whatever Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “whatever” in the English Dictionary

"whatever" in British English

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whateverpronoun, determiner

uk   /wɒtˈev.ər/  us   /wɑːˈt̬ev.ɚ/
  • whatever pronoun, determiner (NOT IMPORTANT WHAT)

B2 it is not ​important what is; it makes no ​difference what (is): We'll go whatever the ​weather. Whatever ​happens, you ​know that I'll ​stand by you. Whatever ​else may be said of him, Mr Meese is not ​scared of a ​fight. Whatever the ​outcome of the ​war, there will be no ​winners. Whatever the ​reason, more ​people are ​emigrating to ​Australia today than at any ​time since the 1950s.

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  • whatever pronoun, determiner (ANYTHING)

B1 anything or everything: I ​eat whatever I ​want and I still don't ​seem to put on ​weight. "What can we do ​tonight?" "It's up to you - whatever you ​want." Whatever I say I always ​seem to get it ​wrong. Don't, whatever you do, ​tell Patrick (= you ​certainly should not ​tell him). Do whatever you ​want - it won't ​affect me. "So, I'll ​bringredwine." "Sure, whatever (= ​bring that or anything ​else)." Apparently he "​discovered himself" in ​India, whatever that ​means (= I do not ​know what that ​means).

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whateverpronoun

uk   /wɒtˈev.ər/  us   /wɑːˈt̬ev.ɚ/
  • whatever pronoun (SURPRISE)

used ​instead of the word "what" to ​addemphasis to a phrase, usually ​expressingsurprise: Whatever is he doing with that ​rod? Whatever's that ​yellow thing on ​yourplate? Whatever did you say that for? Whatever does she ​see in him - he's ​horrible! Whatever made him ​buy that ​jacket?

whateveradverb

uk   /wɒtˈev.ər/  us   /wɑːˈt̬ev.ɚ/
  • whatever adverb (EMPHASIS)

→  whatsoever : There is no ​evidence whatever to show that this is in ​fact the ​case.
(Definition of whatever from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"whatever" in American English

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whateverpronoun

 us   /hwʌt̬ˈev·ər, wʌt̬-, hwɑt̬-, wɑt̬-/
  • whatever pronoun (SOMETHING UNKNOWN)

something whose ​particularnature or ​type you do not ​know: Whatever ​happens, you’ll be all ​right. You ​seem to ​criticize me whatever I do.
  • whatever pronoun (ANYTHING)

anything or everything: Give him whatever he ​wants.

whateveradverb [not gradable]

 us   /hwʌt̬ˈev·ər, wʌt̬-, hwɑt̬-, wɑt̬-/
used to say that something is not ​important or makes no ​difference: "Can I ​dresscasually or do I have to ​dress up?" "Whatever."
(Definition of whatever from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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