- at what time or period? how long ago? how soon?: When are they to arrive? When did the Roman Empire exist?
- under what circumstances? upon what occasion?: When is a letter of condolence in order? When did you ever see such a crowd?
- at what time: to know when to be silent.
- at the time or in the event that: when we were young; when the noise stops.
- at any time; whenever: He is impatient when he is kept waiting.
- upon or after which; and then: We had just fallen asleep when the bell rang.
- while on the contrary; considering that; whereas: Why are you here when you should be in school?
- what time: Till when is the store open?
- which time: They left on Monday, since when we have heard nothing.
- the time of anything: the when and the where of an act.
Origin of when
- contraction of when is: When's the show over?
- contraction of when does: When's the next train leave?
- contraction of when has: When's he ever been an authority?
Examples from the Web for whens
After a moment he asked: Whens that furniture of yours coming?Full-Back Foster
Ralph Henry Barbour
If ye lay me 'longside that girl wi' the gooc—goeeldy hair, I'll stan' someat stiff at the 'Kite's Nest' whens we get hic—'ome.Gwen Wynn
Of which men schulden gladly herken and enquere with al here herte, to wyte, what is penitence, and whens is cleped penitence?The English Novel
My life has been based on 'whens;' and first they have turned to 'ifs,' and then they have vanished away.Wives and Daughters
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
- at what time? over what period?when is he due?
- (used in indirect questions)ask him when he's due
- say when to state when an action is to be stopped or begun, as when someone is pouring a drink
- (subordinating) at a time at which; at the time at which; just as; afterI found it easily when I started to look seriously
- althoughhe drives when he might walk
- considering the fact thathow did you pass the exam when you'd not worked for it?
- at which (time); over which (period)an age when men were men
- (usually plural) a question as to the time of some occurrence
Word Origin and History for whens
Old English hwænne, hwenne, hwonne, from Germanic pronomial stem *khwa- (cf. Old Saxon hwan, Old Frisian hwenne, Middle Dutch wan, Old High German hwanne, German wann "when"), from PIE interrogative base *qwo- (see who).
Idioms and Phrases with whens
In addition to the idioms beginning with when
- when all's said and done
- when in Rome do as the Romans do
- when it comes to
- when least expected
- when one's back is turned
- when one's ship comes in
- when pigs fly
- when the cat's away, the mice will play
- when the chips are down
- when the dust has settled
- when the going gets tough, the tough get going
- when the shit hits the fan