Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • The objective case (original dative) of who.
  • noun A Scotch form of horn.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • pronoun The objective case of who. See who.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • pronoun formal What person or people; which person or people, as the object of a verb.
  • pronoun formal What person or people; which person or people, as the object of a preposition.
  • pronoun Him; her; them (used as a relative pronoun to refer to a previously mentioned person or people.)

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English hwǣm, hwām; see kwo- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English hwam

Examples

Comments

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  • “… such is the kindness of the torturers, whom I was subsequently to betray.”

    —Gene Wolfe, The Book of the New Sun

    September 24, 2008

  • There's no other word that can make one sound so intelligent when one uses it correctly and so stupid when one uses it incorrect.

    May 9, 2009

  • Eh, I consider this word to be defunct.

    May 9, 2009

  • Seanahan - why do you consider it to be defunct?

    May 9, 2009

  • It's fallen out of use in ordinary speech, so I reckon it's obsolescent, much as I appreciate the occasional correct use of it in a work document (mostly my own) or (very rare) on the news.

    May 9, 2009

  • It's hardly defunct, and there are contexts where it is still unavoidable. "Ask not for who the bell tolls" just doesn't work.

    May 10, 2009

  • It tolls for theeeeeeeeeee, rolig.

    May 10, 2009

  • How doesn't it work, rolig? I think everyone would understand it. Of course it sounds wrong because it's such a well-worn phrase, but it's perfectly functional. I think the bell has tolled for whom.

    May 10, 2009

  • I should have been clearer. "Ask not for who the bell tolls" sounds wrong not only because this is a familiar quotation. "Don't ask who the bell tolls for" sounds perfectly fine to me, though it's lost its solemnity. There are times when we want to use a relative clause in which the relative pronoun follows a preposition – for example when we want to stress a point or add a note of solemnity or perhaps avoid a certain confusion: "This is the person I told you about" is fine, but if you want to say that you worked without complaint night and day for this person even sacrificing your weekends and never heard a word of thanks from him, you might not want to say: "This is the person I worked without complaint night and day for, even sacrificing my weekends, and never heard a word of thanks from." In this case, I would prefer: "This is the person for whom I worked night and day without complaint, even sacrificing my weekends, and from whom I never heard a word of thanks." When you need a form of who to follow a preposition, it will probably be whom. At least to my ear, for who …, concerning who …, with regard to who …, etc. all sound wrong. But I admit, this may be a generational thing.

    May 10, 2009

  • It tolls for yinz. Go stillerz!

    May 10, 2009