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From Middle English whatever; equivalent to what +‎ ever.


The /t/ in whatever may be flapped in certain dialects despite the fact that the /t/ precedes a stressed vowel due to the morpheme boundary between what and -ever.



  1. (interrogative) What ever; emphatic form of 'what'.
    Good heavens! Whatever time is it?!
  2. Regardless of the ... that; for any ... that.
    Whatever choice you make, there will be consequences.
    I will stick with you, whatever fate befalls us.
  3. Any ... that; of no matter what type or kind that.
    Whatever doubts I had were quickly dispelled.
    Write down whatever thoughts come into your mind.
    • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page viii:
      Whatever utility the work may have outside of its stated boundaries will be largely because of such a nonprovincial approach.
    • 1997, Warren S. Brown, Nancey C. Murphy, H. Newton Malony, Whatever Happened to the Soul?:, page 115:
      In an expression that reflects the pathos of a person without memory of a recent past, Milner quotes H.M. as saying, "Every day is alone in itself, whatever enjoyment I've had, and whatever sorrow I've had Right now, I'm wondering. Have I done or said anything amiss? That's what worries me. It's like waking from a dream; I just don't remember."
  4. Any; of no matter what type or kind.
    I must obtain it at whatever cost.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.



  1. (interrogative) What ever; emphasised form of 'what', used to ask which thing, event, circumstance, etc.
    Whatever do you mean?
  2. Regardless of anything that.
    Whatever he does, he will still lose the game.
    Whatever happens, stay calm.
  3. (fused relative) Anything that; all that.
    Do whatever works.
    I’ll do whatever I can.
    • 1733, [Alexander Pope], An Essay on Man. [], epistle I, London: Printed for J[ohn] Wilford, [], →OCLC, page 16, lines 280–281:
      And ſpight of Pride, and in thy Reaſon's ſpight, / One truth is clear; "Whatever Is, is Right."
    • 2013 September-October, Henry Petroski, “The Evolution of Eyeglasses”, in American Scientist[1]:
      The ability of a segment of a glass sphere to magnify whatever is placed before it was known around the year 1000, when the spherical segment was called a reading stone, essentially what today we might term a frameless magnifying glass or plain glass paperweight.
  4. (informal) Anything; thing(s) of unspecified kind, or no matter what kind; sometimes used to indicate that the speaker does not care about options.
    I don't need any of this stuff, so take whatever.
    • 2021, Michael Kurland, Whatever the Cost:
      There's a pile of stuff on that table; clippings, pamphlets, posters, whatever, that needs to be sorted and filed.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


whatever (not comparable)

  1. (with negative) At all; in any way; whatsoever.
    There is no point whatever in going on with this discussion.
    • 1874, Dorothy Henrietta Boulger, True to her trust; or, 'Womanly past question', page 236:
      He is quite unconscious; and, though your presence is a relief to me, you must remember that there is no hope - no hope whatever.
    • 1864, Charles Piazzi Smyth, Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid, page 207:
      So then arose the horrible confusion perpetuated ever since, of perversely different kinds of weights, jostling each other in Britain; Troy weight and Avoirdupois weight and Apothecaries' weight, wherein or whereamongst every one is at sea with regard to testing them, and no one whatever is satisfied.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, “The Purchase Price”, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC:
      Serene, smiling, enigmatic, she faced him with no fear whatever showing in her dark eyes. The clear light of the bright autumn morning had no terrors for youth and health like hers.
    • 1941 June, Cecil J. Allen, “British Locomotive Practice and Performance”, in Railway Maagazine, page 263:
      In the third place, the superelevation and alignment of the track, theoretically calculated for speeds of 70 to 75 m.p.h., was adequate for the 80 to 85 m.p.h. or so normally attained as maxima over the G.N. main line; but nothing whatever had been done to prepare it for the enormous increment over these figures that this run was to produce.
    • 1999, Louis P. Pojman, Life and Death: A Reader in Moral Problems, page 112:
      His repetitive toil is his life and reality, and it goes on forever, and it is without any meaning whatever.
  2. (interrogative) In what way; to what extent.
    Whatever does it matter now?



  1. (colloquial) A holophrastic expression used to dismiss something that the speaker doesn't care about, doesn't think important, or doesn't want to consider or discuss any further.
    So you don't like Mrs Jones. Whatever. What's that got to do with my question?
    I wonder which I'm supposed to take ... whatever, I'll just pick any one.
    Go brush your teeth. – Whatever!
    • 1991 January, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, page 66:
      "It's not silk, it's muslin." "Whatever."

Usage notes[edit]

  • May appear rude or discourteous. Can be used to end an argument without conceding the point, implying that the issue is not worth discussing or indicating a general sense of apathy toward the subject.




whatever (comparative more whatever, superlative most whatever)

  1. (colloquial) Unexceptional or unimportant; blah.
    • 1996, Mathias, “Lake Placid Comments”, in rec.music.phish (Usenet):
      All in all, I guess I shouldn't be complaining, but the rest of the show, imho, was very whatever-ish.
    • 2007, Avril Lavigne (lyrics and music), “Girlfriend”, in The Best Damn Thing:
      She's like so whatever / You can do so much better


whatever (plural whatevers)

  1. (colloquial) Something whose exact kind or nature is unimportant; a thingy.
    • 2003, David Soubly, Santa, CEO, page 91:
      How would you feel if you're a plant elf, and your daily bonus is tied to the number of whatevers you produce, and then this big clumsy thing barges in and knocks your rate back for the whole week?
    • 2011, Carol Ann Lindsay, The Planet of Comet Sense, page 55:
      I think it's the HYDRA, the group of whatevers that rule the world, those elitists that laugh at us, joke about their environmentalist sheeples doing their bidding while they sip the best wine on the planet, ride around in private jets, []

Related terms[edit]


  • whatever”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.