Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Whaleboat noun (Nautical) A long, narrow boat, sharp at both ends, used by whalemen.

Whalebone noun A firm, elastic substance resembling horn, taken from the upper jaw of the right whale; baleen. It is used as a stiffening in stays, fans, screens, and for various other purposes. See Baleen .

» Whalebone is chiefly obtained from the bowhead, or Greenland, whale, the Biscay whale, and the Antarctic, or southern, whale. It is prepared for manufacture by being softened by boiling, and dyed black.

Whaleman noun ; plural Whalemen A man employed in the whale fishery.

Whaler noun A vessel or person employed in the whale fishery.

Whaler noun One who whales, or beats; a big, strong fellow; hence, anything of great or unusual size. [ Colloq. U. S.]

Whaling noun The hunting of whales.

Whaling adjective Pertaining to, or employed in, the pursuit of whales; as, a whaling voyage; a whaling vessel.

Whall noun [ See Wall-eye .] A light color of the iris in horses; wall-eye. [ Written also whaul .]

Whally adjective Having the iris of light color; -- said of horses. " Whally eyes." Spenser.

Whame noun (Zoology) A breeze fly.

Whammel transitive verb [ Confer Whelm .] To turn over. [ Prov. Eng.]

Whan adverb When. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Whang noun [ Confer Thong .] A leather thong. [ Prov. Eng. & Colloq. U. S.]

Whang transitive verb To beat. [ Prov. Eng. & Colloq. U. S.]

Whang transitive verb
1. To beat; thrash; bang; also, to throw, hurl, or fling about, violently. [ Scot. & Dial. Eng.]

2. To slice, esp. in large pieces; to chop. [ Scot.]

Whang noun
1. A blow; whack. [ Dial. or Colloq.]

2. A large piece or slice; chunk. [ Scot. & Dial. Eng.]

3. Formerly, a house-cleaning party. [ Local, U. S.]

Whangdoodle noun An imaginary creature, of undefined character. [ Slang]

Whanghee noun (Botany) See Wanghee .

Whap, Whop intransitive verb [ Confer Middle English quappen to palpitate, English quob , quaver , wabble , awhape , wap .] To throw one's self quickly, or by an abrupt motion; to turn suddenly; as, she whapped down on the floor; the fish whapped over. Bartlett.

» This word is used adverbially in the north of England, as in the United States, when anything vanishes, or is gone suddenly; as, whap went the cigar out of my mouth.

Whap, Whop transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Whapped ; present participle & verbal noun Whapping .] To beat or strike.

Whap, Whop noun A blow, or quick, smart stroke.

Whapper, Whopper noun [ See Whap .] Something uncommonly large of the kind; something astonishing; -- applied especially to a bold lie. [ Colloq.]

Whapping, Whopping adjective Very large; monstrous; astonishing; as, a whapping story. [ Colloq.]

Wharf noun ; plural Wharfs or Wharves . [ Anglo-Saxon hwerf , hwearf , a returning, a change, from hweorfan to turn, turn about, go about; akin to Dutch werf a wharf, German werft , Swedish varf a shipbuilder's yard, Danish verft wharf, dockyard, German werben to enlist, to engage, woo, Old High German werban to turn about, go about, be active or occupied, Icelandic hverfa to turn, Goth. hwaírban , hwarbōn , to walk. Confer Whirl .]


1. A structure or platform of timber, masonry, iron, earth, or other material, built on the shore of a harbor, river, canal, or the like, and usually extending from the shore to deep water, so that vessels may lie close alongside to receive and discharge cargo, passengers, etc.; a quay; a pier.

Commerce pushes its wharves into the sea.
Bancroft.

Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame.
Tennyson.

» The plural of this word is generally written wharves in the United States, and wharfs in England; but many recent English writers use wharves .

2. [ Anglo-Saxon hwearf .] The bank of a river, or the shore of the sea. [ Obsolete] "The fat weed that roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf ." Shak.

