for what it's worth

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The phrase may have originally been used to qualify a statement of advice, opinion, or suggestion by referring to such a statement and describing it separately from making it.

Prepositional phrase[edit]

for what it's worth

  1. Considering what limited worth this advice, opinion, or suggestion might have for you; used to soften the presentation of unsolicited advice or information that may not be relevant.
    • 1877, Julian Hawthorne, Garth, page 343:
      Take my advice for what it’s worth—don’t marry Garth: marry some old fool.
    • 1908, Armand Both, The Half-smart Set, Frederick A. Stokes Company, page 276:
      “Well,” said he, “I have a suggestion to make, for what it’s worth.”
    • 1999, Bruce Northam, Brad Olsen, In Search of Adventure: A Wild Travel Anthology, →ISBN, page 21:
      There were seven of us from America, and, for what it’s worth, I thought it was a fairly impressive group.
    • 2005, Jennifer Rosen, Waiter, There’s A Horse In My Wine, →ISBN, page 253:
      For what it’s worth, the same holds true for fish bowls: overfill and you’ll suffocate the guppies.

Usage notes[edit]

"For what it's worth" can be used to emphasize humility by prompting the reader/listener to provide their judgment of worth against the statement being made; i.e., it may be useful information, it may not be, or perhaps differs from that the recipient's opinion.


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