who
pronoun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hwā; akin to Old High German hwer, interrogative pronoun, who, Latin quis, Greek tis, Latin qui, relative pronoun, who Date: before 12th century 1. what or which person or persons — used as an interrogative <
who was elected?
>
<
find out who they are
>
— used by speakers on all educational levels and by many reputable writers, though disapproved by some grammarians, as the object of a verb or a following preposition <
who did I see but a Spanish lady — Padraic Colum
>
<
do not know who the message is from — G. K. Chesterton
>
2. the person or persons that ; whoever 3. — used as a function word to introduce a relative clause; used especially in reference to persons <
my father, who was a lawyer
>
but also in reference to groups <
a generation who had known nothing but war — R. B. West
>
or to animals <
dogs who…fawn all over tramps — Nigel Balchin
>
or to inanimate objects especially with the implication that the reference is really to a person <
earlier sources who maintain a Davidic ancestry — F. M. Cross
>
— used by speakers on all educational levels and by many reputable writers, though disapproved by some grammarians, as the object of a verb or a following preposition <
a character who we are meant to pity — Times Literary Supplement
>
Usage: see whom, that

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Who — Who, pron. [Possess. {whose}; object. {Whom}.] [OE. who, wha, AS. hw[=a], interrogative pron., neut. hw[ae]t; akin to OFries. hwa, neut. hwet, OS. hw[=e], neut. hwat, D. wie, neut. wat, G. wer, neut. was, OHG. wer, hwer, neut. waz, hwaz, Icel.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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