Definitions

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

  • n. The quality that renders something desirable, useful, or valuable: the worth of higher education.
  • n. Material or market value: stocks having a worth of ten million dollars.
  • n. A quantity of something that may be purchased for a specified sum or by a specified means: ten dollars' worth of natural gas; wanted their money's worth.
  • n. Wealth; riches: her net worth.
  • n. Quality that commands esteem or respect; merit: a person of great worth.
  • adj. Equal in value to something specified: worth its weight in gold.
  • adj. Deserving of; meriting: a proposal not worth consideration.
  • adj. Having wealth or riches amounting to: a person worth millions.
  • idiom for all (one) is worth To the utmost of one's powers or ability.
  • idiom for what it's worth Even though it may not be important or valuable: Here's my advice, for what it's worth.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To befall; betide: "Howl ye, Woe worth the day!” ( Ezekiel 30:2).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having a value of; proper to be exchanged for.
  • adj. Deserving of.
  • adj. Valuable, worth while.
  • adj. Making a fair equivalent of, repaying or compensating.
  • n. Value.
  • n. Merit, excellence.
  • v. To be, become, betide.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Valuable; of worthy; estimable; also, worth while.
  • adj. Equal in value to; furnishing an equivalent for; proper to be exchanged for.
  • adj. Deserving of; -- in a good or bad sense, but chiefly in a good sense.
  • adj. Having possessions equal to; having wealth or estate to the value of.
  • n. That quality of a thing which renders it valuable or useful; sum of valuable qualities which render anything useful and sought; value; hence, often, value as expressed in a standard, as money; equivalent in exchange; price.
  • n. Value in respect of moral or personal qualities; excellence; virtue; eminence; desert; merit; usefulness.
  • intransitive v. To be; to become; to betide; -- now used only in the phrases, woe worth the day, woe worth the man, etc., in which the verb is in the imperative, and the nouns day, man, etc., are in the dative. Woe be to the day, woe be to the man, etc., are equivalent phrases.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be or become.
  • To happen; betide: now used only in the archaic imprecative phrases woe worth the day, the man, etc., in which worth is equivalent to be to, and the noun is in the dative.
  • Worthy; honorable; esteemed; estimable.
  • Having worth, esteem, or value in a given degree; representing a relative or comparative worth (of): used generally with a noun of measurement dependent directly upon it without a preposition.
  • Specifically
  • Having a specified value in money or exchange; representing under fair conditions a price or cost (of); equivalent in value to: expressing either actual market value, or value obtainable under favorable or just conditions.
  • Possessed of; having estate to the value of; possessing: as, a man worth five millions.
  • Having a specified moral value or importance; estimable or esteemed in a given way; reaching a certain grade of excellence.
  • Entitled to, by reason of excellence, importance, etc.; meriting; deserving: having the same construction as in sense 2: as, the castle is worth defending; the matter is not worth notice.
  • n. l. Honor; dignity.
  • n. Worthiness; excellence of character; excellency; merit; desert: as, a man of great worth.
  • n. Value; importance; excellence; valuable or desirable qualities: said of things.
  • n. Value, especially as expressed in terms of some standard of equivalency or exchange: as, what is his house worth? the worth of a commodity is usually the price it will bring in market, but price is not always worth.
  • n. That which one is worth; possessions; substance; wealth; riches.
  • n. =Syn.2 and Merit, etc. See desert. Value, Cost, etc. See price.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. French couturier (born in England) regarded as the founder of Parisian haute couture; noted for introducing the bustle (1825-1895)
  • n. the quality that renders something desirable or valuable or useful
  • n. an indefinite quantity of something having a specified value
  • adj. having a specified value
  • adj. worthy of being treated in a particular way

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English weorth; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots.
Middle English worthen, from Old English weorthan; see wer-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From worth or wurth, from Old English weorþ, from Proto-Germanic *werþaz (“towards, opposite”) (the noun developing from the adjective). Cognate with German wert/Wert, Dutch waard ("adjective"), Swedish värd. (Wiktionary)
From Old English weorþan, from Proto-Germanic *werþanan, from Proto-Indo-European *wert-. Cognate with Dutch worden, German werden, Old Norse verða (Norwegian verta, Swedish varda), Latin vertere. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The first – to his boss, Fred Fielding, on Feb. 3, 1984 – denounced the notion of equal pay for comparable worth, saying “It is difficult to exaggerate the perniciousness of the ‘comparable worth’ theory.

    Printing: Judge Roberts's Slap at Women

  • Annita, in the old ragged dresses in which they were found; and if he paints their little dimpled shoulders and cunning little legs and feet half as pretty as they really are, I know you will say with me, that the "Little Emigrants" are worth looking at, and _worth loving_.

    Little Ferns For Fanny's Little Friends

  • Give him history books where every hero he is supposed to model himself after, every president who led his country, every philosopher who ever uttered a word worth remembering, every inventor who pushed back the night for the human race was black.

    Far Beyond the Stars

  • "Is a title worth it-- does a title shackle a person?" the former Alaska governor asked during a discussion of her 2012 plans

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • And with millions of baby boomers starting to reach retirement age and with SRZ's business improving, the "Mad Money" host thinks this is a name worth looking at.

  • Through my process of decision-making with my family and my close friends as to whether I should throw my name in the hat for the GOP nomination for 2012 - Is a title worth it?

    Reuters: Press Release

  • There are only 2 other candidates for the title worth considering, Weeb Ewbank, in the Pro Football HOF and Bill Parcells, soon to be.

    NY Daily News

  • He thinks it's a possible take over candidate and a name worth looking at, especially at current levels.

  • Certainly, that seems to be a name worth discussing, considering that by some accounts the Twins were very close to dealing away the center fielder just three months ago.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • Another term worth throwing out there is "PAN," or Personal Area Network, which is used for technology like Bluetooth and refers to the peripherals (mice, speakers, keyboards, etc.) you've networked together.

    NotebookReview.com - The Webs Best Source For Laptop Notebook Info

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Comments

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  • A syntactically highly unusual adjective in that it takes a noun phrase as a complement, as in 'worth £1000'. The very fact that it does suggests it is actually a preposition.

    Two pieces of evidence against its being a preposition:

    Heading a preposed adjunct, it needs to be predicated of the subject of the following clause:
    * Worth a million bucks, the good times were set to roll.
    (cf. With a million bucks in our pocket, the good times were set to roll. - Prepositions can do this, adjectives can't.)

    It can't be fronted (pied-piped) along with a relative pronoun:
    This was less than the amount which she thought the land was worth.
    * This was less than the amount worth which she thought the land was.

    July 12, 2009