American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


WHAT, pronoun relative or substitute. [G., Latin See Wight.]

1. That which. Say what you will, is the same as say that which you will.

2. Which part. Consider what is due to nature, and what to art or labor.

3. what is the substitute for a sentence or clause of a sentence. I tell thee what corporal, I could tear her. Here what relates to the last clause, I could tear her; this is what I tell you.

4. what is used as an adjective, of both genders, often in specifying sorts or particulars. See what colors this silk exhibits. I know what qualities you desire in a friend; that is, I know the qualities which you desire.

5. what is much used in asking questions. what sort of character is this? what poem is this? what man is this we see coming?

6. what time, at the time or on the day when.

WHAT time the morn mysterious visions brings.

7. To how great a degree.

WHAT a partial judges are our love and hate!

8. Whatever.

Whether it was the shortness of his foresight, the strength of his will--or what it was--

9. Some part, or some. The year before, he had so used the matter, that what by force, what by policy, he had taken from the Christians above thirty castles; that is, he had taken above thirty castles; that is, he had taken above thirty castles, a part or some by force, a part or some by policy; or what may be interpreted partly. Sometimes what has no verb to govern it, and it must be considered as adverbially used. what with carrying apples and fuel, he finds himself in a hurry; that is, partly, in part.

10. what is sometimes used elliptically for what is this, or how is this?

WHAT! Could ye not watch with me one hour? Matthew 26:8.

11. what is used interrogatively and elliptically, as equivalent to what will be the consequence? what will follow? As in the phrase, what if I undertake this business myself?

WHAT though, that is, grant this or that; allow it to be so.

WHAT ho, an exclamation of calling.

WHAT, noun Fare; things; matter. [Not in use.]