Definition of wh-word in English:



  • Any of a class of English words used to introduce questions and relative clauses. The main wh-words are why, who, which, what, where, when, and how.

    • ‘McGreevey's use was just that adjacency to a preposition seems to make the insertion of whom somewhat more likely, presumably because in many cases, the wh-word would really be the object of the preposition.’
    • ‘As far as I know, every instance of a double-is construction has a plausible (fully grammatical) alternate with an overt wh-word; but the mapping doesn't always work in the other direction.’
    • ‘Wh-questions, for example, are analyzed as having the wh-word in situ.’
    • ‘Haj Ross named this process ‘pied piping’, conjuring an image of the wh-word luring the preposition out of its original position, just as the Pied Piper lured the rats and children out of Hamelin.’