Why Why, adv. [OE. whi, why, AS. hw[=i], hw?, instrumental case of hw[=a], hw[ae]t; akin to Icel. hv[=i] why, Dan. & Sw. hvi; cf. Goth. hw?. ?. See {Who}.] [1913 Webster] 1. For what cause, reason, or purpose; on what account; wherefore; -- used interrogatively. See the Note under {What}, pron., 1. [1913 Webster]

Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? --Ezek. xxxiii. 11. [1913 Webster]

2. For which; on account of which; -- used relatively. [1913 Webster]

No ground of enmity between us known Why he should mean me ill or seek to harm. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Turn the discourse; I have a reason why I would not have you speak so tenderly. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]

3. The reason or cause for which; that on account of which; on what account; as, I know not why he left town so suddenly; -- used as a compound relative. [1913 Webster]

Note: Why is sometimes used as an interjection or an expletive in expression of surprise or content at a turn of affairs; used also in calling. ``Why, Jessica!'' --Shak. [1913 Webster]

If her chill heart I can not move, Why, I'll enjoy the very love. --Cowley. [1913 Webster] Sometimes, also, it is used as a noun. [1913 Webster]

The how and the why and the where. --Goldsmith. [1913 Webster]

{For why}, because; why. See {Forwhy}. [Obs. or Colloq.] [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • why — 1. For reason why, see reason 2. 2. The plural form of the noun is whys (used in whys and wherefores) …   Modern English usage

  • why — O.E. hwi, instrumental case (showing for what purpose or by what means) of hwæt (see WHAT (Cf. what)), from P.Gmc. *khwi (Cf. O.S. hwi, O.N. hvi), from PIE *qwei, locative of *qwo who (Cf. Gk. pei where ). As an interjection of surprise or to… …   Etymology dictionary

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