View synonyms for where


[ wair, hwair ]


  1. in or at what place?:

    Where is he? Where do you live?

  2. in what position or circumstances?:

    Where do you stand on this question? Without money, where are you?

  3. in what particular respect, way, etc.?:

    Where does this affect us?

  4. to what place, point, or end? whither?:

    Where are you going?

  5. from what source? whence?:

    Where did you get such a notion?


  1. in or at what place, part, point, etc.:

    Find where he is. Find where the trouble is.

  2. in or at the place, part, point, etc., in or at which:

    The book is where you left it.

  3. in a position, case, etc., in which:

    Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.

  4. in any place, position, case, etc., in which; wherever:

    Use the ointment where pain is felt.

  5. to what or whatever place; to the place or any place to which:

    I will go where you go.

  6. in or at which place; and there:

    They came to the town, where they lodged for the night.


  1. what place?:

    Where did you come from?

  2. the place in which; point at which:

    This is where the boat docks. That was where the phone rang.


  1. a place; that place in which something is located or occurs:

    the wheres and hows of job hunting.


/ wɛə /


    1. in, at, or to what place, point, or position?

      where are you going?

    2. ( used in indirect questions )

      I don't know where they are

  1. in, at, or to which (place)

    the hotel where we spent our honeymoon

  2. subordinating in the place at which

    where we live it's always raining


  1. usually plural a question as to the position, direction, or destination of something

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Usage Note

Where at ( Where was he at? ) and where to ( Where is this leading to? ) are often criticized as redundant because neither at nor to adds anything to the meaning of where, and sentences like the preceding ones are perfectly clear and standard without the final at or to. This criticism does not apply to where from, which is fully standard: Where does the money come from? The constructions where at and where to occur in the speech of educated people but are rare in formal speech and edited writing.

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It was formerly considered incorrect to use where as a substitute for in which after a noun which did not refer to a place or position, but this use has now become acceptable: we now have a situation where/in which no further action is needed

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Word History and Origins

Origin of where1

First recorded before 900; Middle English quher, wher, Old English hwǣr; cognate with Dutch waar, Old High German hwār; akin to Old Norse hvar, Gothic hwar

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Word History and Origins

Origin of where1

Old English hwǣr, hwār ( a ); related to Old Frisian hwēr, Old Saxon, Old High German hwār, Old Norse, Gothic hvar

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. where it's at, Slang. where the most exciting, prestigious, or profitable activity or circumstance is to be found.

More idioms and phrases containing where

  • close to home (hit where one lives)
  • fools rush in where angels fear to tread
  • give credit (where credit is due)
  • know where one stands
  • let the chips fall where they may
  • not know where to turn
  • put one's money where one's mouth is
  • take up where one left off
  • tell someone where to get off
  • this is where I came in

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Example Sentences

Ferguson reverses those emphases—focusing solely on this historic meltdown, the who/what/where/why/how.

The first time anyone tastes a fried stuffed olive, they get that where-have-you-been-all-my-life look on their face.

I was on board John Edwards' campaign bus, with ABC's off-air Edwards reporter, Raelyn Johnson, riding in who-knows-where Iowa.

You will not succeed in wresting it for long from the eternal oblivion where-unto it is destined.

Where-ever a sale was effected, all those connected with it were objects of vengeance.

He peeped over the hill, and saw two warriors riding away toward the Place-where-the-sun-sleeps.

"We saw some people far away toward the Place-where-the-day-begins," said High Eagle.

He afterwards went to the Apartment of the Empresses, and had reason, where-ever he came, to be satisfied with his Reception.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.