pronoun Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hwām, dative of hwā who Date: before 12th century objective case of who — used as an interrogative or relative; used as object of a verb or a preceding preposition <
to know for whom the bell tolls — John Donne
or less frequently as the object of a following preposition <
the man whom you wrote to
though now often considered stilted especially as an interrogative and especially in oral use — occasionally used as predicate nominative with a copulative verb or as subject of a verb especially in the vicinity of a preposition or a verb of which it might mistakenly be considered the object <
whom say ye that I am — Matthew 16:15 (Authorized Version)
people…whom you never thought would sympathize — Shea Murphy
Usage: Observers of the language have been predicting the demise of whom from about 1870 down to the present day <
one of the pronoun cases is visibly disappearing—the objective case whom — R. G. White (1870)
whom is dying out in England, where “Whom did you see?” sounds affected — Anthony Burgess (1980)
. Our evidence shows that no one—English or not—should expect whom to disappear momentarily; it shows every indication of persisting quite a while yet. Actual usage of who and whom—accurately described at the entries in this dictionary—does not appear to be markedly different from the usage of Shakespeare's time. But the 18th century grammarians, propounding rules and analogies, rejecting other rules and analogies, and usually justifying both with appeals to Latin or Greek, have intervened between us and Shakespeare. It seems clear that the grammarians' rules have had little effect on the traditional uses. One thing they have accomplished is to encourage hypercorrect uses of whom <
whom shall I say is calling?
. Another is that they have made some people unsure of themselves <
said he was asked to step down, although it is not known exactly who or whom asked him — Redding (Connecticut) Pilot

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • whom — [ hum ] pronoun FORMAL *** Whom can be used instead of who when it is the object of a verb or preposition. It can be used in the following ways: as a relative pronoun (referring back to a person and starting a relative clause): Students for whom… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Whom — Whom, pron. [OE. wham, AS. dative hw[=a]m, hw?m. See {Who}.] The objective case of who. See {Who}. [1913 Webster] Note: In Old English, whom was also commonly used as a dative. Cf. {Him}. [1913 Webster] And every grass that groweth upon root She… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • whom — W1 [hu:m] pron [: Old English; Origin: hwam] the object form of who , used especially in formal speech or writing ▪ Desperate for money, she called her sister, whom she hadn t spoken to in 20 years. ▪ She brought with her three friends, none of… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • whom — whom; whom·ev·er; whom·so; whom·so·ev·er; …   English syllables

  • whom — see who and whom …   Modern English usage

  • whom — ► PRONOUN ▪ used instead of ‘who’ as the object of a verb or preposition. USAGE On the use of who and whom, see WHO(Cf. ↑who) …   English terms dictionary

  • whom — O.E. hwam, the dative form of hwa (see WHO (Cf. who)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • whom — [ho͞om] pron. [ME < OE hwam, dat. of hwa, WHO] objective form of WHO: see the usage note at WHO …   English World dictionary

  • WHOM — Infobox Radio station name =WHOM city = Mount Washington, New Hampshire area = Portland, Maine, northern New England branding = 94.9 WHOM slogan = Northern New England s Number One Station for Continuous Light Rock airdate = 1958 (as WWMT)… …   Wikipedia

  • whom */*/*/ — UK [huːm] / US [hum] pronoun formal Summary: Whom can be used instead of who when it is the object of a verb or preposition. It can be used in the following ways: as a relative pronoun (referring back to a person and starting a relative clause):… …   English dictionary

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