AskDefine | Define why

The Collaborative Dictionary

Why \Why\, adv. [OE. whi, why, AS. hw[imac], hw?, instrumental case of hw[=a], hw[ae]t; akin to Icel. hv[imac] why, Dan. & Sw. hvi; cf. Goth. hw?. ?. See Who.] [1913 Webster]
For what cause, reason, or purpose; on what account; wherefore; -- used interrogatively. See the Note under What, pron.,
[1913 Webster] Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? --Ezek. xxxiii.
[1913 Webster]
For which; on account of which; -- used relatively. [1913 Webster] No ground of enmity between us known Why he should mean me ill or seek to harm. --Milton. [1913 Webster] Turn the discourse; I have a reason why I would not have you speak so tenderly. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]
The reason or cause for which; that on account of which; on what account; as, I know not why he left town so suddenly; -- used as a compound relative. [1913 Webster] Note: Why is sometimes used as an interjection or an expletive in expression of surprise or content at a turn of affairs; used also in calling. "Why, Jessica!" --Shak. [1913 Webster] If her chill heart I can not move, Why, I'll enjoy the very love. --Cowley. [1913 Webster] Sometimes, also, it is used as a noun. [1913 Webster] The how and the why and the where. --Goldsmith. [1913 Webster] For why, because; why. See Forwhy. [Obs. or Colloq.] [1913 Webster]
Why \Why\, n. A young heifer. [Prov. Eng.] --Grose. [1913 Webster] Whydah bird

Word Net

why n : the cause or intention underlying an action or situation, especially in the phrase `the whys and wherefores' [syn: wherefore] adv : question word; what is the reason (`how come' is a nonstandard variant); "why are you here?"; "how come he got an ice cream cone but I didn't?" [syn: how come]

Moby Thesaurus

Chinese puzzle, argument, baffling problem, brain twister, conundrum, crossword puzzle, crux, enigma, enigmatic question, excuse, explanation, floorer, for which, for why, from what cause, ground, how come, jigsaw puzzle, knot, knotty point, mind-boggler, mystery, mystification, nut to crack, on what account, perplexed question, perplexity, poser, pourquoi, pretense, pretext, problem, proof, puzzle, puzzlement, puzzler, question, question mark, rational ground, rationale, reason, reason for, reason why, riddle, sixty-four dollar question, stated cause, sticker, stumper, the big idea, the idea, the whatfor, the wherefore, the why, tough proposition, underlying reason, vexed question, what for, wherefore, whyever, whyfor

English

Etymology

< hwȳ.

Pronunciation

  • a UK , /ʍaɪ/, /WaI/
  • a US , /waɪ/, /waI/
  • Rhymes with: -aɪ

Homophones

Adverb

  1. For what reason.
    Why did you do that?

Synonyms

Translations

for what reason
Why may refer to:

Music

Artists

Songs

See also:
why in Dutch: Why
why in Japanese: WHY
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