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


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’.