what
Pronunciation
  • (Australia) IPA: /wɔt/
  • (British, New Zealand) enPR hwŏt, IPA: /ʍɒt/, /wɒt/
  • (NYC) enPR: wŏt, IPA: /wɒt/
  • (Canada, America) enPR hwŭt, IPA: /ʍʌt/, /wʌt/
    • (Canada, America, unstressed) IPA: [wʌɾ], [wʌˀ]

Pronoun
  1. (interrogative) Which thing, event, circumstance, etc.: used interrogatively in asking for the specification of an identity, quantity, quality, etc.
    • 2016, [https://web.archive.org/web/20171014193917/https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/lets-learn-english-lesson-6-where-is-the-gym/3225958.html VOA Learning English] (public domain)
      The gym is across from … what? — The gym is across from the lounge. — Across from the lounge. Right. Thanks!
  2. That which; those that; the thing that.
    He knows what he wants.
    What goes up must come down.
    Keep up with what your friends are doing.
  3. (relative, nonstandard) That; which; who.
    • 1902, J. M. Barrie, The Admirable Crichton:
      That’s her; that’s the thing what has stole his heart from me.
  4. Whatever.
    I will do what I can to help you.
Translations Translations
  • French: ce que, ce qui
  • German: was
  • Italian: quello che, ciò che, quel che, cosa
  • Portuguese: o que
  • Russian: что
  • Spanish: lo que
Translations
  • German: der, die, das
  • Portuguese: que
  • Russian: кото́рый

Adverb

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. Such.
    What a pity.
    What a beautiful day!
  3. (obsolete) Why.
    • What should I tell the answer of the knight?
    • 1641, John Milton, Of Reformation Touching Church-Discipline in England: And the Cavvses that hitherto have hindred it., Printed, for Thomas Underhill; republished as Will Taliaferro Hale, editor, Of Reformation Touching Church-Discipline in England (Yale Studies in English; LIV), New Haven: Yale University Press, 1916, OCLC 260112239 ↗:
      But what do I stand reckoning upon advantages and gains lost by the misrule and turbulency of the prelates?
  4. (now, rare) Used to introduce each of two coordinate phrases or concepts; both…and.
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, [http://quod.lib.umich.edu/c/cme/MaloryWks2/1:5.1?rgn=div2;view=fulltext 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
  5. (Singlish) Alternative form of wat#English|wat used to contradict an assumption
Synonyms Translations Translations
Interjection
  1. An expression of surprise or disbelief.
    • 1605 Wm. 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. (British, colloquial, dated) Clipping of what do you say?
    • 1991 May 12, "Kidnapped!" Jeeves and Wooster, Series 2, Episode 5:
      Chuffy: WHAT? No, no, no, no, no. My casa is your casa, what?
    It’s a nice day, what?
  4. What did you say? I beg your pardon?
  5. (typically with a) An intensifier to an adjective phrase; used to begin a sentence.
    What a nice car.
    What destruction that tornado brought!
Synonyms Translations
  • French: quoi, comment
  • German: was!
  • Italian: cosa
  • Portuguese: o quê?
  • Russian: как!
  • Spanish: ¡qué!, ¿no?, ¿cómo?

Determiner
  1. Which; which kind of.
    What shirt are you going to wear?
    What time is it?
    What kind of car is that?
  2. How much; how great (used in an exclamation).
    What talent he has!
    What a talent!
  3. (relative) Whatever
    Write down what things come into your mind.
Translations Translations
Noun

what

  1. (obsolete, uncountable) Something; thing; stuff.
    • They prayd him sit, and gave him for to feed / Such homely what as serves the simple clowne, / That doth despise the dainties of the towne […]
  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.



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