[ hwair-fawr, -fohr, wair- ]
/ ˈʰwɛərˌfɔr, -ˌfoʊr, ˈwɛər- /


Archaic. for what? why?
for that cause or reason: Wherefore let us be grateful.


the cause or reason: to study the whys and wherefores of a situation.

Origin of wherefore

Middle English word dating back to 1150–1200; see origin at where, for

Can be confused

where wherefore

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for wherefore

British Dictionary definitions for wherefore


/ (ˈwɛəˌfɔː) /


(usually plural) an explanation or reason (esp in the phrase the whys and wherefores)


archaic for what reason? why?

sentence connector

archaic, or formal for which reason: used as an introductory word in legal preambles
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with wherefore


see whys and wherefores.

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