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What for   /wət fɔr/   Listen
What for

noun
1.
A strong reprimand.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"What for" Quotes from Famous Books



... paid back the sum his father had advanced him, asked his wife, half jokingly, half scoffingly, whether perchance she wished to invest her money "more safely and more advantageously," and thereby achieved what for seven years he had been longing for, namely, freedom and independence. Relieved from all irksome tutelage, he found himself suddenly at the point where it was "no longer necessary to take orders from anybody." And with him that was a specially vital matter ...
— The German Classics Of The Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 • Various

... and she spat on the floor with a sovereign contempt. "Ah, Massa Ralph, me lub you dearly—dat sleep here to-night—me lose my reputation—nebber mind you you. What for you no run, Dorcas, a get me, from Massa Jackson's store, bottle good port? Tell him for me, Missy Bellarosa. You Phebe, oder woman of colour dere, why you no take Massa Ralph, and put him in best bed? Him bad, for certainly—make haste, ...
— Rattlin the Reefer • Edward Howard

... and wealthy Chinese, how often he went to it. His answer, in broken English, ran thus: "Sometime one moon, sometime two moon. Suppose I want ask God for something, I go churchee. Suppose I no want ask any thing, what for I go?" On my asking whether he never went to return thanks for past favours, he seemed to think my question a very silly one, and ...
— Trade and Travel in the Far East - or Recollections of twenty-one years passed in Java, - Singapore, Australia and China. • G. F. Davidson

... began to realize how vast a web Evarin and the underground organization of Nebran had spread for us. "Evarin was here today. What for?" ...
— The Door Through Space • Marion Zimmer Bradley

... sincerely believed that these were the best guarantees of the king's power on the Great Lakes and in the valley of the Mississippi. The Jesuits saw in each post a centre of debauchery and feared that their religious work would be undone by the scandalous example of the coureurs de bois. What for Frontenac was a question of political expediency loomed large to the Jesuits as a vital issue of morals. It was a delicate question at best, though probably a peaceable solution could have been arranged, but for the mutual agreement of Frontenac ...
— The Fighting Governor - A Chronicle of Frontenac • Charles W. Colby

... lover went * And fled that day mine aim and best intent. O Guide o' litters lead their camels fair, * Haply some day they'll deign with me to tent! On parting-day Sleep parted from my lids * And grew my grieving and my joy was shent. I moan to Allah what for Love I dree'd * My wasted body and my ...
— The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 8 • Richard F. Burton

... sense in killin' him? What for? How did he come into it?" Cole's boyish face wrinkled in perplexity. "I don't make head or tail of this thing. Cunningham's enemies couldn't be his enemies, too, do ...
— Tangled Trails - A Western Detective Story • William MacLeod Raine

... you escape your penalty, hardened and crafty one!" exclaimed the pensioner. "I demand of you, before this worthy Warden, access to the secret ways of this mansion, of which thou dost unjustly retain possession. I shall disclose what for centuries has remained hidden,—the ghastly secrets ...
— Doctor Grimshawe's Secret - A Romance • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... from Kerry. "The Kerry men are getting rifles. I know the 'ping' of the brutes only too well. Let them get a few men who know their weapons, and we'll be potted at five hundred yards easily enough. Yes, they have rifles now, and what for? To shoot sparrows? No. You can't guess? Give it up? Ye do? Then I'll tell you. To carry out the Home Rule Bill. Yes, I do think so. Will you tell me this? Who will in future collect rates and taxes? The tenants do not think they will have any more rent to pay. Lots ...
— Ireland as It Is - And as It Would be Under Home Rule • Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)

... to the raft where the men were singing, and he remembered the threat made: that if he came again to the Cote Dorion he "would get what for!" He remembered the warning of Rouge Gosselin conveyed by Jolicoeur, and a sinister smile crossed over his face. The contradictions of his own thoughts came home to him suddenly, for was it not the case that his physical strength ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... there been such a scene. The students jumped from their chairs and crowded about the group. The life class, which were at work in another room, startled by the uproar, swarmed out eager to know what had happened and why—and who—and what for. Old Mother Mulligan, who had been posing for the class, with a cloak about her fat shoulders and a red handkerchief binding up her head, rushed over to Margaret, thinking she had been hurt in some way, until she saw the student on the floor, still panting and half-dazed from the effect of ...
— The Fortunes of Oliver Horn • F. Hopkinson Smith

