Definition of whither in English:


interrogative adverb

archaic, literary
  • 1To what place or state.

    ‘whither are we bound?’
    ‘they asked people whither they would emigrate’
    • ‘The reason was a quote of OC's that I had come across: ‘No one rises so high as he who knows not whither he is going.’’
    • ‘Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way?’
    • ‘When they emerge from it, I believe, they will have to give some serious thought to what their country is and whither it is heading.’
    • ‘For it is the truth of my heart, dearest Lady, that thou hast inspired in me that which I had thought long lost, and whither it had scarpered I wot not.’
    • ‘They will see that they have laboured for the wind, when, at death, they find the profit of their labour is all gone like the wind, they know not whither.’
    1. 1.1 What is the likely future of.
      ‘whither modern architecture?’
      • ‘Time then to ask the pertinent question - whither this development?’
      • ‘And that brings me to my next question: whither blogs?’
      • ‘But without Trio Angulaire, whither the French / Québécois dialogue?’
      • ‘It is with such knowledge in mind that famous practitioners of the historical novel, such as AS Byatt, have asked lately, whither the historical novel now?’
      • ‘But for some reason, organic strawberries seem to have stronger hulls than regular pesticide-covered ones, and now my only question is: whither a strawberry huller?’

relative adverb

archaic, literary
  • 1To which (with reference to a place)

    ‘the barbecue had been set up by the lake, whither Matthew and Sara were conducted’
    • ‘In 1831-2 Charlotte was at Miss Wooler's school at Roe Head, whither she returned as a teacher in 1835-8, and where she met her two close friends, Ellen Nussey and Mary Taylor.’
    • ‘That the opera's third act, with its customs office, had to be relocated to the Franco-Belgian border, whither the tubercular and penniless Mimi could hardly have dragged herself, is the least of its problems.’
    • ‘At least Kaisa has his address in Oslo, whither she flies, dressed in a smart black business suit, and promptly rents a flashy new car with which to impress Tomas (claiming it as her own).’
    • ‘Away from the Diplomacy board, France is my favourite country - the best, most beautiful and most civilized country in the world, whither I shall undoubtedly be forced to flee when life in England finally becomes unbearable.’
    • ‘One finds oneself walking mechanically to the tower of Belvedere Castle whither all other park visitors have gravitated like the ghouls in ‘Night of the Living Dead.’’
    1. 1.1 To whatever place; wherever.
      ‘we could drive whither we pleased’
      • ‘But if we thought we were going to wander whither we pleased we were soon disillusioned.’
      • ‘Why should anybody bother to read a centuries-old ‘experimental’ novel, in which the sentences wander whither they will?’
      • ‘The steady click, click, click of things falling into place became a flow and I went whither it would lead.’


Old English hwider, from the Germanic base of which; compare with hither and thither.