Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Old English hwider, alteration of hwæder, from Proto-Germanic *hwadrê.



whither (not comparable)

  1. (archaic, formal, poetic or literary) To what place.
    • 1611, King James BibleWikisource, John 8:14:
      Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Sea-chest”, in Treasure IslandWikisource:
      [W]hat greatly encouraged me, it was in an opposite direction from that whence the blind man had made his appearance and whither he had presumably returned.
    • 1885, Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Penguin Red Classics, paperback edition, page 24
      And with the same grave countenance he hurried through his breakfast and drove to the police station, whither the body had been carried.
    • 1918, Willa Cather, My Antonia, Mirado Modern Classics, paperback edition, page 8
      The wagon jolted on, carrying me I knew not whither.

Usage notes[edit]

  • This word is unusual in modern usage; (to) where is much more common. It is more often encountered in older works or when used poetically or jocularly.
  • It is also sometimes used as a rhetorical device by journalists and other writers in headlines, with the meaning "What will the future bring for ..."
  • Do not confuse with whether or wither.
  • Compare to the inanimate pronoun "whereto" which follows the pattern of "preposition + what" or "preposition + which".


Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



whither (third-person singular simple present whithers, present participle whithering, simple past and past participle whithered)

  1. (intransitive, obsolete, dialectal) To wuther.