Definition of whatever in English:


relative pronoun & determiner

  • 1Used to emphasize a lack of restriction in referring to any thing or amount, no matter what.

    [as pronoun] ‘do whatever you like’
    [as determiner] ‘take whatever action is needed’
    • ‘It cannot offer real freedom of religion while excluding religious influence, in whatever form, on matters of state.’
    • ‘But whatever we may lack in hygiene, we make up for in ecological smarts.’
    • ‘Each student donated whatever amount he or she could afford.’
    • ‘He decided in that moment to deal with whatever would happen no matter what.’
    • ‘An ultimate solution will not be reached by handing out money, in whatever amounts.’
    • ‘So at the end of the night, when we cashed out, whatever money we had over the gross amount of the totaled checks, we kept as tips.’
    • ‘For whatever reason, my own abject lack of cookery experience was enlisted to help with the preparation of a monster spaghetti bolognese.’
    • ‘They're doing their job because their job is to find the truth in the matter, whatever the evidence is that it turns up.’
    • ‘So at the end of every day in the run up to a grant payment, I and a few others would pool whatever meagre amount we had into a pot, and play cards for it.’
    • ‘But whatever they lacked in smarts, they made up for in looks.’
    • ‘So they showed equal amounts of activity, whatever kind of dance they watched.’
    • ‘And so it is that no matter whatever evils are abroad, Hope has not left us entirely.’
    • ‘The first of these is that the simple form of the verb without any markers refers to whatever time is in focus.’
    • ‘They feel that viewing other people engaging in sexual acts is worth whatever amount of money it cost them.’
    • ‘But he makes up for whatever he lacks in physical skills with intelligence and versatility.’
    • ‘This was why she was allowed to talk to him with whatever amount of disrespect she liked.’
    • ‘In the case of the Families Commission the fact of the matter is that, whatever our view, the confidential agreement exists now.’
    • ‘You are rewarded with success in whatever aspect you choose to pursue, be it a matter of the heart or a matter of business.’
    • ‘Self-governing bodies are ready to pay whatever amount for the purpose of meeting scarcity of water in needy places.’
    • ‘As snow falls, it picks up whatever chemicals and particulate matter are in the atmosphere.’
    1. 1.1Regardless of what.
      [as pronoun] ‘you have our support, whatever you decide’
      [as determiner] ‘whatever decision he made I would support it’
      • ‘Her idea was to wear whatever regardless of what the director thought.’
      • ‘This week, however, they are being given no say and whatever decision had been made by the Group would be forced upon them.’
      • ‘Regardless of whatever musical or fashion trend that happens to threaten its existence, metal will always remain.’
      • ‘This affects all of us - your support is vital, whatever the weather.’
      • ‘The US does whatever it likes regardless of what has happened in the past.’
      • ‘Even if you paid them, most women would not be able to maintain a decision to eat whatever they wanted for the rest of their lives.’
      • ‘They do it whatever the weather and regardless of the season.’
      • ‘You told me that you would support me in whatever decision I made.’
      • ‘We need to support whatever decisions our nation makes, as long as they do not directly violate the Word of God.’
      • ‘The aim of the service is to facilitate a woman to explore all options available and to support her in whatever decision she reaches.’
      • ‘They did whatever they had to regardless of whether it brought them a sense of achievement or satisfaction.’
      • ‘The second is an ability to look for excellence in whatever one does, regardless of external criteria of rewards and recognition.’
      • ‘They sign a binding arbitration agreement, which means they agree that whatever we decide is what happens.’
      • ‘The bottom line, regardless of whatever language experts would like to use, is that the Zambian economy should produce.’
      • ‘I hope whatever you decide is the best decision for your longterm happiness.’
      • ‘The Queen has not publicly stated a preference on the republic issue, saying she would abide by whatever decision Australians made.’
      • ‘The Branch wished him well in whatever decision he intended to make, but if he did decide to go it would be wholehearted.’
      • ‘Aderyn turned back to the front of the church, deciding to ignore whatever she'd heard.’
      • ‘Marsden said that whatever route a company decided to take, it was important to remember that innovation was a long-term process and not a quick fix.’
      • ‘The next question is whether Britain is going to support whatever President Bush does regardless.’
      regardless of, without regard for, without regard to, disregarding, ignoring, notwithstanding, whatever, no matter what, without reference to, without consideration of, setting aside, discounting
      regardless of, without regard for, without regard to, disregarding, ignoring, notwithstanding, whatever, no matter what, without reference to, without consideration of, setting aside, discounting
      View synonyms


  • Used for emphasis instead of “what” in questions, typically expressing surprise or confusion.

