what


what
1 predeterminer, determiner, pronoun
1 used when asking questions about a thing or person, or a kind of thing or person that you do not know anything about: What are you doing? | What colour is the new carpet? | “What do you do?” “I'm a teacher.” | What's your new boss like? | What do you mean, you want to spend Christmas alone?
2 used especially in indirect questions to talk about things or information: I believe what he told me. | Show me what you bought then. | They're discussing what to do next. | I don't know what you think but if you ask me it's a waste of time. | She gave him what money she had. (=all the money she had, although she did not have much)
3 spoken used at the beginning of a statement to emphasize what you are going to say: What that kid needs is some love and affection. | What we'll do is leave a note for Mum to tell her we won't be back till late.
4 what? spoken
a) used to ask someone to repeat something they have just said because you didn't hear it properly: “Have you got a pen I could borrow?” “What?”
b) used during conversations when you have heard someone talking to you and want to tell them to continue: “Elaine!” “What?” “Are you coming?”
c) used to show that you are surprised by what someone has said: “My wallet's missing.” “What?”
5 spoken used at the beginning of a sentence to show that you think something is very good, very bad etc: What a lovely day ! (=the weather is good): What a horrible thing to do !
6 what about...? spoken
a) used to make a suggestion: What about Czechoslovakia for a holiday? | what about doing: What about going to a movie this evening?
b) used to introduce a new person or thing into a conversation: What about Patrick? What's he doing nowadays? | We've chosen the food, now, what about the wine?
7 I tell you what spoken used to make an offer or suggestion: I tell you what, I'll give you -20 for it.
8 guess what! spoken used before telling someone some exciting or surprising news: Guess what! Jane's getting married.
9 what (...) for? spoken
a) why?: “She's decided to work part-time.” “What for?”
b) used to ask what purpose something has: What's this gadget for?
10 spoken used to give yourself time to think before guessing a number or amount: You're looking at, what, about -4000 for a decent second-hand car.
11 what's his/her/its name also what d'you call him/her/it spoken used when talking about a person or thing whose name you cannot immediately remember: The hospital have just got a, what d'you call it, er.. a new scanner.
12 (and) what's more spoken used when adding something to what you have already said, especially when it is exciting or interesting: These detergents are environmentally friendly, what's more, they're relatively cheap.
13 what's what spoken what a situation is really like as opposed to what people say it is like, or what they try and make you believe: Shirley's been there before, she'll tell you what's what.
14 what the hell/devil/blazes...?/what in God's name/heaven's name...? spoken used to ask in an extremely angry or surprised way what is happening, what someone is doing etc: What the hell do you think you're doing? | What in God's name will she think of next?
15 what the hell! spoken used to say that you have decided to do something even though it is very expensive, difficult etc: Oh, what the hell! It's your birthday, let's have champagne!
16 ...or what? spoken used to show that you are impatient when asking a question or because you think there is only one possible answer to the question: Are you coming then, or what? | Is that work going to be finished by Friday or what?
17 so what? spoken used to say that you do not care about something or to tell someone angrily that something does not concern them: “Your room looks a real mess Tracey.” “So what?”
18 you what? spoken
a) used to ask someone to repeat something they have just said, in a way people think is not polite: “Could you get the butter out of the fridge?” “You what?”
b) used to show that you are surprised: “I got the job!” “You what?”
19 what if... spoken
a) used to make a suggestion: What if we go and see a film tomorrow night?
b) used to ask what will happen, usually if an unpleasant or frightening situation happens: What if we get burgled while we're on holiday?
20 ...and what have you spoken used at the end of a list of things to mean other things of a similar kind: The shelves were crammed with books, documents, and what have you.
21 have what it takes spoken to have the right qualities or skills in order to succeed: I reckon Jordi's got what it takes to be an international footballer.
22 what's with
a) AmE spoken used to ask a person or group of people who are behaving strangely or violently, why they are behaving in this way: What's with you people?
b) used to ask the reason for something: What's with the free sandwiches and beer?
23 what of it? spoken used to say that you do not care about something or to tell someone angrily that something does not concern them: “I hear you've just got a new car.” “Yes, what of it?”
24 now what? spoken used to ask what is going to happen next, what you should do etc
2 adverb
1 used especially in questions to ask to what degree or in what way something matters: What do you care about it? (=I don't think you care at all): We may be a little late, but what does it matter?
2 what with spoken used to introduce a list of reasons that have made something happen or have made someone feel a particular way: What with neighbours, relatives, and friends there, the house was overflowing with people.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

Synonyms:

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  • What — What, pron., a., & adv. [AS. hw[ae]t, neuter of hw[=a] who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. [root]182. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. As an interrogative pronoun,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • What ho — What What, pron., a., & adv. [AS. hw[ae]t, neuter of hw[=a] who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. [root]182. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. As an interrogative… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • What if — What What, pron., a., & adv. [AS. hw[ae]t, neuter of hw[=a] who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. [root]182. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. As an interrogative… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • What of it — What What, pron., a., & adv. [AS. hw[ae]t, neuter of hw[=a] who; akin to OS. hwat what, OFries. hwet, D. & LG. wat, G. was, OHG. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, Sw. & Dan. hvad, Goth. hwa. [root]182. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. As an interrogative… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • What if? — (comics) What if? Éditeur Marvel Comics Format Série continue Date(s) de publication février 1977 octobre 1984 (Vol. 1) juillet 1989 novembre 1998 (Vol. 2) Numéros 47 (Vol. 1) 114 (Vol. 2) Scén …   Wikipédia en Français

  • What If? 2 — subtitled Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been , is a collection of twenty five essays dealing with counterfactual history. It was published by G.P. Putnam s Sons in 2001, ISBN 0 399 14795 0, and edited by Robert Cowley. It is the suc …   Wikipedia

  • What If — What if? is a question that often is used in the context of:* Counterfactual history * Alternate history (fiction) * UchroniaWhat If may refer to:In literature: * What If? (magazine), a Canadian teen magazine * What If , a fantasy short story by… …   Wikipedia

  • What — or WHAT may refer to: What, an interrogative pronoun in English What? , one of the Five Ws used in journalism Web Hypertext Application Technology, a group of people interested in evolving HTML and related technologies Winter Haven Area Transit,… …   Wikipedia

  • What's Up? — «What s Up?» Sencillo de 4 Non Blondes del álbum Bigger, Better, Faster, More! Formato Sencillo de 7 pulgadas, casete, disco compacto Grabación 1992 Género(s) Rock …   Wikipedia Español

  • What's up? — may refer to:* An informal or casual greeting; see * What s Up (song), a song by the 4 Non Blondes * Whats Up Magazine, a Boston, Massachusetts street newspaper * Whassup?, an advertising campaign for Budweiser brand beeree also* What s Up Doc?… …   Wikipedia

  • What — What, interrog. adv. Why? For what purpose? On what account? [Obs.] [1913 Webster] What should I tell the answer of the knight. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] But what do I stand reckoning upon advantages and gains lost by the misrule and turbulency of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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