- Why is defined as for what purpose, cause or reason.
An example of why is when it is used to ask a question such as "Why are you drinking water?
why definition by Webster's New World
Origin: Middle English hwi ; from Old English instrumental case of hwæt, what
- because of which; on account of which: he knows of no reason why you shouldn't go
- the reason for which: do you know why he went? this is why he went
- used to express surprise, impatience, indignation, etc.
- used as an expletive, to preface a remark
why definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- The reason, cause, or purpose for which: I know why you left.
- Usage Problem On account of which; for which: “The reason why [regular verbs] are called regular is that we can predict what all the other three forms are” (Randolph Quirk).
- The cause or intention underlying a given action or situation: studying the whys of antisocial behavior.
- A difficult problem or question.
Origin: Middle English, from Old English hwȳ; see kwo- in Indo-European roots.Usage Note: Many critics have held that why is redundant in the expression the reason why, as in The reason why he accepted the nomination is not clear. While it is true that why could be eliminated from such examples with no loss to the sense, the construction has been used by reputable English writers since the Renaissance. See Usage Note at where.
why - Phrases/Idioms