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English definition of “what”

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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 Learners Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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