- Whence is defined as from what time or place.
An example of whence is asking a person where they are from by saying "From whence do you come?"
- Whence means from or to where.
An example of whence is saying you'll send a person back to where they came from; from when they came.
Origin of whenceMiddle English whennes (; from whenne, when + adv. genitive -s), replacing Old English hwanan
- from what place, source, or cause: I know whence he comes
- from which place, source, or cause: we went home, whence we departed soon after
- to the place from which: return whence you came
- from which fact: there was no reply, whence he inferred that all had gone
- From where; from what place: Whence came this traveler?
- From what origin or source: Whence comes this splendid feast?
- Out of which place; from or out of which.
- By reason of which; from which: The dog was coal black from nose to tail, whence the name Shadow.
Origin of whenceMiddle English whennes : whenne, whence (from Old English hwanon; see kwo- in Indo-European roots) + -es, genitive sing. suff.; see –s3. Usage Note: The construction from whence has been criticized as redundant since the 1700s. It is true that whence incorporates the sense of from: a remote village, whence little news reached the wider world. But from whence has been used steadily by reputable writers since the 1300s, among them Shakespeare, John Milton, Jane Austen, and the translators of the King James Bible: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help” (Psalms). Such a respectable precedent makes it difficult to label the construction, which is fairly rare and very formal in any case, as incorrect.
- This word is uncommon in modern usage; from where is now usually substituted (as in the example sentence: Where did I come from? or From where did I come?). It is now chiefly encountered in older works, or in poetic or literary writing.
- From whence has a strong literary precedent, appearing in Shakespeare and the King James Bible as well as in the writings of numerous Victorian-era writers. In recent times, however, it has been criticized as redundant by usage commentators.
- From where.
- (literary, poetic) From which.
- From French, whence we get most of our modern cooking terms.
- I scored more than you in the exam, whence we can conclude that I am better at the subject than you are.
- (?): whither