what

pron., a., & adv.

  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?
  2. As an exclamatory word: -- (a) Used absolutely or independently; -- often with a question following.
  3. Used adjectively, meaning how remarkable, or how great; as, what folly! what eloquence! what courage!
  4. Sometimes prefixed to adjectives in an adverbial sense, as nearly equivalent to how; as, what happy boys!
  5. As a relative pronoun
  6. Used substantively with the antecedent suppressed, equivalent to that which, or those [persons] who, or those [things] which; -- called a compound relative.
  7. Used adjectively, equivalent to the . . . which; the sort or kind of . . . which; rarely, the . . . on, or at, which.
  8. Used adverbially in a sense corresponding to the adjectival use; as, he picked what good fruit he saw.
  9. Whatever; whatsoever; what thing soever; -- used indefinitely.
  10. Used adverbially, in part; partly; somewhat; -- with a following preposition, especially, with, and commonly with repetition.

n.

  1. Something; thing; stuff.

interrog. adv.

  1. Why? For what purpose? On what account?