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Why Definition

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Other Why Definition

[n] the cause or intention underlying an action or situation esp in the phrase"the whys and wherefores"
[adv] question word; what is the reason; "why are you here?"; (`how come' is a nonstandard variant as in"how come he got an ice cream cone but I didn't?")


how come, wherefore

See Also...

ground, reason

Misc. Definitions

\Why\, adv. [OE. whi, why, AS. hw[=i], hw?, instrumental case of hw[=a], hw[ae]t; akin to Icel. hv[=i] why, Dan. & Sw. hvi; cf. Goth. hw?. ?. See {Who}.]
1. For what cause, reason, or purpose; on what account; wherefore; -- used interrogatively. See the Note under {What}, pron.,
1. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? --Ezek. xxxiii. 1
2. For which; on account of which; -- used relatively. No ground of enmity between us known Why he should mean me ill or seek to harm. --Milton. Turn the discourse; I have a reason why I would not have you speak so tenderly. --Dryden.
3. The reason or cause for which; that on account of which; on what account; as, I know not why he left town so suddenly; -- used as a compound relative. Note: Why is sometimes used as an interjection or an expletive in expression of surprise or content at a turn of affairs; used also in calling. ``Why, Jessica!'' --Shak. If her chill heart I can not move, Why, I'll enjoy the very love. --Cowley. Sometimes, also, it is used as a noun. The how and the why and the where. --Goldsmith. {For why}, because; why. See {Forwhy}. [Obs. or Colloq.]
\Why\, n. A young heifer. [Prov. Eng.] --Grose.

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