Definition of whether in English:



  • 1Expressing a doubt or choice between alternatives.

    ‘he seemed undecided whether to go or stay’
    ‘it is still not clear whether or not he realizes’
    • ‘It's a story, and I hope a good one, and whether or not people like it will depend on them.’
    • ‘I have had considerable doubt as to whether or not the award was so high that we should reduce it.’
    • ‘These explanations will be checked out to establish whether or not they are genuine.’
    • ‘However, it is not clear whether or not Santander would be prepared to wait this long.’
    • ‘The debate concerning whether or not to open stores on Sunday is an excellent example.’
    • ‘I don't want to belabour the issue whether or not all of this category actually is porn.’
    • ‘This depends on whether or not your wife is working and, if so, where she will be employed.’
    • ‘People are starting to ask whether or not the warning and evacuation was mishandled.’
    • ‘Nor were there any questions about whether or not these young people had ever used a weapon.’
    • ‘It is a matter of working out whether or not I want to even do it and then a matter of saying yes or no.’
    • ‘Hyndburn Council refused to say whether or not it had told Mr Smith the land was in green belt.’
    • ‘MPs will then make a decision whether or not to build a Crossrail station in Woolwich.’
    • ‘He said he had not known at first whether or not to sign the petition, as people might think he was biased.’
    • ‘It's kinda hard to really decide whether or not to call Argento on the misogyny front.’
    • ‘As with any postponement, opinions vary as to whether or not the game could have gone ahead.’
    • ‘Possibly this will depend on whether or not he has any more legal costs that need defraying.’
    • ‘I would also like to see our children have more of a choice about whether or not to leave the county.’
    • ‘They had planned for this, but he still doubted whether or not it was really going to work.’
    • ‘If somebody is going to have an affair, they will do it whether or not someone tries to flirt with them.’
    • ‘Later this year, there will also be a referendum on whether or not to have a regional assembly.’
    whether, whether or not
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Expressing an enquiry or investigation (often used in indirect questions)
      ‘I'll see whether she's at home’
      • ‘The investor bets on whether it will end up higher or lower than the spread suggests.’
      • ‘In this sense it may be of some importance to enquire whether they are chattels or not.’
      • ‘She poured the milk into a mug, enquiring as to whether he would like some as well.’
      • ‘This is the time to examine whether you wish to invest in an Individual Savings Account.’
      • ‘Here one does not have a clue as to whether any further investment will yield a safety benefit.’
      • ‘These investors are also unsure as to whether they have the right mix in their portfolio.’
      • ‘Traders want to know whether the scheme is still on track so they can plan for the future.’
      • ‘We need a plan for the future because York will change whether we like it or not.’
      • ‘I asked Mr Hoteit whether he had a minute for a short enquiry and he confirmed that he had.’
      • ‘Whittock plans to appeal while the Ingrams await legal advice on whether to appeal.’
      • ‘It was enough to prompt a lady of a certain age to enquire whether he was wearing a vest.’
      • ‘He gives me an inquisitive look, as if to enquire whether something is the matter.’
      • ‘It is not yet clear whether investors have learned the lessons of the technology boom.’
      • ‘If he did, he ought then to have made enquiries as to whether it was possible to claim damages.’
      • ‘Police are investigating whether he was the victim of a racially motivated attack.’
      • ‘The question is whether or not to seek to impose a moral straitjacket on the behaviour of others.’
      • ‘We have three at present but the plan, whether it comes to fruition or not, is for four.’
      • ‘It will be a matter of judgment whether and how to take account of indirect evidence.’
    2. 1.2Indicating that a statement applies whichever of the alternatives mentioned is the case.
      ‘I'm going whether you like it or not’
      • ‘Zonex declined to comment on the plans or indicate whether they would be carried out.’
      • ‘It is important to check whether cashback limits are applied on a monthly or annual basis.’
      • ‘The user never knows what was wrong, or whether the fix being applied is effective.’
      • ‘They also point out, however, that you have the choice about whether or not you use a mobile.’
      • ‘It could indicate whether the cops were or weren't staying within the bounds of the law.’
      • ‘The boxes should be Christmas wrapped with an indication whether it is for a man or woman.’
      • ‘Indicate whether you are a parent, a teacher or a pupil, and let us know your take on the debate.’
      • ‘The same position applies if it is not known whether a deportation order has been made or not.’
      • ‘Nor had she given any indication by letter whether she admitted or denied the charges.’
      • ‘Members of the public are being consulted about whether to apply for the new start.’
      • ‘There was no mention of whether I wanted to go or not - that was what it was like in those days.’
      • ‘It did not assist the judgment whether the error was in the map or the statement.’
      • ‘If it is face down he indicates to his partner by a facial expression whether it is a valuable card or not.’


On the difference between whether and if, see if


  • whether or no

    • 1Whether or not.

      ‘the only issue arising would be whether or no the publication was defamatory’
    • 2In any case.

      ‘God help us, whether or no!’


Old English hwæther, hwether, of Germanic origin; related to German weder neither.