... What for? That is nonsense. The Most High is the best doctor. Blessed be the Lord, and praised ...
— Jewish Children • Sholem Naumovich Rabinovich

... reply; and this was all the intimation Tidy had that she had been transferred to another master. Her heart leaped within her at what she heard; but when peremptorily told to get ready to follow Mr. Meesham, she hesitated. What for, do you think? Her first impulse was to throw herself at her master's feet, and ask what had induced him to sell her. But she dared not. He cast upon her a glance of such spurning contempt that she cringed before him. But she made up her mind that God ...
— Step by Step - or, Tidy's Way to Freedom • The American Tract Society

... "Why, I dropped into your place the other day, and that beautiful daughter-in-law of yours mentioned incidentally where you'd gone and what for. She's a good soul, Hyman, bright, and as chatty as ...
— The Boss of Little Arcady • Harry Leon Wilson

... handkerchiefs, and hung them there; others had intermixed such trifles as bits of glass and shining fragments of lockets and tobacco-boxes with the flowers; so that altogether it was a very bright and lively object in the sunshine. But why there, or what for, I did not understand. ...
— The Perils of Certain English Prisoners • Charles Dickens

... What for you ride so pronto fashion!" asked Bud as the Indian, a superb horseman, drew rein close to the boy ranchers. ...
— The Boy Ranchers on the Trail • Willard F. Baker

... American contingent knew what ailed them; they wanted action. They may have seemed undisciplined to a drill sergeant; but the kind of discipline they needed was a sight of the real thing. They wanted to know, What for? And Lord Kitchener was kinder to them, though many were beginners, than to his own new army; he could be, as they were ready with guns and equipment. So he sent them over to France before it was too late in the ...
— My Year of the War • Frederick Palmer

... her scurry down the stairs, and then I saw her dart across the yard in her blue dress and vanish through the garden gate. The rapidity of her movements, the flush on her cheeks and her excitement, aroused my curiosity. Where had she run, and what for? Being intelligent beyond my years I soon put two and two together, and understood it all: she had run into the garden, taking advantage of the absence of my stern parents, to steal in among the raspberry bushes, or to pick herself ...
— The Chorus Girl and Other Stories • Anton Chekhov

... went down to Washington street; I came up for my clothes yesterday (Tuesday); the rooms were locked; I went down to the market to where Mrs. Haggerty does business, and the first thing she said to me was, 'By Christ Almighty, Mr. Haggerty will take your life!' I says to her, 'What for?' she said, 'What you told Mark;' I said, 'I've told him the truth about the robbery;' she says, 'Your life will be taken, by Christ Almighty!' I said, 'I want my clothes;' She said, 'You can get your clothes any time, what belongs to you;' she did not come up, and did ...
— Lights and Shadows of New York Life - or, the Sights and Sensations of the Great City • James D. McCabe

... roots had been discovered, and various specific names had been given to them before their actual nature was made out. What for some time were thought to be long cylindrical leaves, have now been found to be simply rootlets, and in specimens where these have been removed, the surface of the stigmaria has been noticed to be covered with large numbers of protuberant tubercles, ...
— The Story of a Piece of Coal - What It Is, Whence It Comes, and Whither It Goes • Edward A. Martin

... boat had put off, and from which we gather that we shall be expected, was as follows: "They ax me, 'what for my Ta-yin come sho?' I say, 'to make chin-chin[7] they Ta-yin;' they tell me, 'You Ta-yin too much great mandarine, no can come sho;' I say, 'What for my Ta-yin no come sho? He great man; he[8] Ta-wang-tee too much great ...
— Account of a Voyage of Discovery - to the West Coast of Corea, and the Great Loo-Choo Island • Captain Basil Hall

... days passed in what for Merton Gill was a whirlwind of dramatic intensity. If at times he was vaguely disquieted by a suspicion that the piece was not wholly serious, he had only to remember the intense seriousness of ...
— Merton of the Movies • Harry Leon Wilson

... come from station; bring massa two bottel, and I show um.' Den dey say, 'Where you massa?' and I say, 'At um house at Ryde'—(den dey tink dat you my massa, Massa Farren)—so dey say, 'Yes, we know dat, we watch him dere, but now you tell, so we beat you dead.' Den I say, 'What for dat; massa like drink, why you no gib massa some tub, and den he never say noting, only make fuss some time, 'cause of Admirality.' Den dey say, 'You sure of dat?' and I say, 'Quite sure massa nebber say one word.' Den dey talk long while; last, ...
— Olla Podrida • Frederick Marryat

