Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “why”

See all translations

why

adverb uk   /waɪ/ us  
A1 for what reason: "I'm going home." "Why?" Why did you choose to live in London? Why wait? Let's leave now. Why should I help him - he never helps me? Why is it that I find chocolate so addictive? The police asked me to explain why I hadn't reported the accident sooner. I don't know why she isn't here. Quite why he isn't here today is a mystery. There is no reason why we shouldn't succeed.
More examples

why

why

noun uk   /waɪ/ us  
the whys and (the) wherefores the reasons for something: I know very little about the whys and the wherefores of the situation.
Translations of “why”
in Korean 왜…
in Arabic لِماذا…
in French pourquoi…
in Turkish neden, niçin, ne diye…
in Italian perché…
in Chinese (Traditional) 為甚麼…
in Russian почему?…
in Polish dlaczego, czemu…
in Spanish por qué…
in Portuguese por que, por quê…
in German warum…
in Catalan per què…
in Japanese どうして, なぜ…
in Chinese (Simplified) 为什么…
(Definition of why from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of why?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “why” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

ellipsis

a situation in which words are left out of a sentence but the sentence can still be understood

Word of the Day

Euphemisms (Words used to Avoid Offending People)

by Kate Woodford,
March 04, 2015
​​​ We recently looked at the language that we use to describe lies and lying. One area of lying that we considered was ‘being slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth’. One reason for not speaking the complete truth is to avoid saying something that might upset or offend people. Words and

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More