- (used to introduce the first of two or more alternatives, and sometimes repeated before the second or later alternative, usually with the correlative or): It matters little whether we go or stay. Whether we go or whether we stay, the result is the same.
- (used to introduce a single alternative, the other being implied or understood, or some clause or element not involving alternatives): See whether or not she has come. I doubt whether we can do any better.
- Archaic. (used to introduce a question presenting alternatives, usually with the correlative or).
- which or whichever (of two)?
- whether or no, under whatever circumstances; regardless: He threatens to go whether or no.
Origin of whether
Examples from the Web for whether
Meanwhile, in Florida, Bush was flooded with questions about whether gay marriage could possibly come to the Sunshine State.Jeb Bush’s Unseen Anti-Gay Marriage Emails
January 9, 2015
Instead, the man and woman in the truck wanted to know where the crash site was and whether would I show them.The 7-Year-Old Plane Crash Survivor’s Brutal Journey Through the Woods
January 7, 2015
In February, Slovakia will have a referendum on whether marriage should be defined as a union between a man and a woman.‘Only God’ Can Stop Gay Marriage
January 6, 2015
She vowed to repay the money—no official word, however, on whether she ever did that.Fergie Dives Into Prince Andrew’s Sex Scandal
January 5, 2015
Investigators will focus on whether the sudden emergency was so extreme that no degree of pilot skill would have helped.Flight 8501 Poses Question: Are Modern Jets Too Automated to Fly?
January 4, 2015
Whether it had ever been painted, was a question not easily solved.
I doubt me whether the poor old hound will brook the journey.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
Whether I will be permitted again to look upon your dear faces, I also am ignorant.
The next question was, whether it was possible to follow them.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
The question which you have to consider is whether this war is just or unjust.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
- (subordinating) used to introduce an indirect question or a clause after a verb expressing or implying doubt or choice in order to indicate two or more alternatives, the second or last of which is introduced by or or or whetherhe doesn't know whether she's in Britain or whether she's gone to France
- (subordinating often foll by or not) used to introduce any indirect questionhe was not certain whether his friend was there or not
- (coordinating) another word for either (def. 3) any man, whether liberal or conservative, would agree with me
- (coordinating) archaic used to introduce a direct question consisting of two alternatives, the second of which is introduced by or or or whetherwhether does he live at home or abroad
- whether or no
- used as a conjunction as a variant of whether (def. 1)
- under any circumstanceshe will be here tomorrow, whether or no
- whether…or or whether…or whether if on the one hand…or even if on the other handyou'll eat that, whether you like it or not
- obsolete which (of two): used in direct or indirect questions
Word Origin and History for whether
Old English hwæðer, hweðer "which of two, whether," from Proto-Germanic *khwatharaz (cf. Old Saxon hwedar, Old Norse hvarr, Gothic huaþar, Old High German hwedar "which of the two," German weder "neither"), from interrogative base *khwa- "who" (see who) + comparative suffix *-theraz (cf. Sanskrit katarah, Avestan katara-, Greek poteros, Latin uter "which of the two, either of two," Lithuanian katras "which of the two," Old Church Slavonic koteru "which"). Its comparative form is either. Phrase whether or not (also whether or no) recorded from 1650s.
Idioms and Phrases with whether
In addition to the idiom beginning with whether
- whether or not
- not know whether