... protecting, extending their country. The national idea is in Canada so recent that most men have not grasped it. "Build a navy?" Canada hooted and made the vote a party football. "Canada should have her own shipyards?" Men look at you! What for? "Panama will reverse the world conduits of trade." Bah! Hot-air! I have heard these and similar comments not once but ...
— The Canadian Commonwealth • Agnes C. Laut

... have a fault, it is the fault of being a trifle too innocent, seeing that the innocence which would go extremely well with a sash and tucker is a little out of keeping with the rouge and pearl necklace. Howbeit, impelled by innocence, she asks, "What for?" ...
— Bleak House • Charles Dickens

... double-dealer Gondremark, with whom I conjure you to make peace. It will not be you; it never can be you:—you, who can do nothing, as your wife said, but trade upon your station—you, who spent the hours in begging money! And in God's name, what for? Why money? What mystery of ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 7 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... I know thy will Is ever prest to further my desire: In sign whereof, to quiet all things well, And to suppress betimes the secret fire, That I perceive would break and mount up higher: This to prevent, content ye here to stay, To mark awhile what for themselves they say. And, Venus, here I charge thee on my grace, Not that I found thee heretofore untrue, But for thine adversary is not yet in place, Thou tell uprightly whence your quarrel grew; What words betwixt you thereof did ensue. Say, ...
— A Select Collection of Old English Plays, Vol. VI • Robert Dodsley

... how he went a sauntering into the old flag-ship once, switching his tail about devilish easy and gentlemanlike, and inquiring if the old governor was at home. Well, he was at home, and asked the devil what he wanted. The devil, switching his hoofs, up and says, "I want John." "What for?" says the old governor, "What business is that of yours," says the devil, getting mad, —"I want to use him." "Take him," says the governor —and by the Lord, Flask, if the devil didn't give John the Asiatic cholera before he got through with him, I'll eat this whale in one mouthful. ...
— Moby-Dick • Melville

... out with the waggoner and the plough in the field nearest to the house, and as he was leading the team round to begin a fresh furrow, he saw, through the gap of the gate, what for anybody else would have been a mere flutter of something white. But he had straight-glancing, quick, far-reaching eyes, that only seemed to flinch and lose their amazing power before the immensity of the sea. He was barefooted, and looking as outlandish as the heart of Swaffer ...
— Amy Foster • Joseph Conrad

... "What for?" I demanded. "I mean, of course, if you like," for I saw she was white to the lips, though her eyes met mine steadily, like a man's. "Do you mean ...
— The La Chance Mine Mystery • Susan Carleton Jones

... "What for?" asked the Briton, as he obeyed the order, but not without a suspicion that he was to step upon a red-hot gridiron, or be precipitated through some opening in the deck into ...
— Up The Baltic - Young America in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark • Oliver Optic

... par-particular,' said she as saucy as you please, but still shivering so she couldn't talk straight. 'They were popping g-guns at you—that's what for. Roger's a right bad shot, but ...
— The Militants - Stories of Some Parsons, Soldiers, and Other Fighters in the World • Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews

... all in their turn living together with so much honesty, propriety and love. So each one is given a napkin, a plate, fish, and a dish of food. It is the duty of the medical officers to tell the cooks what repasts shall be prepared on each day, and what food for the old, what for the young, and what for the sick. The magistrates receive the full-grown and fatter portion, and they from their share always distribute something to the boys at the table who have shown themselves more studious in the morning at the lectures and debates concerning wisdom and arms. And ...
— Ideal Commonwealths • Various

... laid on the spectacle of missionaries engaging in public controversies, and of semi-savage converts wrangling over rites and ceremonies and discussing points of theology which might well puzzle a Greek metaphysician. Such incidents were but an efflorescence on the surface of what for a number of years was a true and ...
— The Long White Cloud • William Pember Reeves

... need to tell me that! But why?" And the eager eyes study Grandon painfully. "There is some plan in the man's brain. He came to Canada. Do you know what for?" ...
— Floyd Grandon's Honor • Amanda Minnie Douglas

... and which charges it as a point of conscience upon loyal scholastic students that they shall wear cerulean socks. Such socks, therefore, indicated scholasticism: worn by females, they would indicate a self-dedication to what for them would be regarded as pedantic studies. But, says an objector, no rational female would wear cerulean socks. Perhaps not, female taste being too good. But as such socks would symbolize such a profession of pedantry, so, inversely, any profession of pedantry, ...
— Autobiographic Sketches • Thomas de Quincey

... hadn't been father's friend and if my 'bunkie' weren't wounded. He's all right, but he'll have to go back. I'd like to have his wound, but I'd hate to have to go back. The Colonel says he's sorry to lose me. He meant to make me a corporal, he says. I don't know what for—but Hooray! ...
— Crittenden - A Kentucky Story of Love and War • John Fox, Jr.

