”

  • She did what?!

  • What? I don't believe it. You must be joking!

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b

informal

used to express surprise, excitement, etc.

  • What, no breakfast?

  • “Have you heard? They won!” “What!? That's great!”

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3

informal

used to ask what someone's last name is

  • “Her name's Kathy.” “Kathy what?”

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4

a

:

that which

:

the one or ones that

  • He has no income but what he gets from his writing. [=he has no income except for the income he gets from his writing]

  • “Do you have any other sizes?” “No, only what you see here.”

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b

:

the kind that

:

the same as

  • The speech was very much what everyone expected.

  • My memory isn't what it used to be. [=it is not as good as it used to be]

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(Video) Dictionary definition Meaning

c

:

something that

  • The dog is chewing on what appears to be a sock.

  • It was the beginning of what turned out to be a long and successful career.

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d

:

the thing or things that

  • What you need is a vacation. [=you need a vacation]

  • What made me angry was how he treated you. [=it was the way he treated you that made me angry]

  • What matters most is your safety. = Your safety is what matters most.

  • Romance novels are what she enjoys reading.

  • Do what you're told.

  • Tell me what you're looking for.

  • She is looking for something but I don't know what.

  • He knows what he should do.

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often followed by to + verb

  • Stop telling me what to do.

  • I don't know what to think/say/believe.

  • She has (got) what it takes [=she has the skills and personality] to do the job.

  • I'll do what it takes to win.

  • You'll never guess what happened to me today. [=you'll be surprised by what happened to me today]

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Guess what is often used to tell someone that you have surprising news.

  • Guess what happened to me today!

  • Guess what!” “What?” “I bought a new car.”

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e

:

anything or everything that

:

whatever

  • Say what you will, my opinion won't change. [=nothing you can say will change my opinion]

  • Take what you need. [=take anything that you need]

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5

informal

used to direct attention to something that you are about to say

  • I'll tell you what I'm going to do: I'm going to let you have it for 30 percent off.

  • I'll tell you what. If he thinks I'm cleaning up this mess, he's wrong.

  • Tell you what—let's eat out tonight.

  • “It's not worth the money.” “You know what—you're right.”

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or what

informal

1

used to ask about what is happening, being done, etc.

  • Is it snowing, raining, or what?

  • So are you ready to leave or what?

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2

used to ask if someone agrees with you

  • Is this exciting or what? [=isn't this exciting?; don't you agree that this is exciting?]

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say what

see 1say

what about

1

a

:

does that include (someone)

:

how about (someone)

  • “We're all going to the beach.” “What about Kenny?”

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(Video) Definition of Dictionary. Meaning, Pronunciation, Origin, Synonyms, Thesaurus, Video, and Sentences.

b

:

how does that affect (someone or something)

:

what should be done about (someone or something)

  • “I need to leave—something has come up.” “What about the meeting?” “We can reschedule it.”

  • “You can throw this one away.” “What about the others?” “Those I want to keep.”

  • (And/But) What about the people who can't afford health insurance?

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2

used to make a suggestion about what could be done

  • What about [=how about] coming with us?

  • What about driving to the coast for the weekend?

  • We'll need to talk about this again. What about (meeting) next week?

  • What about another game? [=would you like to play another game?]

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3

used to ask someone to tell you something in response to the thing that you have just said

  • I like skiing and hiking. What about you? [=what sports do you like?]

  • Everyone else is coming. What about you? [=are you coming, too?]

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what…for

:

for what purpose or reason

  • What did you do that for? [=why did you do that?]

  • What is this switch for? [=what does this switch do?]

  • “The principal wants to see you.” “What for?” [=why?]

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see also what for

what have you

informal

:

any of the other things that might also be mentioned

  • You can use the container to hold paper clips, pins, and/or what have you.

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what if

1

:

what would happen if

  • What if they find out?

  • What if it rains?

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2

:

what does it matter if

used to say that something is not important

  • “He's nice enough, I suppose. But he's poor.” “What if he is poor? I love him!”

