Definition of whether in English:

whether

conjunction

  • 1Expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives.

    ‘he seemed undecided whether to go or stay’
    ‘it is still not clear whether or not he realizes’
    • ‘I would also like to see our children have more of a choice about whether or not to leave the county.’
    • ‘I have had considerable doubt as to whether or not the award was so high that we should reduce it.’
    • ‘They had planned for this, but he still doubted whether or not it was really going to work.’
    • ‘Hyndburn Council refused to say whether or not it had told Mr Smith the land was in green belt.’
    • ‘As with any postponement, opinions vary as to whether or not the game could have gone ahead.’
    • ‘If somebody is going to have an affair, they will do it whether or not someone tries to flirt with them.’
    • ‘MPs will then make a decision whether or not to build a Crossrail station in Woolwich.’
    • ‘He said he had not known at first whether or not to sign the petition, as people might think he was biased.’
    • ‘Later this year, there will also be a referendum on whether or not to have a regional assembly.’
    • ‘It is a matter of working out whether or not I want to even do it and then a matter of saying yes or no.’
    • ‘The debate concerning whether or not to open stores on Sunday is an excellent example.’
    • ‘These explanations will be checked out to establish whether or not they are genuine.’
    • ‘People are starting to ask whether or not the warning and evacuation was mishandled.’
    • ‘I don't want to belabour the issue whether or not all of this category actually is porn.’
    • ‘It's kinda hard to really decide whether or not to call Argento on the misogyny front.’
    • ‘Nor were there any questions about whether or not these young people had ever used a weapon.’
    • ‘However, it is not clear whether or not Santander would be prepared to wait this long.’
    • ‘This depends on whether or not your wife is working and, if so, where she will be employed.’
    • ‘Possibly this will depend on whether or not he has any more legal costs that need defraying.’
    • ‘It's a story, and I hope a good one, and whether or not people like it will depend on them.’
    whether, whether or not
    1. 1.1Expressing an inquiry or investigation (often used in indirect questions)
      ‘I'll see whether she's at home’
      • ‘If he did, he ought then to have made enquiries as to whether it was possible to claim damages.’
      • ‘Police are investigating whether he was the victim of a racially motivated attack.’
      • ‘This is the time to examine whether you wish to invest in an Individual Savings Account.’
      • ‘He gives me an inquisitive look, as if to enquire whether something is the matter.’
      • ‘Here one does not have a clue as to whether any further investment will yield a safety benefit.’
      • ‘It is not yet clear whether investors have learned the lessons of the technology boom.’
      • ‘We have three at present but the plan, whether it comes to fruition or not, is for four.’
      • ‘The investor bets on whether it will end up higher or lower than the spread suggests.’
      • ‘It was enough to prompt a lady of a certain age to enquire whether he was wearing a vest.’
      • ‘She poured the milk into a mug, enquiring as to whether he would like some as well.’
      • ‘In this sense it may be of some importance to enquire whether they are chattels or not.’
      • ‘I asked Mr Hoteit whether he had a minute for a short enquiry and he confirmed that he had.’
      • ‘Whittock plans to appeal while the Ingrams await legal advice on whether to appeal.’
      • ‘We need a plan for the future because York will change whether we like it or not.’
      • ‘Traders want to know whether the scheme is still on track so they can plan for the future.’
      • ‘These investors are also unsure as to whether they have the right mix in their portfolio.’
      • ‘It will be a matter of judgment whether and how to take account of indirect evidence.’
      • ‘The question is whether or not to seek to impose a moral straitjacket on the behaviour of others.’
    2. 1.2Indicating that a statement applies whichever of the alternatives mentioned is the case.
      ‘I'm going whether you like it or not’
      • ‘It is important to check whether cashback limits are applied on a monthly or annual basis.’
      • ‘It could indicate whether the cops were or weren't staying within the bounds of the law.’
      • ‘Indicate whether you are a parent, a teacher or a pupil, and let us know your take on the debate.’
      • ‘Members of the public are being consulted about whether to apply for the new start.’
      • ‘There was no mention of whether I wanted to go or not - that was what it was like in those days.’
      • ‘The user never knows what was wrong, or whether the fix being applied is effective.’
      • ‘Nor had she given any indication by letter whether she admitted or denied the charges.’
      • ‘The boxes should be Christmas wrapped with an indication whether it is for a man or woman.’
      • ‘Zonex declined to comment on the plans or indicate whether they would be carried out.’
      • ‘If it is face down he indicates to his partner by a facial expression whether it is a valuable card or not.’
      • ‘It did not assist the judgment whether the error was in the map or the statement.’
      • ‘The same position applies if it is not known whether a deportation order has been made or not.’
      • ‘They also point out, however, that you have the choice about whether or not you use a mobile.’

Usage

On the difference between whether and if, see
if

Phrases

    whether or no
    • 1Whether or not.

      ‘the only issue arising would be whether or no the publication was defamatory’
    • 2archaic In any case.

      ‘God help us, whether or no!’

Origin

Old English hwæther, hwether, of Germanic origin; related to German weder ‘neither’.

Pronunciation

whether

/ˈwɛðə/