- 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?
- 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 when
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 when
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
- cross a bridge when one comes to it
- push comes to shove, when