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Meaning of “what” - Learner’s Dictionary

what

pronoun, determiner     /wɒt/
INFORMATION
A1 used to ask for information about something: What's this? What time is it? What happened?Question words and expressions
THE THING
B1 used to refer to something without naming it: I heard what he said. Do you know what I mean? What I like most about her is her honesty.Question words and expressions
NOT HEARD informal
used when you have not heard what someone has said and you want them to repeat it. Some people think this use is not very polite: "Do you want a drink Tom?" "What?"Question words and expressions
REPLY informal
used to ask what someone wants when they call you: "Hey Jenny?" "Yes, what?"Question words and expressions
what a/an ...
B1 used to give your opinion, especially when you have strong feelings about something: What a mess! What an awful day!Expressing and asking opinionsRemarks and remarkingControlling emotionsAnger and displeasure
what about...?
A2 used to suggest something: What about asking Martin to help?Suggestions and proposals
what ... for?
B2 used to ask about the reason for something: What are you doing that for? "We really need a bigger car." "What for?"Question words and expressions
what if...?
B1 used to ask about something that could happen in the future, especially something bad: What if I don't pass my exams?Question words and expressionsSuspecting and questioningQuestioning people and asking questions in generalCuriosity
what's up (with sb) informal
used to ask why someone is unhappy or angry: What's up, Angie? You look troubled.Question words and expressions
what with informal
used to talk about the reasons for a particular situation, especially a bad or difficult situation: I'm tired, what with travelling all day yesterday and sleeping badly.Connecting words which introduce a cause or reason
what's more
B2 used to add something surprising or interesting to what you have just saidAlso, extra, and in additionConnecting words joining words or phrases with similar or related meanings
(Definition of what from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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European Union – in or out? The language of the UK’s referendum
European Union – in or out? The language of the UK’s referendum
by ,
June 22, 2016
by Liz Walter On June 23rd, Britain will decide whether or not to remain part of the European Union (EU). I’m more than happy to bore friends with my own views on the subject, but the purpose of this post is simply to highlight the language of the debate. The precise question we will be answering

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