Did you know?

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

whatever

 - definition
 
 
 
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 entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
adverb, conjunction, determiner, pronoun whatever pronunciation in British English /wɒtˈevə(r)/
Whatever can be used in the following ways:
as a relative pronoun (starting a relative clause that is the subject, object, or complement of another clause): You can choose whatever you like.
as a determiner (followed by a noun and introducing a relative clause): We'll be ready at whatever time you get here.
as a question pronoun (starting a question): Whatever do you mean?
as a conjunction (connecting two clauses): We must stay together whatever happens.
as an adverb (after a noun or pronoun in a negative sentence): There is nothing whatever to worry about.
 
  1. 1
    used for referring to anything or everything that happens or is available, needed, wanted etc

    Now you are free to do whatever you want.

    We shall be grateful for whatever help you can give us.

    Whatever project he works on is always successful.

    Whatever happened between Julius and me is none of your business.

    whatever else:

    Pack some clothes and whatever else you need for the journey.

  2. 2
    when something does not matter
    1. a.
      used for saying that what happens or what is true is not important, because it makes no difference to the situation

      You know that you have our full support whatever you decide.

      Whatever happens in the these elections, things will never be the same again.

      Any business, whatever its size, can benefit from a management training programme.

      If you are unable to find work, for whatever reason, our advisers will be there to help you.

    2. b.
      spoken used for saying that you do not mind which thing is chosen

      'What can I offer you? Coffee, tea, lemonade?' 'Oh, I don't mind. Whatever.'

  3. 3
    spoken used for emphasizing 'what' in a question to show that you are surprised, interested, upset, or annoyed

    Whatever are you doing indoors on such a lovely day?

    What ever happened to that artist friend of yours?

    Whatever shall I do without you?

    whatever next?:

    And now they have birthday cards that play a tune! Whatever next?

  4. 4
    used with a noun for emphasis in a negative statement

    I have no intention whatever of leaving.

  5. 5
    spoken used for saying in an annoyed way that you will not try to change what someone thinks, says, or does, even though you do not agree with it

    'They say we all have to come in for the meeting on Saturday.' 'Whatever.'

  6. 6
    mainly spoken used for referring to something when you do not know what it is

    You there, whatever your name is, come and stand here.

    He said there were 'technical difficulties', whatever that means.

phrases

Open Dictionary

chicken raffle

any random process, such as a competition in which a name is drawn from a hat

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