[ hoo ]
/ hu /
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pronoun; possessive whose;objective whom.
what person or persons?: Who did it?
(of a person) of what character, origin, position, importance, etc.: Who does she think she is?
the person that or any person that (used relatively to represent a specified or implied antecedent): It was who you thought.
(used relatively in restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses to represent a specified antecedent, the antecedent being a person or sometimes an animal or personified thing): Any kid who wants to can learn to swim.
Archaic. the person or persons who.


How To Use "Who" vs. "Whom"

In short, whom is the object form of the pronoun who. But, let’s have some examples to spell it out.

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True or false? British English and American English are only different when it comes to slang words.

Idioms about who

    as who should say, Archaic. in a manner of speaking; so to say.

Origin of who

before 900; Middle English; Old English hwā; cognate with Old High German hwer,Gothic hwas,Latin quis

words often confused with who

The typical usage guide statement about the choice between who and whom says that the choice must be determined by the grammar of the clause within which this pronoun occurs. Who is the appropriate form for the subject of a sentence or clause: Who are you? The voters who elected him have not been disappointed. Whom is the objective form: Whom did you ask? To whom are we obliged for this assistance? This method of selecting the appropriate form is generally characteristic of formal writing and is usually followed in edited prose.
In most speech and writing, however, since who or whom often occurs at the beginning of the sentence or clause, there is a strong tendency to choose who no matter what its function. Even in edited prose, who occurs at least ten times as often as whom, regardless of grammatical function. Only when it directly follows a preposition is whom more likely to occur than who : Mr. Erickson is the man to whom you should address your request.
In natural informal speech, whom is quite rare. Who were you speaking to? is far more likely to occur than the “correct” To whom were you speaking? or Whom were you speaking to? However, the notion that whom is somehow more “correct” or elegant than who leads some speakers to make an inappropriate hypercorrection: Whom are you? The person whom is in charge has left the office. See also than.

Other definitions for who (2 of 2)

[ duhb-uhl-yoo-eych-oh ]
/ ˈdʌb əlˌyuˈeɪtʃˈoʊ /

abbreviation, noun
World Health Organization: an agency of the United Nations, established in 1948, concerned with improving international public health and preventing or controlling communicable diseases on a worldwide basis through various technical projects and programs.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is WHO?

The World Health Organization, commonly abbreviated as WHO, is an agency of the United Nations that works to promote public health around the world. One of its principal focuses is combating communicable diseases, such as influenza, HIV, and malaria. In 2020, the World Health Organization notably helped coordinate international efforts to control and prevent the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Health Organization was founded on April 7, 1948, when its constitution came into force. WHO inherited the activities of its precursors, the International Office of Public Health, founded in 1907, and the League of Nations Health Organization (LNHO), which was dissolved in 1946.

As stated in its constitution, the World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The organization is guided by the principles that health is a fundamental human right and that every person should enjoy the highest standard of health.

The World Health Organization helped lead one of the greatest public health achievements in history: the eradication of smallpox, a highly contagious disease that has ravaged humanity since antiquity. But in 1979, WHO declared smallpox officially eradicated—that is, eliminated as a naturally occurring disease—as the result of vaccination programs.

The World Health Organization was also a major player in the near eradication of polio, a viral disease that can cause debilitating muscle weakness. WHO has helped spearhead efforts against many other communicable diseases, including Ebola, HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis.

While best known for its work in fighting communicable diseases, the World Health Organization pursues a broad array of programs and projects across the globe addressing:

  • noncommunicable diseases, such as cancer and diabetes
  • health-related issues across people’s lifetimes
  • tobacco and drug use
  • environmental health issues, including clean air and water
  • food safety and security
  • road safety
  • emergency response
  • healthcare policies, including seeking universal healthcare coverage

Other key services of the World Health Organization—and carried out as part of its various missions—are monitoring health risks, conducting research, overseeing medical classifications, offering technical guidance, and providing scientific information and health education.

With a workforce of more than 8,000, made up of experts from epidemiologists to statisticians, the World Health Organization operates in 150 offices across the globe in addition to six regional offices and its headquarters in Geneva.

The World Health Organization works with 194 member states, which includes most of the countries around the world. The organization also partners with a variety of non-state actors, including a variety of specialized institutes, foundations, and professional societies.

Delegations from member states meet each year at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva. The WHA elects WHO’s director general, who serves a five-year term, and an executive board, made up of 34 experts who serve three-year terms.

With a two-year budget of nearly $6 billion, the World Health Organization primarily relies on contributions from member states for funding, though it also receives private donations.

Did you know ... ?

As noted, the constitution of the World Health Organization went into force on April 7, 1948. That date is commemorated each year as World Health Day.

First celebrated in 1950, World Health Day seeks, as WHO explains, “to raise global awareness of a specific health theme to highlight a priority area of concern” for the organization.

Past themes have focused on mental health, motherhood, blood pressure, aging, and climate change. World Health Day 2020 celebrated the work of nurses and midwives, with a special nod to all the healthcare workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

How to use who in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for who (1 of 2)

/ (huː) /

which person? what person? used in direct and indirect questionshe can't remember who did it; who met you?
used to introduce relative clauses with antecedents referring to human beingsthe people who lived here have left
the one or ones who; whoeverbring who you want

Word Origin for who

Old English hwā; related to Old Saxon hwē, Old High German hwer, Gothic hvas, Lithuanian kàs, Danish hvo

undefined who

See whom

British Dictionary definitions for who (2 of 2)


abbreviation for
World Health Organization
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