... as to us, that ben o this half, and of other yles, that ben more furthere bezonde; who so wil, pursuen hem, for to comen azen right to pursuen hem, for to comen azen right to the parties that he cam fro; and so environne alle erthe: but what for the yles, what for the see, and what for strong rowynge, fewe folk assayen for to passen that passage; alle be it that men myghte don it wel, that myght ben of power to dresse him thereto; as I have seyd zou before. And therfore men returnen from tho yles aboveseyd, ...
— The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, - and Discoveries of The English Nation, Volume 9 - Asia, Part 2 • Richard Hakluyt

... Father Ambrose, wrinkling a perplexed brow. "I wonder what for. Can he have any knowledge of my visit ...
— The Sword Maker • Robert Barr

... said, "I don't know. I should say both are true. We, in the process of our seeking, affirm what we find to be good, and in that sense determine for ourselves what for us was previously indeterminate; but, on the other hand, our determination is not mere caprice; it is determination of Good, which we must therefore suppose somehow or other to 'be' before ...
— The Meaning of Good—A Dialogue • G. Lowes Dickinson

... take him for a very pleasant comrade at any time," observed Clark. "It's a wonder he don't take a tumble. There he is, hitching around to the pilot. What for, I wonder?" ...
— Ralph on the Overland Express - The Trials and Triumphs of a Young Engineer • Allen Chapman

... Bob contemptuously. "And what for, man? Not on our account; you're quite smart enough, quite good enough for us—no occasion to bother yourselves. If it's for your own pleasure, however, you can do ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 347, September, 1844 • Various

... "Bag! What for? Plenty of duds on the Nomad—for any old climate. And money—don't make me laugh! Vagabonds need money?" He backed toward the open manhole of the Nomad, ...
— Astounding Stories of Super-Science, November, 1930 • Various

... Sonnet,' composed by Mrs. Hemans, April 26th, 1835, a few days before her death? 'How many blessed groups this hour are wending!'] These notices of Mrs. Hemans would be very unsatisfactory to her intimate friends, as indeed they are to myself, not so much for what is said, but what for brevity's sake is left unsaid. Let it suffice to add there was much sympathy between us, and if opportunity had been allowed me to see more of her, I should have loved and valued her accordingly. ...
— The Prose Works of William Wordsworth • William Wordsworth

... not removed what is called the tompions (to my unprofessional reader I may say that the tompion is a very large piece of wood made to fit into the muzzle, for the purpose of preventing wet from penetrating). To this tompion is, or used to be, attached a large piece of wadding, what for I ...
— Sketches From My Life - By The Late Admiral Hobart Pasha • Hobart Pasha

... left twice to 80; right once to 60; left to 15"—as plain as the Yale captain giving orders in the football dialect. Now, boys,' says Bassett, 'this is an early rising town. They tell me the citizens are all up and stirring before daylight. I asked what for, and they said because breakfast was ready at that time. And what of merry Robin Hood? It must be Yoicks! and away with the tinkers' chorus. I'll stake you. How much do you ...
— The Gentle Grafter • O. Henry

... an inflated national debt. There would be more unrighteousness than mammon left after such a proceeding. It reminds me of a story I heard last year. A deputation of socialists waited upon a high personage in Vienna. Who knows what for? But they went. They told him that it was his duty to divide his wealth amongst the inhabitants of the city. And he said they were quite right. 'Look here,' said he, 'I possess about seven hundred thousand florins. It chances that Vienna has about seven hundred ...
— Marzio's Crucifix and Zoroaster • F. Marion Crawford

... relief from some of the marauder's comrades. Hobbie grinded and gnashed his teeth, as, walking round the fastness, he could devise no means of making a forcible entry. At length he suddenly exclaimed, "And what for no do as our fathers did lang syne?—Put hand to the wark, lads. Let us cut up bushes and briers, pile them before the door and set fire to them, and smoke that auld devil's dam as if she were ...
— The Black Dwarf • Sir Walter Scott

