[ hwich, wich ]
/ ʰwɪtʃ, wɪtʃ /
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In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.

Origin of which

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English hwilc, hwelc, equivalent to hwe-, base of hwā interrogative pronoun, + -līc “body, shape, kind”; cognate with Old Frisian hwelik, Dutch welk, German welch, Gothic hwileiks literally, “of what form”; see origin at who, like1
The relative pronoun which refers to inanimate things and to animals: The house, which we had seen only from a distance, impressed us even more as we approached. The horses which pulled the coach were bay geldings. Formerly, which referred to persons, but this use, while still heard ( a man which I know ), is nonstandard. Contrary to the teachings of some usage guides, which introduces both restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. The “rule” that which can be used only with nonrestrictive clauses has no basis in fact. In edited prose three-fourths of the clauses in which which is the relative pronoun are restrictive: A novel which he later wrote quickly became a bestseller. See also that.
that, which (see grammar note at that)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for which

/ (wɪtʃ) /


  1. used with a noun in requesting that its referent be further specified, identified, or distinguished from the other members of a classwhich house did you want to buy?
  2. (as pronoun)which did you find?
  3. (used in indirect questions)I wondered which apples were cheaper
  1. whatever of a class; whicheverbring which car you want
  2. (as pronoun)choose which of the cars suit you
used in relative clauses with inanimate antecedentsthe house, which is old, is in poor repair
as; and that: used in relative clauses with verb phrases or sentences as their antecedentshe died of cancer, which is what I predicted
the which archaic a longer form of which, often used as a sentence connector
Old English hwelc, hwilc; related to Old High German hwelīh (German welch), Old Norse hvelīkr, Gothic hvileiks, Latin quis, quid
See that
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 which


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