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 bring red wine." "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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uk /wɒtˈev.ər/ us /wɑːˈt̬ev.ɚ/

whatever pronoun (SURPRISE)

used instead of the word "what" to add emphasis to a phrase, usually expressing surprise:

Whatever is he doing with that rod?
Whatever's that yellow thing on your plate?
Whatever did you say that for?
Whatever does she see in him - he's horrible!
Whatever made him buy that jacket?


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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us /hwʌt̬ˈev·ər, wʌt̬-, hwɑt̬-, wɑt̬-/

whatever pronoun (SOMETHING UNKNOWN)

something whose particular nature 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-/

whatever adverb [ not gradable ] (NOT IMPORTANT WHAT)

used to say that something is not important or makes no difference:

"Can I dress casually or do I have to dress up?" "Whatever."

(Definition of “whatever” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)