what for
phrasal 1. for what purpose or reason ; why — usually used with the other words of a question between what and for <
what did you do that for
>
except when used alone 2. harsh treatment especially by blows or by a sharp reprimand <
gave him what for in violent Spanish — New Yorker
>

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • What For — Infobox single Name = What For Type = single Artist = James Released = March 1988 Recorded = 1987 Genre = Folk Length = Label = Sire Producer = Hugh Jones Last single = 1986 So Many Ways This single = 1988 What For Next single = 1988 Ya Ho What… …   Wikipedia

  • what for — This phrase appears in two nonstandard uses. When it means punishment or reproof (The boss gave George what for because he was late), it constitutes an illiteracy. When what for is substituted for why (What did you do that for?), the expression… …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • what for — 1. adverb For what reason; why. He wants four copies of it? What for? 2. noun An unspecified punishment or rebuke When your dad gets home, hell give you what f …   Wiktionary

  • What for — Whatfor Whatfor Pays d’origine France Genre(s) Pop Années actives 2002 – 2003 Label(s) Az Anciens membres Nicolas Vitiello Cyril Selli Monia Érika Fleury …   Wikipédia en Français

  • what for(1) — {interrog.} For what reason; why? * /I told Mary what I was going to town for./ * /What are you running for?/ Often used alone as a question. * /Billy s mother told him to wear his hat. What for? he asked./ Compare: HOW COME …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • what for(1) — {interrog.} For what reason; why? * /I told Mary what I was going to town for./ * /What are you running for?/ Often used alone as a question. * /Billy s mother told him to wear his hat. What for? he asked./ Compare: HOW COME …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • what for(2) — {n. phr.}, {informal} A scolding, or other punishment. Usually used with get or give . * /Tom got what for from his father for answering him rudely, and I heard him crying in the house./ * /The teacher gave me what for because I was late./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • what for(2) — {n. phr.}, {informal} A scolding, or other punishment. Usually used with get or give . * /Tom got what for from his father for answering him rudely, and I heard him crying in the house./ * /The teacher gave me what for because I was late./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • give someone what for — verb To punish; to rebuke. She gave him what for all right. But you could see she was ever so pleased and she went around telling everybody about it. Syn: give someone a piece of ones mind, let someone have it …   Wiktionary

  • give what for — verb To scold; to punish, especially verbally. When she found out, she really gave him what for …   Wiktionary

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