use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

what·ev·er (wŏt-ĕvər, wŭt-, hwŏt-, hwŭt-)
Share:
pron.
1. Everything or anything that: Do whatever you please.
2. What amount that; the whole of what: Whatever is left over is yours.
3. No matter what: Whatever happens, we'll meet here tonight.
4. Which thing or things; what: Whatever does he mean?
5. Informal What remains and need not be mentioned; what have you: Please bring something to the partypretzels, crackers, whatever.
adj.
1. Of any number or kind; any: Whatever requests you make will be granted.
2. All of; the whole of: She applied whatever strength she had left to the task.
3. Of any kind at all: No campers whatever may use the lake before noon.
interj.
Informal
Used to indicate indifference to or scorn for something, such as a remark or suggestion: We're having pizza tonight.Whatever. I don't care.

Usage Note: Both whatever and what ever may be used in sentences such as Whatever (or What ever) made her say that? Critics have occasionally objected to the one-word form, but many respected writers have used it. The same is true of the forms whoever, whenever, wherever, and however. In adjectival uses, however, only the one-word form is used: Take whatever (not what ever) books you need. · When a clause beginning with whatever is the subject of a sentence, no comma should be used: Whatever you do is right. In most other cases, a comma is needed: Whatever you do, don't burn the toast. · When a noun followed by a restrictive clause is preceded by whichever or whatever, it is regarded as incorrect to introduce the clause with that in formal writing: whatever book that you want to look at; one should write instead Whatever book you want to look at will be sent to your office or Whichever book costs less (not that costs less) is fine with us. See Usage Notes at however, that.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.