... I am a Flemyng, what for all that Although I wyll be dronken other whyles as a rat. A. ...
— Early English Meals and Manners • Various

... thee commit themselves to acts contaminating alike body, speech, and heart, and destructive of virtue? Thou knowest not what virtue is, neither hast thou taken council of the wise. And therefore it is that from ignorance, and childishness thou destroyest the lower animals. Say, who art thou, and what for hast thou come to the forest devoid of humanity and human beings? And, O foremost of men, tell thou also, whither thou wilt go to-day. Further it is impossible to proceed. Yonder hills are inaccessible. O hero, save the passage obtained by the practice of asceticism, there is no ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Bk. 3 Pt. 2 • Translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli

... 'What for?' she said. 'I am coming over,' and with extraordinary swiftness, Lucy sprang from stone to stone, and, reaching the opposing bank, curtseyed to George ...
— Penshurst Castle - In the Days of Sir Philip Sidney • Emma Marshall

... "What for?" and Nat sat up in his bed to look and listen, so interested was he in this man who cared for the poor ...
— Little Men - Life at Plumfield With Jo's Boys • Louisa May Alcott

... be impossible for the natives to know what presents are for one purpose, or what for the other. It is not for a Gentoo or a Mahometan landholder at the foot of the remotest mountains in India, who has no access to our records and knows nothing of our language, to distinguish what lacs of rupees, which he has given eo nomine as a present ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. VIII. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... the response. "But what for do you disturb me in thees way. Know that to-morrow with the rising of the sun I have to awake and saddle the beasts, and fare forth into the ...
— The Girl Aviators on Golden Wings • Margaret Burnham

... charges—gossip travels in circles in small towns and sooner or later reaches those most concerned—"Aaron lazy! I-to-goodness no! Why, he's old and what for should he go out and work every day, I wonder. He helps me with the garden and so, and when I go out to help somebody for a day or two he gets his own meals and tends the chickens still. Some people thought a few years ago that he ...
— Patchwork - A Story of 'The Plain People' • Anna Balmer Myers

... an earnest undertone. The gay, and what for the first time struck her as the sacrilegious words, chilled her. And for almost the first time in her life she uttered an unhesitating remonstrance. Something in the tone surprised Marion, and she looked curiously down at her little companion, but ...
— Four Girls at Chautauqua • Pansy

... about that this sense of a life in natural objects, which in most poetry is but a rhetorical artifice, is with Wordsworth the assertion of what for him is almost literal fact. To him every natural object seemed to possess more or less of a moral or spiritual life, to be [47] capable of a companionship with man, full of expression, of inexplicable affinities and delicacies ...
— Appreciations, with an Essay on Style • Walter Horatio Pater

... "What for you coola (angry)? Now the time to catch big pfeller brack bream. Water plenty pfeller muddy. Brack bream baal (is not) ...
— The Colonial Mortuary Bard; "'Reo," The Fisherman; and The Black Bream Of Australia - 1901 • Louis Becke

... mine, only four years old, who could scarcely speak English plainly, was standing one morning near the bedroom window and she noticed the damp trickling down the window-pane. "Auntie," she said, "what for it rain inside?" It was quite useless to explain to her in words, how our breath had condensed into drops of water upon the cold glass; but I wiped the pane clear, and breathed on it several times. When new drops were formed, I said, ...
— The Fairy-Land of Science • Arabella B. Buckley

... by realising the fact of His presence, when He comes, He comes with His hands full. 'I have set the Lord always before me,' says the Psalmist. And then he goes on to say, 'Because He is at my right hand.' Not only in front of you, then, David, to be looked at, but at your side! What for? What do we summon some one to come and stand beside us for? In order that from his presence there may come help and succour and courage and confidence. And so God comes to the right hand of the man who honestly endeavours through all the confusions and bustles ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... succeeded to the throne grew quite reformed and amiable, forsaking all his dissipated companions, and never thrashing Sir William again. During his reign, Lord Cobham was burnt alive, but I forget what for. His Majesty then turned his thoughts to France, where he went and fought the famous Battle of Agincourt. He afterwards married the King's daughter Catherine, a very agreable woman by Shakespear's account. In ...
— Persuasion • Jane Austen

... beer score Clarke for my the his do trust pay sent I I must has shall if you maltster what for and the ...
— Nature Near London • Richard Jefferies

