Pronunciation: (hwī, wī), [key]
—adv., conj., n., pl. whys,
for what? for what reason, cause, or purpose?: Why did you behave so badly?
1. for what cause or reason: I don't know why he is leaving.
2. for which; on account of which (usually after reason to introduce a relative clause): the reason why he refused to go.
3. the reason for which: That is why he returned.
1. a question concerning the cause or reason for which something is done, achieved, etc.: a child's unending hows and whys.
2. the cause or reason: the whys and wherefores of a troublesome situation.
(used as an expression of surprise, hesitation, etc., or sometimes a mere expletive): Why, it's all gone!
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.