Wharf boat , a kind of boat moored at the bank of a river, and used for a wharf, in places where the height of the water is so variable that a fixed wharf would be useless. [ U. S.] Bartlett. -- Wharf rat . (Zoology) (a) The common brown rat. (b) A neglected boy who lives around the wharfs. [ Slang]

Wharf transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Wharfed ; present participle & verbal noun Wharfing .]


1. To guard or secure by a firm wall of timber or stone constructed like a wharf; to furnish with a wharf or wharfs.

2. To place upon a wharf; to bring to a wharf.

Wharfage noun


1. The fee or duty paid for the privilege of using a wharf for loading or unloading goods; pierage, collectively; quayage.

2. A wharf or wharfs, collectively; wharfing.

Wharfing noun


1. Wharfs, collectively.

2. (Hydraul. Engin.) A mode of facing sea walls and embankments with planks driven as piles and secured by ties. Knight.

Wharfinger noun [ For wharfager .] A man who owns, or has the care of, a wharf.

Wharl, Wharling noun A guttural pronunciation of the letter r ; a burr. See Burr , noun , 6.

A strange, uncouth wharling in their speech.
Fuller.

Wharp noun A kind of fine sand from the banks of the Trent, used as a polishing powder. [ Eng.]

What pron., adjective , & adverb [ Anglo-Saxon hwæt , neuter of hwā who; akin to Old Saxon hwat what, OFries. hwet , D. & LG. wat , German was , Old High German waz , hwaz , Icelandic hvat , Swedish & Danish hvad , Goth. hwa . √182. See Who .]


1. As an interrogative pronoun, used in asking questions regarding either persons or things; as, what is this? what did you say? what poem is this? what child is lost?

What see'st thou in the ground?
Shak.

What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
Ps. viii. 4.

What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Matt. viii. 27.

» Originally, what , when , where , which , who , why , etc., were interrogatives only, and it is often difficult to determine whether they are used as interrogatives or relatives.

What in this sense, when it refers to things, may be used either substantively or adjectively; when it refers to persons, it is used only adjectively with a noun expressed, who being the pronoun used substantively.

2. As an exclamatory word: -- (a) Used absolutely or independently; -- often with a question following. " What welcome be thou." Chaucer.

What , could ye not watch with me one hour?
Matt. xxvi. 40.

(b) Used adjectively, meaning how remarkable , or how great ; as, what folly! what eloquence! what courage!

What a piece of work is man!
Shak.

O what a riddle of absurdity!
Young.

» What in this use has a or an between itself and its noun if the qualitative or quantitative importance of the object is emphasized.

(c) Sometimes prefixed to adjectives in an adverbial sense, as nearly equivalent to how ; as, what happy boys!

What partial judges are our love and hate!
Dryden.

3. As a relative pronoun : --

(a) Used substantively with the antecedent suppressed, equivalent to that which , or those [ persons] who , or those [ things] which ; -- called a compound relative .

With joy beyond what victory bestows.
Cowper.

I'm thinking Captain Lawton will count the noses of what are left before they see their whaleboats.
Cooper.

What followed was in perfect harmony with this beginning.
Macaulay.

I know well . . . how little you will be disposed to criticise what comes to you from me.
J. H. Newman.

(b) Used adjectively, equivalent to the . . . which ; the sort or kind of . . . which ; rarely, the . . . on , or at , which .

See what natures accompany what colors.
Bacon.

To restrain what power either the devil or any earthly enemy hath to work us woe.
Milton.

We know what master laid thy keel,
What workmen wrought thy ribs of steel.
Longfellow.

(c) Used adverbially in a sense corresponding to the adjectival use; as, he picked what good fruit he saw.

4. Whatever; whatsoever; what thing soever; -- used indefinitely. " What after so befall." Chaucer.

Whether it were the shortness of his foresight, the strength of his will, . . . or what it was.
Bacon.

5. Used adverbially, in part; partly; somewhat; -- with a following preposition, especially, with , and commonly with repetition.

What for lust [ pleasure] and what for lore.
Chaucer.

Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with the gallows, and what with poverty, I am custom shrunk.
Shak.

