pron., a.,1.
1.As an interrogative pronoun, used in asking questions regarding either persons or things; as, what is this? what did you say? what poem is this? what child is lost?
What see'st thou in the ground?
- Shak.
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
- Ps. viii. 4.
What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
- Matt. viii. 27.
2.As an exclamatory word: - (a) Used absolutely or independently; - often with a question following.
What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
- Matt. xxvi. 40.
3.Used adjectively, meaning how remarkable, or how great; as, what folly! what eloquence! what courage!
What a piece of work is man!
- Shak.
O what a riddle of absurdity!
- Young.
3.As a relative pronoun
4.Sometimes prefixed to adjectives in an adverbial sense, as nearly equivalent to how; as, what happy boys!
What partial judges are our love and hate!
- Dryden.
4.Used substantively with the antecedent suppressed, equivalent to that which, or those [persons] who, or those [things] which; - called a compound relative.
With joy beyond what victory bestows.
- Cowper.
I'm thinking Captain Lawton will count the noses of what are left before they see their whaleboats.
- Cooper.
What followed was in perfect harmony with this beginning.
- Macaulay.
I know well . . . how little you will be disposed to criticise what comes to you from me.
- J. H. Newman.
4.Whatever; whatsoever; what thing soever; - used indefinitely.
Whether it were the shortness of his foresight, the strength of his will, . . . or what it was.
- Bacon.
5.Used adjectively, equivalent to the . . . which; the sort or kind of . . . which; rarely, the . . . on, or at, which.
See what natures accompany what colors.
- Bacon.
To restrain what power either the devil or any earthly enemy hath to work us woe.
- Milton.
We know what master laid thy keel,
What workmen wrought thy ribs of steel.
- Longfellow.
5.Used adverbially, in part; partly; somewhat; - with a following preposition, especially, with, and commonly with repetition.
What for lust [pleasure] and what for lore.
- Chaucer.
Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with the gallows, and what with poverty, I am custom shrunk.
- Shak.
The year before he had so used the matter that what by force, what by policy, he had taken from the Christians above thirty small castles.
- Knolles.
What ho!
an exclamation of calling.
What if
what will it matter if; what will happen or be the result if.
What of this
what follows from this, that, it, etc., often with the implication that it is of no consequence.
- Shak.
What though
even granting that; allowing that; supposing it true that.
- Shak.
What time
- Shak.
6.Used adverbially in a sense corresponding to the adjectival use; as, he picked what good fruit he saw.
n.1.Something; thing; stuff.
And gave him for to feed,
Such homely what as serves the simple lown.
- Spenser.
interrog. 1.Why? For what purpose? On what account?
What should I tell the answer of the knight.
- Chaucer.
But what do I stand reckoning upon advantages and gains lost by the misrule and turbulency of the prelates? What do I pick up so thriftily their scatterings and diminishings of the meaner subject?
- Milton.
Wharf boat
wharf rat
-- What --
What a man cannot transfer
What a vengeance
What cheer?
what for
What ho!
What if
what is more
What is up?
What of this
What though
What time
What You Get Is What You Never Thought You Had
What You See Is All You Get
What You See Is What You Get
What's a spline?
Index: # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

About this site and copyright information - Online Dictionary Home