Whence
Whence Whence, adv. [OE. whennes, whens (with adverbial s, properly a genitive ending; -- see {-wards}), also whenne, whanene, AS. hwanan, hwanon, hwonan, hwanone; akin to D. when. See {When}, and cf. {Hence}, {Thence}.] [1913 Webster] 1. From what place; hence, from what or which source, origin, antecedent, premise, or the like; how; -- used interrogatively. [1913 Webster]

Whence hath this man this wisdom? --Matt. xiii. 54. [1913 Webster]

Whence and what art thou? --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. From what or which place, source, material, cause, etc.; the place, source, etc., from which; -- used relatively. [1913 Webster]

Grateful to acknowledge whence his good Descends. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Note: All the words of this class, whence, where, whither, whereabouts, etc., are occasionally used as pronouns by a harsh construction. [1913 Webster]

O, how unlike the place from whence they fell? --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Note: From whence, though a pleonasm, is fully authorized by the use of good writers. [1913 Webster]

From whence come wars and fightings among you? --James iv. 1. [1913 Webster] Of whence, also a pleonasm, has become obsolete. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • whence — (also from whence) ► ADVERB formal or archaic 1) from what place or source? 2) from which; from where. 3) to the place from which. 4) as a consequence of which. USAGE Whence means ‘from what place’, as in who are you and whence come you? Strictly …   English terms dictionary

  • whence — [hwens, wens] adv. [ME whennes (< whenne, WHEN + adv. gen. s), replacing OE hwanan] from what place, source, or cause?; from where? [whence does he find his strength?] conj. 1. from what place, source, or cause [I know whence he comes] 2. from …   English World dictionary

  • whence — [ wens, hwens ] adverb, conjunction 1. ) LITERARY used for introducing the result of a fact that has just been stated: The work is slow and dangerous, whence the high costs. 2. ) an old or literary word meaning from where : He arrived at the… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • whence — whence, whither Both words have centuries of history behind them and were once routine in their respective meanings ‘from which place’ and ‘to which place’, but in current use they are regarded as archaic or at least highly formal, although they… …   Modern English usage

  • whence — [wens] adv, pron [Date: 1200 1300; : Old English; Origin: whanon from which place ] old use from where ▪ I walked to Rainbagh, whence I could complete the journey by car. →↑whither …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • whence — c.1300, whennes, with adverbial genitive s, from O.E. hwanone, related to hwænne (see WHEN (Cf. when)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • whence — [[t](h)we̱ns[/t]] PRON REL Whence means from where. [LITERARY or OLD FASHIONED] We looked down to the river whence we d climbed, and nobody complained of the effort as I had anticipated... He was educated at Quakers Yard Grammar School, whence he …   English dictionary

  • whence — /hwens, wens/ adv. 1. from what place?: Whence comest thou? 2. from what source, origin, or cause?: Whence has he wisdom? conj. 3. from what place, source, cause, etc.: He told whence he came. [1250 1300; ME whennes, whannes, equiv. to whanne (by …   Universalium

  • whence — [[t](h)wɛns, wɛns[/t]] adv. 1) from what place?: Whence comest thou?[/ex] 2) from what source, origin, or cause?: Whence has he wisdom?[/ex] 3) from what place, source, cause, etc.: He told whence he came[/ex] • Etymology: 1250–1300; ME whennes,… …   From formal English to slang

  • whence — adv. & conj. formal adv. from what place? (whence did they come?). conj. 1 to the place from which (return whence you came). 2 (often prec. by place etc.) from which (the source whence these errors arise). 3 and thence (whence it follows that).… …   Useful english dictionary

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