what: Meaning and Definition of
Pronunciation: (hwut, hwot, wut, wot unstressed hw&schwat, w&schwat), [key]
- the true nature or identity of something, or the sum of its characteristics: a lecture on the whats and hows of crop rotation.
- (used interrogatively before nouns): What news? What clothes shall I pack?
- whatever: Take what supplies you need.
- to what extent or degree? how much?: What does it matter?
- (used to introduce a prepositional phrase beginning with with): What with storms and all, their return was delayed.
- for what reason or purpose? why?
- (used in exclamatory expressions, often fol. by a question): What, no salt?
- as much as; as far as: He helps me what he can.
- but that; but who; who or that … not: Who knows but what the sun may still shine.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.