Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “what”

See all translations

what

pronoun, determiner
 
/hwʌt, hwɑt/
A1 used to ask for information about something: What’s (= what is) this? What time is it?
A1 informal used when you have not heard what someone has said and you want him or her to repeat it. Some people think this use is not polite: “Would you like more coffee, Tom?” “What?”
B1 used to mean something without giving it a name: I heard what he said. Do you know what I mean?
informal used to ask what someone wants when he or she calls your name: “Jenny?” “What?”
what about…? A2 used to suggest something: What about asking Andy to help?
what a/an… B1 used to give your opinion: What an awful day!
what if…? B1 used to ask about something that could happen in the future, especially something bad: What if I miss the plane?
what… for? used to ask about the reason or the purpose for something: What are these tools for? What are you doing that for?
(Definition of what from the Websters Essential Mini Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “what” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

be as cold as ice

to be extremely cold

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

cinderella surgery noun

December 15, 2014
cosmetic surgery to the feet We have all heard of people having nose jobs, boob jobs and liposuction – but now a new trend growing in popularity in America: Cinderella surgery.

Read More