The Word of the Day for March 15, 2009 is:
wherefore • \WAIR-for\ • adverb
*1 : for what reason or purpose : why
2 : therefore
"O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" (William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet)
Did you know?
In our example sentence, Juliet is not inquiring into her beloved's whereabouts. Rather she is asking why it is that Romeo must be Romeo, a member of the Montague family and, therefore, an enemy of Juliet's own family, the Capulets. Yet, wherefore does "wherefore" mean "why"? Starting in the early 13th century, a number of new words were formed by combining "where" with a preposition. In such words, "where" had the meaning of "what" or "which," giving the English language such adverbs as "wherein" ("in what"), "whereon" ("on what"), and "wherefore" ("for what"). English speakers have largely dropped "wherefore" in favor of "why," but the noun "wherefore," meaning "an answer or statement giving an explanation," continues to be used, particularly in the phrase "the whys and wherefores."
*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
16 March 2009
Quickie definition of an Episcopalian -- before the retromingent pithecoids of the liturgical commission got 'hold of the Book of Common Prayer -- "someone who can correctly use 'wherefore' in a sentence."