The year before he had so used the matter that what by force, what by policy, he had taken from the Christians above thirty small castles.
Knolles.

» In such phrases as I tell you what , what anticipates the following statement, being elliptical for what I think , what it is , how it is , etc. "I tell thee what , corporal Bardolph, I could tear her." Shak. Here what relates to the last clause, "I could tear her;" this is what I tell you.

What not is often used at the close of an enumeration of several particulars or articles, it being an abbreviated clause, the verb of which, being either the same as that of the principal clause or a general word, as be , say , mention , enumerate , etc., is omitted. "Men hunt, hawk, and what not ." Becon. "Some dead puppy, or log, or what not ." C. Kingsley. "Battles, tournaments, hunts, and what not ." De Quincey. Hence, the words are often used in a general sense with the force of a substantive, equivalent to anything you please , a miscellany , a variety , etc. From this arises the name whatnot , applied to an étagère , as being a piece of furniture intended for receiving miscellaneous articles of use or ornament.

But what is used for but that , usually after a negative, and excludes everything contrary to the assertion in the following sentence. "Her needle is not so absolutely perfect in tent and cross stitch but what my superintendence is advisable." Sir W. Scott. "Never fear but what our kite shall fly as high." Ld. Lytton.

What ho! an exclamation of calling. -- What if , what will it matter if; what will happen or be the result if. " What if it be a poison?" Shak. -- What of this ? that? it? etc., what follows from this, that, it, etc., often with the implication that it is of no consequence. "All this is so; but what of this , my lord?" Shak. "The night is spent, why, what of that ?" Shak. -- What though , even granting that; allowing that; supposing it true that. " What though the rose have prickles, yet't is plucked." Shak. -- What time , or What time as , when. [ Obsolete or Archaic] " What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." Ps. lvi. 3.

What time the morn mysterious visions brings.
Pope.

What noun Something; thing; stuff. [ Obsolete]

And gave him for to feed,
Such homely what as serves the simple ...lown.
Spenser.

What interrog. adverb Why? For what purpose? On what account? [ Obsolete]

What should I tell the answer of the knight.
Chaucer.

But what do I stand reckoning upon advantages and gains lost by the misrule and turbulency of the prelates? What do I pick up so thriftily their scatterings and diminishings of the meaner subject?
Milton.

Whate'er pron. A contraction of what-ever ; -- used in poetry. " Whate'er is in his way." Shak.

Whatever pron. Anything soever which; the thing or things of any kind; being this or that; of one nature or another; one thing or another; anything that may be; all that; the whole that; all particulars that; -- used both substantively and adjectively.

Whatever fortune stays from his word.
Shak.

Whatever Earth, all-bearing mother, yields.
Milton.

Whatever be its intrinsic value.
J. H. Newman.

» Whatever often follows a noun, being used elliptically. "There being no room for any physical discovery whatever " [ sc. it may be]. Whately.

Whatnot noun [ See the Note under What , pron ., 5.] A kind of stand, or piece of furniture, having shelves for books, ornaments, etc.; an étagère.

Whatso indef. pron. Whatsoever; whosoever; whatever; anything that. [ Obsolete]

Whatso he were, of high or low estate.
Chaucer.

Whatso the heaven in his wide vault contains.
Spenser.

Whatsoe'er pron. A contraction of whatsoever ; -- used in poetry. Shak.

Whatsoever pron. & adjective Whatever. "In whatsoever shape he lurk." Milton.

Whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.
Gen. xxxi. 16.

» The word is sometimes divided by tmesis. " What things soever ye desire." Mark xi. 24.

Whaul noun Same as Whall .

Whaup noun (Zoology) See Whaap . [ Prov. Eng.]

Wheal noun [ Middle English whele , Anglo-Saxon hwele putrefaction, hwelian to putrefy.] A pustule; a whelk. Wiseman.

Wheal noun [ Confer Wale .]


1. A more or less elongated mark raised by a stroke; also, a similar mark made by any cause; a weal; a wale.

2. Specifically (Medicine) , a flat, burning or itching eminence on the skin, such as is produced by a mosquito bite, or in urticaria.

