- Having a value of; proper to be exchanged for.
- My house now is worth double what I paid for it.
- Cleanliness is the virtue most worth having but one.
- Deserving of.
- I think you'll find my proposal worth your attention.
- Making a fair equivalent of, repaying or compensating.
- This job is hardly worth the effort.
The modern adjectival senses of worth compare two noun phrases, prompting some sources to classify the word as a preposition. Most, however, list it an adjective, some with notes like "governing a noun with prepositional force." Fowler's Modern English Usage says, "the adjective worth requires what is most easily described as an object."
Joan Maling (1983) shows that worth is best analysed as a preposition rather than an adjective. CGEL (2002) analyzes it as an adjective.
(countable and uncountable, plural worths)
- (countable) Value.
- I'll have a dollar's worth of candy, please.
- They have proven their worths as individual fighting men and their worth as a unit.
- (uncountable) Merit, excellence.
- Our new director is a man whose worth is well acknowledged.
From worth or wurth, from Old English weorÃ¾, from Proto-Germanic *werÃ¾az (“towards, opposite") (the noun developing from the adjective). Cognate with German wert/Wert, Dutch waard (“adjective"), Swedish vÃ¤rd.
(third-person singular simple present worths, present participle worthing, simple past worth or worthed, past participle worth, worthed, or worthen)
- 14th century, Pearl poet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
- Corsed worth cowarddyse and couetyse boÃ¾e! [i.e. Cursed be cowardice and covetousness both]
- Woe worth the man that crosses me.
From Old English weorÃ¾an, from Proto-Germanic *werÃ¾anÄ…, from Proto-Indo-European *wert-. Cognate with Dutch worden, German werden, Old Norse verÃ°a (Norwegian verta, Swedish varda), Latin vertere.