9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hoo-duhn-it] /huˈdʌn ɪt/
noun, Informal.
a narrative dealing with a murder or a series of murders and the detection of the criminal; detective story.
Origin of whodunit
1925-30; jocular formation from question Who done it?, for standard English Who did it? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for whodunit
  • Despite the magnitude of the die-off, it's a whodunit that has long vexed geologists.
  • Writers read to see not whodunit, but how the author did it.
  • After all, the solution to a whodunit is never easy when you can't even be certain what got done.
  • It's easy enough to guess half of the whodunit denouement.
  • Fair enough, but the audience wants its miracles and its whodunit, too.
  • If he had really wanted to learn the bare truth about whodunit, he should have anchored himself to that white car in the garage.
  • But whodunit is only part of the mystery, and the second half of the film tries to explain why, how and with what consequences.
  • Wheeler's killing has become a confounding nightmare for his friends and family and a whodunit for police.
  • But the novel has aspirations well beyond those of the run-of-the-mill whodunit.
  • The story is more than a simple whodunit, and as the mystery unravels, the reader is led through a complicated maze.
British Dictionary definitions for whodunit


(informal) a novel, play, etc, concerned with a crime, usually murder
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 whodunit

"murder mystery," 1930, U.S. slang, originally a semi-facetious formation from who done it?

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for whodunit


  1. An exclamation of surprise and delight; wow •This interjection appears to be replacing the very popular wow of the 1960s: Unsolicited confession: woah! (1980s+)
  2. (also whoa there or whoa Nelly) An exhortation to wait, go slow, not be hasty: Whoa, Nelly. Two aliens are heading this way (1940s+)

[fr whoa! ''Stop, horse!'' attested fr the 1840s]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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