Definition of what for? in US English:

what for?

phrase

informal
  • For what reason?

    • ‘I… guess that would be okay, but… ah, what for?’
    • ‘Of course I did not boot with it (I figured, what for?) and of course I had neglected to write-protect the floppy.’
    • ‘‘Every country in the world is saying we must get an educated workforce, but what for?’’
    • ‘Well, I guess, but that's a mighty long time, may I ask what for?’
    • ‘‘For Fate's sake, what for?’ he questions.’
    • ‘It's the elderly; young people despise them these days, and what for?’
    • ‘She looks nervously at the floor and stammers, ‘Ok, but what for?’’
    • ‘Widening the probe (what for?) would expand that circle to hundreds and take months.’
    • ‘What about these children and people, they keep on appearing and I don't know what for?’
    • ‘After a moment or two, I said: ‘Dare I ask what for?’’