Denotation vs. Connotation


[hwair-fawr, -fohr, wair-] /ˈʰwɛərˌfɔr, -ˌfoʊr, ˈwɛər-/
Archaic. for what? why?
for that cause or reason:
Wherefore let us be grateful.
the cause or reason:
to study the whys and wherefores of a situation.
Origin of wherefore
1150-1200; Middle English; see where, for
Can be confused
where, wherefore (see usage note at where)
2. See therefore. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wherefore
Historical Examples
  • He dropped his gardening implements—blessed his children—kissed them, and was hurried off, he knew not whither or wherefore!

    The Humors of Falconbridge Jonathan F. Kelley
  • If thou art not, wherefore are the outcasts of the world so dear to thee?

    Leila, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • wherefore I will tell you a little anecdote apropos of the Procs Monstre.

  • wherefore I returned them my humble thanks and offered my humble service.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • wherefore do not harangue, having kings in thy mouth, nor cast reproaches against them, nor be on the watch for a return.

  • wherefore a man ought not to play the wanton, but should learn in season.

    Albert Durer T. Sturge Moore
  • wherefore I must ask thee, lady, dost thou know any way whereby we may come to the said isle?

  • wherefore it was covered by a peel or skin which met and grew by the help of the cerebral humour.

    Timaeus Plato
  • wherefore is light given to her that is in misery; and life unto the bitter in soul?

    Clarissa, Volume 7 Samuel Richardson
  • wherefore we should duly train and exercise all three kinds.

    Timaeus Plato
British Dictionary definitions for wherefore


(usually pl) an explanation or reason (esp in the phrase the whys and wherefores)
(archaic) for what reason? why?
sentence connector
(archaic or formal) for which reason: used as an introductory word in legal preambles
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wherefore

c.1200, hwarfore, from where + for. Cf. Dutch waarvoor, Old Norse hvar fyrir, Swedish varfor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with wherefore


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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