  • “They might find out.” “So what if they do? I don't care.”

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see also so what at 3what

what of

1

formal

:

(Video) 2850 Most Important English Words (NGSL) - With definitions in easy English

how does that affect (someone or something)

:

what should be done about (someone or something)

  • What of [=what about] those who cannot afford health insurance?

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2

:

why does (something) matter

  • “Did you approve this request?” “Yes. What of it?” [=so what?]

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what's it to you?

informal

:

why do you want to know

used to respond in a somewhat angry or annoyed way to a question that you do not want to answer

  • “How much do they pay you?” “Why? What's it to you?

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what's more

:

in addition

:

furthermore

  • Her boyfriend is intelligent and handsome; what's more, he respects her.

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what's up?

US, informal

used as a friendly greeting

  • “Hi, Jim. What's up?” “Not much.”

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what's what

informal

:

the true state of things

:

the things that need to be known or understood in order to make good judgments, decisions, etc.

  • She knows what's what when it comes to fashion. [=she knows a lot about fashion]

  • We need to find out what's what.

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what's with

informal

or

what's up with

1

:

what is the reason for (something)

  • (So) what's with the hat? [=why are you wearing that hat?]

  • He told me to go away. What's up with that? [=why did he do that?]

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2

:

what is wrong with (someone or something)

  • What's with him?

  • What's up with you? You look upset.

  • I can't figure out what's up with this computer.

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(Video) 9 More Urban Dictionary Definitions You Need To Know

2 what

/ˈwɑːt/ /ˈwʌt/

adjective

2 what

/ˈwɑːt/ /ˈwʌt/

adjective

Britannica Dictionary definition of WHAT

always used before a noun

1

used to ask someone to indicate the identity or nature of someone or something

  • What fool told you that?

  • What book did you read?

  • What news have you heard from him?

  • In what way are these two stories the same?

  • We won the war, but at what price? [=did we lose or give up too much in order to win the war?]

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2

used to say that someone or something is remarkable for having good or bad qualities

  • What a good idea!

  • What mountains!

  • Remember what fun we had?

  • What a horrible movie!

  • What a beautiful child.

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3

used to refer to an amount that someone has, uses, etc.

  • She gave what money she had [=she gave all the money she had] to the homeless man.

  • Give what excuses you will—it makes no difference. [=no excuses that you may give will make any difference]

  • He soon gambled away what (little) money he had left.

  • We spent what (little) time remained chatting.

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3 what

/ˈwɑːt/ /ˈwʌt/

adverb

3 what

/ˈwɑːt/ /ˈwʌt/

adverb

Britannica Dictionary definition of WHAT

:

in what way

  • What [=how] does it matter?

  • What does she care? [=why is it important to her?]

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so what

informal

used to say that something said or done is not important

  • She has a glass of wine now and then—so what?

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what with

used to introduce the part of a sentence that indicates the cause of something

  • What with the freezing temperatures, they nearly died.

  • What with school and sports, she's always busy.

  • Things have been difficult for him lately, what with his wife's illness and all.

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FAQs

How Enough is enough meaning? ›

used to say that one wants something to stop because one can no longer accept or deal with it. I don't mind lending her a bit of money now and then, but enough is enough!

What is the full meaning of enough? ›

: in or to a degree or quantity that satisfies or that is sufficient or necessary for satisfaction : sufficiently.

What type of word is enough? ›

Enough is a determiner, a pronoun or an adverb.

What is the meaning of enough in Oxford dictionary? ›

determiner. /ɪˈnʌf/ /ɪˈnʌf/ ​used before plural or uncountable nouns to mean 'as many or as much as somebody needs or wants' synonym sufficient.

What is enough in a sentence? ›

We normally only use enough of when it is followed by a determiner or a pronoun (a/an/the, this/that, my/your/his, you/them, etc.). There isn't enough of that bread to make sandwiches for everyone. I've seen enough of his work to be able to recommend him. There's enough of us to make a difference.

