Definition of whatever in English:

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Pronunciation: /(h)wətˈevər/

relative pronoun& determiner

1Used to emphasize a lack of restriction in referring to any thing or amount, no matter what: [as pronoun]: do whatever you like [as determiner]: take whatever action is needed
More example sentences
  • Each student donated whatever amount he or she could afford.
  • They're doing their job because their job is to find the truth in the matter, whatever the evidence is that it turns up.
  • But whatever we may lack in hygiene, we make up for in ecological smarts.
1.1Regardless of what: [as pronoun]: you have our support, whatever you decide [as determiner]: whatever decision he made I would support it
More example sentences
  • The next question is whether Britain is going to support whatever President Bush does regardless.
  • The aim of the service is to facilitate a woman to explore all options available and to support her in whatever decision she reaches.
  • We need to support whatever decisions our nation makes, as long as they do not directly violate the Word of God.


Used for emphasis instead of “what” in questions, typically expressing surprise or confusion: whatever is the matter?


1 [with negative] At all; of any kind (used for emphasis): they received no help whatever
More example sentences
  • According to Ellis, he received no compensation whatever from the French government or otherwise.
  • It is the ability to receive and release whatever is or is not needed with each inhaled and exhaled breath.
  • The adolescent recipient of this kind of torture is forced into the position of trying to prove that she didn't do whatever it is her peers claim she did.
2 informal No matter what happens: we told him we’d back him whatever
More example sentences
  • In doesn't matter, because whatever led to Howman being the only bloke to attend that day, the nation has had to tolerate him ever since.
  • When you take care of your partners needs no matter whatever the conditions.
  • It didn't matter though, whatever he saw in my eyes was enough to make him look rather shaken.


informal Said as a response indicating a reluctance to discuss something, implying indifference, skepticism, or exasperation: Joseph’s commentary amounted to “Yeah, well. Whatever.”
More example sentences
  • Get your girls together and go for it - a summer biz, fun fundraiser, whatever!
  • The present could be jewelry, a home video, an important article of clothing, a rock, whatever!
  • Ground me, give me no phone privileges for a month, take away the computer, whatever!


In the sentence I will do whatever you ask of me (in which whatever = anything), whatever is correctly spelled as one word. But in the interrogative sense ( what ever was Mary thinking?), the emphasis is on ever, and it should be spelled as the two words what ever because ever is serving as an intensifier to the pronoun what. See also however (usage) and wherever.



or whatever

informal Or anything similar: use chopped herbs, nuts, garlic, or whatever
More example sentences
  • Directors can no longer plead ignorance, or whatever other excuse they choose.
  • If people do get it wrong, people should not be sacked or demoted or whatever, as long as it is done with good intent.
  • How do you get that, and get the professional skills or whatever it is that you need to widen participation?

whatever next

see next.

Words that rhyme with whatever

clever, endeavour (US endeavor), ever, forever, however, howsoever, never, never-never, sever, Trevor, whatsoever, whenever, whensoever, wheresoever, wherever, whichever, whichsoever, whoever, whomever, whomsoever, whosoever

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: what·ev·er

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