[ hwuht-uh-bou-tiz-uhm, wuht‐, hwot‐, wot‐ ]
/ ˌʰwʌt əˈbaʊ tɪz əm, ˌwʌt‐, ˌʰwɒt‐, ˌwɒt‐ /


a conversational tactic in which a person responds to an argument or attack by changing the subject to focus on someone else’s misconduct, implying that all criticism is invalid because no one is completely blameless: Excusing your mistakes with whataboutism is not the same as defending your record.

Nearby words

  1. what've,
  2. what-if,
  3. what-you-may-call-it,
  4. whata,
  5. whataboutery,
  6. whatchamacallit,
  7. whate'er,
  8. whatever,
  9. whatevs,
  10. whatnot

Origin of whataboutism

First recorded in 2000–05; from the phrase what about? + -ism

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019