Meaning of 'what' (Webster Dictionary)
- Why? For what purpose? On what account? - Something; thing; stuff. - As an interrogative pronoun, used in asking
questions regarding either persons or things; as, what is this? what
did you say? what poem is this? what child is lost?
- As an exclamatory word: -- (a) Used absolutely
or independently; -- often with a question following.
- Used adjectively, meaning how remarkable, or
how great; as, what folly! what eloquence! what courage!
- Sometimes prefixed to adjectives in an
adverbial sense, as nearly equivalent to how; as, what happy boys!
- As a relative pronoun
- Used substantively with the antecedent
suppressed, equivalent to that which, or those [persons] who, or those
[things] which; -- called a compound relative.
- Used adjectively, equivalent to the . . .
which; the sort or kind of . . . which; rarely, the . . . on, or at,
- Used adverbially in a sense corresponding to
the adjectival use; as, he picked what good fruit he saw.
- Whatever; whatsoever; what thing soever; --
- Used adverbially, in part; partly; somewhat;
-- with a following preposition, especially, with, and commonly with