what for

what for
This phrase appears in two nonstandard uses. When it means "punishment" or "reproof (The boss gave George what for because he was late), it constitutes an illiteracy. When what for is substituted for why (What did you do that for?), the expression may be considered illiterate or wordy.

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • what...for — what…for : for what purpose or reason What did you do that for? [=why did you do that?] What is this switch for? [=what does this switch do?] “The principal wants to see you.” “What for?” [=why?] …   Useful english dictionary

  • what ... for? — what … for? For what reason, or with what purpose in mind? (also dialect what for…?) • • • Main Entry: ↑what …   Useful english dictionary

  • what … for? — For what reason, or with what purpose in mind? (also dialect what for…?) ● what …   Useful english dictionary

  • what for? — ► what for? informal for what reason? Main Entry: ↑what …   English terms dictionary

  • what for a — (obsolete) What kind of • • • Main Entry: ↑what …   Useful english dictionary

  • what\ for — I. interrog. For what reason; why? I told Mary what I was going to town for. What are you running for? Often used alone as a question. Billy s mother told him to wear his hat. What for? he asked. Compare: how come II. n. phr. informal A scolding …   Словарь американских идиом

  • What For — Infobox single Name = What For Type = single Artist = James Released = March 1988 Recorded = 1987 Genre = Folk Length = Label = Sire Producer = Hugh Jones Last single = 1986 So Many Ways This single = 1988 What For Next single = 1988 Ya Ho What… …   Wikipedia

  • what for? — informal for what reason? * * * what for? idiom for what purpose or reason? • What is this tool for? • What did you do that for (= why did you do that)? • …   Useful english dictionary

  • what for — spoken 1) used for asking the reason for something I need to have your name and address . What for? what ... for: What did you hit him for? 2) informal old fashioned if you give someone what for, you punish them If I catch that boy in my garden… …   English dictionary

  • what for(1) — {interrog.} For what reason; why? * /I told Mary what I was going to town for./ * /What are you running for?/ Often used alone as a question. * /Billy s mother told him to wear his hat. What for? he asked./ Compare: HOW COME …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • what for(1) — {interrog.} For what reason; why? * /I told Mary what I was going to town for./ * /What are you running for?/ Often used alone as a question. * /Billy s mother told him to wear his hat. What for? he asked./ Compare: HOW COME …   Dictionary of American idioms

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