Wheal noun [ Cornish hwel .] (Mining) A mine.

Whealworm noun (Zoology) The harvest mite; -- so called from the wheals , caused by its bite.

Wheat (hwēt) noun [ Middle English whete , Anglo-Saxon hwǣte ; akin to Old Saxon hwēti , Dutch weit , German weizen , Old High German weizzi , Icelandic hveiti , Swedish hvete , Danish hvede , Goth. hwaiteis , and English white . See White .] (Botany) A cereal grass ( Triticum vulgare ) and its grain, which furnishes a white flour for bread, and, next to rice, is the grain most largely used by the human race.

» Of this grain the varieties are numerous, as red wheat, white wheat, bald wheat, bearded wheat, winter wheat, summer wheat, and the like. Wheat is not known to exist as a wild native plant, and all statements as to its origin are either incorrect or at best only guesses.

Buck wheat . (Botany) See Buckwheat . -- German wheat . (Botany) See 2d Spelt . -- Guinea wheat (Botany) , a name for Indian corn. -- Indian wheat , or Tartary wheat (Botany) , a grain ( Fagopyrum Tartaricum ) much like buckwheat, but only half as large. -- Turkey wheat (Botany) , a name for Indian corn. -- Wheat aphid , or Wheat aphis (Zoology) , any one of several species of Aphis and allied genera, which suck the sap of growing wheat. -- Wheat beetle . (Zoology) (a) A small, slender, rusty brown beetle ( Sylvanus Surinamensis ) whose larvæ feed upon wheat, rice, and other grains. (b) A very small, reddish brown, oval beetle ( Anobium paniceum ) whose larvæ eat the interior of grains of wheat. -- Wheat duck (Zoology) , the American widgeon. [ Western U. S.] -- Wheat fly . (Zoology) Same as Wheat midge , below. -- Wheat grass (Botany) , a kind of grass ( Agropyrum caninum ) somewhat resembling wheat. It grows in the northern parts of Europe and America. -- Wheat jointworm . (Zoology) See Jointworm . -- Wheat louse (Zoology) , any wheat aphid. -- Wheat maggot (Zoology) , the larva of a wheat midge. -- Wheat midge . (Zoology) (a) A small two-winged fly ( Diplosis tritici ) which is very destructive to growing wheat, both in Europe and America. The female lays her eggs in the flowers of wheat, and the larvæ suck the juice of the young kernels and when full grown change to pupæ in the earth. (b) The Hessian fly. See under Hessian . -- Wheat moth (Zoology) , any moth whose larvæ devour the grains of wheat, chiefly after it is harvested; a grain moth. See Angoumois Moth , also Grain moth , under Grain . -- Wheat thief (Botany) , gromwell; -- so called because it is a troublesome weed in wheat fields. See Gromwell . -- Wheat thrips (Zoology) , a small brown thrips ( Thrips cerealium ) which is very injurious to the grains of growing wheat. -- Wheat weevil . (Zoology) (a) The grain weevil. (b) The rice weevil when found in wheat.

Wheat rust A disease of wheat and other grasses caused by the rust fungus Puccinia graminis ; also, the fungus itself.

Wheat sawfly (a) A small European sawfly ( Cephus pygmæus ) whose larva does great injury to wheat by boring in the stalks. (b) Any of several small American sawflies of the genus Dolerus , as D. sericeus and D. arvensis , whose larvæ injure the stems or heads of wheat. (c) Pachynematus extensicornis , whose larvæ feed chiefly on the blades of wheat; -- called also grass sawfly .

Wheatbird noun (Zoology) A bird that feeds on wheat, especially the chaffinch.

Wheatear noun (Zoology) A small European singing bird ( Saxicola œnanthe ). The male is white beneath, bluish gray above, with black wings and a black stripe through each eye. The tail is black at the tip and in the middle, but white at the base and on each side. Called also checkbird , chickell , dykehopper , fallow chat , fallow finch , stonechat , and whitetail .