Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To befall; betide.
  • noun The quality that renders something desirable, useful, or valuable.
  • noun Material or market value.
  • noun A quantity of something that may be purchased for a specified sum or by a specified means.
  • noun Wealth; riches.
  • noun Quality that commands esteem or respect; merit.
  • adjective Equal in value to something specified.
  • adjective Deserving of; meriting.
  • adjective Having wealth or riches amounting to.
  • 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.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun l. Honor; dignity.
  • noun Worthiness; excellence of character; excellency; merit; desert: as, a man of great worth.
  • noun Value; importance; excellence; valuable or desirable qualities: said of things.
  • noun 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.
  • noun That which one is worth; possessions; substance; wealth; riches.
  • noun =Syn.2 and Merit, etc. See desert. Value, Cost, etc. See price.

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

  • intransitive verb 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Value in respect of moral or personal qualities; excellence; virtue; eminence; desert; merit; usefulness.
  • adjective obsolete Valuable; of worthy; estimable; also, worth while.
  • adjective Equal in value to; furnishing an equivalent for; proper to be exchanged for.
  • adjective Deserving of; -- in a good or bad sense, but chiefly in a good sense.
  • adjective Having possessions equal to; having wealth or estate to the value of.
  • adjective See under While, n.

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

  • verb obsolete, except in set phrases To be, become, betide.
  • adjective Having a value of; proper to be exchanged for.
  • adjective Deserving of.
  • adjective obsolete, except in Scots Valuable, worth while.
  • adjective Making a fair equivalent of, repaying or compensating.
  • noun countable Value.
  • noun uncountable Merit, excellence.

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English worthen, from Old English weorthan; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English, from Old English weorth; see wer- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Support

Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word worth.

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • "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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • 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