Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

why - definition and synonyms

 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
adverb why pronunciation in American English /waɪ/why pronunciation in American English /hwaɪ/
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Why can be used in the following ways:
as a question adverb (introducing a direct or indirect question): Why didn’t you call me?I know why he’s worried. (followed by an infinitive without “to”): We can start now, so why wait?
as a relative adverb (referring back to a noun and introducing a relative clause): She’s tired and that’s the reason why she’s so bad-tempered. (introducing a clause that is the subject, object, or complement of another clause): Everyone in Dublin is so friendly, and that is why I love the city.
as an interjection: Why, what’s the matter?
 
  1. 1
    used for asking the reason for something
    Why are you so angry?
    He asked me why I was leaving so early, and I didn’t know what to say.
    why is it that...?: Why is it that the country imports so much of its food?
    why ever (=used for showing that you are surprised): “She says she’s not coming to the wedding.” “Why ever not?”
    1. a.
      used when someone knows or says the reason for something
      I don’t know why, but there’s something I don’t like about that woman.
      There are a lot of things we need to discuss, which is why I’m here.
      reason why: I can only think of one reason why Frank should be jealous.
  2. 2
    spoken used at the beginning of a comment or reply for showing that you are surprised
    Why, I bet you never had the slightest intention of keeping your promise.
    “Henry’s arriving on the twenty-eighth.” “Why, that’s tomorrow!”

spiralizer

a piece of kitchen equipment used for cutting vegetables into very thin, long strips

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog