Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “what”

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

monster

any imaginary frightening creature, especially one that is large and strange

Word of the Day

What’s that lovely smell?

by Kate Woodford,
October 29, 2014
As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells. Most smell words are either

Read More 

high-frequency trading noun

October 27, 2014
a type of stock market trading that uses very complex technology to trade extremely quickly, often making tiny profits which nevertheless add up to substantial sums Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, is driving a huge amount of attention toward the topic of high frequency trading, and it has rekindled some of

Read More