    ‘whatever is the matter?’


  • 1[with negative] At all; of any kind (used for emphasis)

    ‘they received no help whatever’
    • ‘It is the ability to receive and release whatever is or is not needed with each inhaled and exhaled breath.’
    • ‘According to Ellis, he received no compensation whatever from the French government or otherwise.’
    • ‘The adolescent recipient of this kind of torture is forced into the position of trying to prove that she didn't do whatever it is her peers claim she did.’
  • 2informal No matter what happens.

    ‘we told him we'd back him whatever’
    • ‘Winning, at all costs, and at whatever long term consequence, seems to be all that matters to them.’
    • ‘Even though Josh had told her that whatever her secret was didn't matter, she knew that he would be angry.’
    • ‘An actual community though - whatever content it may hang off - is another matter entirely.’
    • ‘She had read to many books to know that whatever she did it wouldn't matter.’
    • ‘Passion requires that you own up whatever you take up, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant.’
    • ‘The exercise of the right of nature requires as a matter of logic that men do whatever the law of nature requires.’
    • ‘Basically, the motivation of the speaker doesn't matter, whatever side they are on.’
    • ‘His moral guilt is just as great whatever the form of the action, no matter whether in warranty or in fraud.’
    • ‘The justification there was purely a matter of public health and nothing whatever to do with racial grounds.’
    • ‘People who will never lie down, no matter what the circumstances - people who want to win whatever they enter.’
    • ‘When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left no matter how implausible, must be true.’
    • ‘Kerry's convictions, whatever they may have been, mattered far less than his ability to beat Bush.’
    • ‘What ever he had felt for her, whatever they had shared and no matter how special did not make him love her any less.’
    • ‘You are here and that's what matters, that you're here, to do whatever you need to do.’
    • ‘I did whatever it took to please my parents; no matter how depressed or sad I was.’
    • ‘It didn't matter though, whatever he saw in my eyes was enough to make him look rather shaken.’
    • ‘In doesn't matter, because whatever led to Howman being the only bloke to attend that day, the nation has had to tolerate him ever since.’
    • ‘Oh, and whatever you do, no matter how bad it itches afterwards - don't scratch it.’
    • ‘When you take care of your partners needs no matter whatever the conditions.’
    • ‘He seems to enjoy talking about whatever the subject is, no matter what it is.’


  • Said as a response indicating a reluctance to discuss something, implying indifference, skepticism, or exasperation.

    ‘Joseph's commentary amounted to “Yeah, well. Whatever.”’
    • ‘Get your girls together and go for it - a summer biz, fun fundraiser, whatever!’
    • ‘Ground me, give me no phone privileges for a month, take away the computer, whatever!’
    • ‘The present could be jewelry, a home video, an important article of clothing, a rock, whatever!’


In the sentence I will do whatever you ask of me (in which whatever = anything), whatever is correctly spelled as one word. But in the interrogative sense (what ever was Mary thinking?), the emphasis is on ever, and it should be spelled as the two words what ever because ever is serving as an intensifier to the pronoun what. See also however and wherever


  • or whatever

    • informal Or anything similar.

      ‘use chopped herbs, nuts, garlic, or whatever’
      • ‘Directors can no longer plead ignorance, or whatever other excuse they choose.’
      • ‘Please help with donations of clothes, blankets or whatever you think might help.’
      • ‘Whether it is a leadership academy or whatever, is a matter for others, I expect.’
      • ‘I suppose if you are doing a serious thing you need things to spice it up or whatever.’
      • ‘They are waiting at the door when I open up at 6.20 and will buy the paper or whatever before they go in.’
      • ‘They said the dog had died from heat stroke or exhaustion or whatever it is that happens to dogs when they burn up.’
      • ‘If people do get it wrong, people should not be sacked or demoted or whatever, as long as it is done with good intent.’
      • ‘Then more piglets die after they have been born, by being laid on by their mothers or whatever the problem is.’
      • ‘It allows jurors to vote against the law if they consider the law unfair or whatever.’
      • ‘How do you get that, and get the professional skills or whatever it is that you need to widen participation?’
  • whatever next