Definition of whether in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈwɛðə/


1Expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives: he seemed undecided whether to go or stay it is still not clear whether or not he realizes
More example sentences
  • I would also like to see our children have more of a choice about whether or not to leave the county.
  • I have had considerable doubt as to whether or not the award was so high that we should reduce it.
  • They had planned for this, but he still doubted whether or not it was really going to work.
1.1Expressing an enquiry or investigation (often used in indirect questions): I’ll see whether she’s at home
More example sentences
  • If he did, he ought then to have made enquiries as to whether it was possible to claim damages.
  • Police are investigating whether he was the victim of a racially motivated attack.
  • This is the time to examine whether you wish to invest in an Individual Savings Account.
1.2Indicating that a statement applies whichever of the alternatives mentioned is the case: I’m going whether you like it or not
More example sentences
  • It is important to check whether cashback limits are applied on a monthly or annual basis.
  • It could indicate whether the cops were or weren't staying within the bounds of the law.
  • Indicate whether you are a parent, a teacher or a pupil, and let us know your take on the debate.


On the difference between whether and if, see if (usage).


whether or no

1Whether or not: the only issue arising would be whether or no the publication was defamatory
2 archaic In any case: God help us, whether or no!


Old English hwæther, hwether, of Germanic origin; related to German weder 'neither'.

Words that rhyme with whether

altogether, feather, heather, leather, nether, tether, together, weather, wether

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: whether

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