Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • pro. What particular one or ones: Which of these is yours?
  • pro. The one or ones previously mentioned or implied, specifically:
  • pro. Used as a relative pronoun in a clause that provides additional information about the antecedent: my house, which is small and old.
  • pro. Used as a relative pronoun preceded by that or a preposition in a clause that defines or restricts the antecedent: that which he needed; the subject on which she spoke.
  • pro. Used instead of that as a relative pronoun in a clause that defines or restricts the antecedent: The movie which was shown later was better.
  • pro. Any of the things, events, or people designated or implied; whichever: Choose which you like best.
  • pro. A thing or circumstance that: He left early, which was wise.
  • adj. What particular one or ones of a number of things or people: Which part of town do you mean?
  • adj. Any one or any number of; whichever: Use which door you please.
  • adj. Being the one or ones previously mentioned or implied: It started to rain, at which point we ran.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • What, of those mentioned or implied (used interrogatively).
  • What one or ones (of those mentioned or implied).
  • The one or ones that.
  • the one mentioned
  • Used of people (now generally who, whom or that).
  • pro. Who; whom; what (of those mentioned or implied)
  • n. An occurrence of the word which.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pro. Of what sort or kind; what; what a; who.
  • pro. A interrogative pronoun, used both substantively and adjectively, and in direct and indirect questions, to ask for, or refer to, an individual person or thing among several of a class; See the Note under What, pron., 1.
  • pro. A relative pronoun, used esp. in referring to an antecedent noun or clause, but sometimes with reference to what is specified or implied in a sentence, or to a following noun or clause (generally involving a reference, however, to something which has preceded). It is used in all numbers and genders, and was formerly used of persons.
  • pro. A compound relative or indefinite pronoun, standing for any one which, whichever, that which, those which, the … which, and the like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A. interrog. What one of a certain implied number or set? indicating a general knowledge of a certain group of individuals, and seeking for a selection of one or more from that number: thus, which do you want? implying a limitation which is absent from the question what do you want?
  • B. rel. As a simple relative pronoun: Who or whom.
  • Used with, reference to things, and to creatures not persons: the antecedent may also be a phrase or a clause: as, the rain washed away the track, which delayed the train.
  • As a compound relative pronoun, having the value of both antecedent and relative: as, you can determine which is better (that is, you can determine that, or the one, which is better).
  • Which is used adjectively:
  • With the sense of ‘what sort of.’
  • As indicating one of a number of known or specified things: as, be careful which way you turn.
  • [Which was formerly used as a clause-connective, along with a personal pronoun which took its place as subject or object, and rendered it redundant save as in its relative value: as, which … he = who; which … his = whose.
  • A relic of this construction survives in the vulgar use of which as a general introductory word.
  • Which was formerly often followed by that or as, having the effect of giving emphasis or definiteness.
  • Redundant for which.
  • n. A chest.
  • n. Specifically, a movable wagon-box.

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English hwilc.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Old English hwilc, from Proto-Germanic *hwi- +‎ *-līkaz, the former being the stem of *hwaz. Cognates include German welcher, Dutch welk and Old Norse hvílíkr. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Last year, Mr. Pinault revealed a major strategic overhaul under which PPR will gradually exit its retail business,  which includes everything from electronics to children's clothing and which has been too dependent on the French market.

    Luxury Goods Help Lift PPR Results

  • *Replaces top of cranium…lessee..which iz occiput adn which iz frontal?

    i find yur “string theoree” - Lolcats 'n' Funny Pictures of Cats - I Can Has Cheezburger?

  • HILLARY IS PART OF THE PLAN…..which is why she is receiving more campaign contributions from defense contractors (bomb, guns, tank manufacturers, etc.) than any other candidate….even republicans….(remember Hillary was the head of her college Republican Chapter) which is why she voted to invade Iraq…..then voted to invade Iran.

    Barack Obama in Perry Iowa live | Barack Obama | positively Barack

  • _Vanguard, Explorer, Discoverer; Pioneer III, _ which discovered the Van Allen layer in 1958, and _Pioneer IV, _ which went zooming past the Moon the following year and took up a solar orbit, and _Mariner II, _which got within twenty-one thousand miles of Venus in 1962, and _Ranger_ and _Surveyor_ and all the rest.

    Asimov's Science Fiction

  • The only way to do this seems to be to get published by a publisher that does not have an "SF" line if you can, which is what I am doing with the forthcoming _The Druid King -- _which, ironically enough, by its content could have easily enough been published within the genre.

    Asimov's Science Fiction

  • They invented the glagolitic alphabet—from which the Cyrillic derives (See 865) —which came to be used in various Slavonic languages and was later restricted to liturgical books; hence Cyril and Methodius are regarded as founders of Slavonic literature.

    815

  • The ground for this popular interpretation is a constitutional device which to an Englishman, if it be not offensive to say so, can only recall the well-known definition of a metaphysician as "a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat, _which is not there_."

    William of Germany

  • In the course of the afternoon we visited several houses, at one of which quite a quantity of contraband stuff was found, _which was placed in our canteens_.

    Incidents of the War: Humorous, Pathetic, and Descriptive

  • -- _Study the lists above_, _and point out all the connectives in Lessons_ 80 and 81, _telling which are relative pronouns_, _which are conjunctions proper_, _and which are conjunctive adverbs_.

    Higher Lessons in English A work on english grammar and composition

  • When it is equivalent to _that which, the thing which_, or _those things which_, it is a compound relative, because it includes both the antecedent and the relative; as, "I will try _what_ (that which) can be found in female delicacy; _What_ you recollect with most pleasure, are the virtuous actions of your past life;" that is, _those things which_ you recollect, &c.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

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Comments

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  • During the Middle Ages, thats were not burned at the steak.

    October 8, 2010

  • That depends. Which ones did you have in mind?

    October 8, 2010

  • Can the usage rules for using "which" instead of "that" please be added to this listing?

    October 7, 2010

  • For its use as part of a dung-cart, see tumbrel.

    September 21, 2010