What's a different word for enough? ›

Some common synonyms of enough are adequate, competent, and sufficient. While all these words mean "being what is necessary or desirable," enough is less exact in suggestion than sufficient.

What is enough said mean? ›

informal. used in speech to say that one understands what someone is telling him or her and no further information is needed. "Is he in good condition?" "Well, he ran in a marathon last month." "Enough said."

What is the opposite of word enough? ›

Opposite of a sufficient amount of. insufficient. inadequate. limited. little.

Is enough a negative? ›

Enough is used in negative sentences to mean less than sufficient or less than necessary. You're not working fast enough, you won't finish on time. Sorry, I haven't got enough food for everyone.

Can get enough of meaning? ›

to like something very much and want a lot of it.

What word means enough or more than enough? ›

What does ample mean? Ample means enough—sufficient or adequate. It can also mean more than enough—plentiful or abundant. It is often used in the context of things like time, room, space, supplies, or resources (such as food and money) to indicate that there is enough or more than enough of what is needed.

What type of adverb is enough? ›

Adverbs of degree are usually placed before the adjective, adverb, or verb that they modify, although there are some exceptions. The words "too", "enough", "very", and "extremely" are examples of adverbs of degree.

What is the Old English word for enough? ›

enough (adj.)

c. 1300, from Old English genog "sufficient in quantity or number," from Proto-Germanic compound *ganog "sufficient" (source also of Old Saxon ginog, Old Frisian enoch, Dutch genoeg, Old High German ginuog, German genug, Old Norse gnogr, Gothic ganohs).

What does good enough mean in text? ›

adjective. adequately good for the circumstances.

Which is enough for me meaning? ›

Sufficient to suit one's needs without needing to be perfect. I hope these snacks are good enough for our guests. This dress is good enough for me—I don't need anything fancy. See also: enough, for, good.

Is enough positive or negative? ›

We use enough to express that something is or isn't the right degree or amount. We put it after an adjective or verb. It's adjective + enough in positive sentences and questions or not + adjective + enough in negative sentences. Is it warm enough for you in here?

What is the meaning of not enough? ›

The phrase “not enough” is obviously a negative form of that – and it shows that things are not satisfactory! For example: “There is not enough bread for the entire group to eat.” It is usually used to indicate that the level is less than satisfactory – it would not be used if it was in excess.

Does not good enough mean? ›

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishthat's/it's not good enoughthat's/it's not good enoughused to say that you are not satisfied with something and that you are annoyed about it It's just not good enough.

What is being good enough? ›

The principle of good enough suggests that you should identify the point past which putting more resources into something won't improve it in a meaningful manner, so you should finish with it and move on.

Is good enough correct? ›

These must be modified with an adverb, and well is the adverb; good is the adjective. Therefore all your sentences should use well.

Have enough to go on meaning? ›

phrase. If you say that something is enough to be going on with, you mean that it is enough for your needs at the moment, although you will need something better at some time in the future.

What is the meaning of each word too and enough? ›

Remember that 'too' means that it's more than the necessary amount. 'Enough' is the necessary amount, it's the exact amount. And 'not enough' is less than the necessary amount.

What does how much is enough mean? ›

determiner. Enough means as much as you need or as much as is necessary. They had enough cash for a one-way ticket. pronoun. If you say that something is enough, you mean that you do not want it to continue any longer or get any worse.

At what point do you say enough is enough? ›

One way to know when enough is enough in a relationship is if you realize that your partner does not value you. When couples value each other, their mutual love and respect become stronger. If your partner values you, they will always seek your consent on crucial matters.

At what point do we say enough is enough? ›

something you say when you want something to stop: Enough is enough - I don't want to argue with you any more.

What is your enough meaning? ›

You are enough means that you don't have to strive to become more worthy, more valid, more acceptable, or more loved. You already are all of those things. There are things you might want to be more of.

How good is good enough meaning? ›

adequately good for the circumstances. “if it's good enough for you it's good enough for me” Synonyms: good. having desirable or positive qualities especially those suitable for a thing specified.

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