... now I pretended to decline was nothing but what I had been at the expense of L40 or L50 to send Amy to France for, and even without any view, or, indeed, any rational expectation of bringing it to pass; and what for half a year before I was so uneasy about that I could not be quiet night or day till Amy proposed to go over to inquire after him. In short, my thoughts were all confused and in the utmost disorder. I had once refused and rejected him, and I repented it heartily; then ...
— The Fortunate Mistress (Parts 1 and 2) • Daniel Defoe

... voice reckoned in the disposal of affairs in which he has the same interest as other people. If he is compelled to pay, if he may be compelled to fight, if he is required implicitly to obey, he should be legally entitled to be told what for; to have his consent asked, and his opinion counted at its worth, though not at more than its worth. There ought to be no pariahs in a full-grown and civilized nation; no persons disqualified except through their own default. Every one is degraded, ...
— Considerations on Representative Government • John Stuart Mill

... the need-journey no one becomes more wise in thought than he ought to be, (in order) to contemplate, ere his going hence, what for his spirit, (either) of good or of evil, after ...
— English Dialects From the Eighth Century to the Present Day • Walter W. Skeat

... of days and I suppose I can stand it as long as my books hold out. But, blame it all, look at this camp. Jack and Bart are the sloppiest fellows I ever saw. Look at the blankets on the ground again and the papers scattered everywhere. And look at the big fire they've left. What for, I wonder? I wish I could get out there and clean up the place. I'll speak to them to-night. I don't think such conditions are sanitary. I—I—ouch, blast it, I can't clean up the place," and with a look of disgust the man from Boston limped over to his camp ...
— The Boy Scout Fire Fighters • Irving Crump

... steal in passing a single quartern loaf, or appropriate the smallest article of jewellery. As I was about to turn on to the boulevards, one of the four National Guards who were on duty, I do not know what for, at the corner of the street, cried out, "You can't pass!" All right, thought I to myself; there is nothing fresh I suppose, only the Commune does not want people to pass; of course, it has right on ...
— Paris under the Commune • John Leighton

... come to it moth-like from somewhere afar in Texas. His ambition—no, wait!—the ambition of his father, a 'cattle king,' is that he should acquire the difficult art of painting in oils. 'Want me?' asked Caffyn, as I pushed a chair for him. 'What for? If it's to admire the 'rainbow' you've been mixing, I'm a connoisseur and I don't pass it. Your hand's steady enough, one or two lines admirably defined, but you've gotten the pink noyau and the parfait amour into their wrong billets. If, on the other hand, you want ...
— Foe-Farrell • Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... saying anything. If it had not been for my little German neighbor, I should have felt utterly forsaken by all the world. But she, whatever she thought of my domestic affairs, was sorry for me. 'What for you cry so much all de time?' she said to me one day. 'You makes yourself sick all de time mit cryin'; an' your face be gettin' wite as my hankershif. De leedle boy, too, he sees you, an' he gets all so wite as you are, all de same. ...
— The New Penelope and Other Stories and Poems • Frances Fuller Victor

... "What for?" said Sissy. "For what you said about Percival Thorne? My dear Miss Hammond, people can't be expected to remember that. Why, we agreed that it should be all over and done with at least a hundred years ago." She spoke ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, August, 1878 • Various

... protecting my mother?" George raised his voice, advancing upon the helpless lady fiercely; and she could only bend her head before him. "He talks about my 'Will'—how it must be beaten down; yes, and he asks my mother to do that little thing to please him! What for? Why does he want me 'beaten' by my mother? Because I'm trying to protect her name! He's got my mother's name bandied up and down the streets of this town till I can't step in those streets without wondering ...
— The Magnificent Ambersons • Booth Tarkington

... Cellularia ciliata (Pl. I. Fig. 8). Look at it through the field-glass; for it is truly wonderful. Each polype cell is edged with whip-like spines, and on the back of some of them is - what is it, but a live vulture's head, snapping and snapping - what for? ...
— Glaucus; or The Wonders of the Shore • Charles Kingsley

... say you, strange, and foreign-looking?" she gasped. "What for mercy's sake can such a man want with me at this time of night? Did you ask ...
— The Cruise of the Nonsuch Buccaneer • Harry Collingwood

... said 'Frisco Kid, as he passed him the article in question. "Wash down the decks, and don't be afraid of the water, nor of the dirt either. Here 's a broom. Give it what for, and have everything shining. When you get that done bail out the skiff. She opened her seams a little last night. I 'm going below to ...
— The Cruise of the Dazzler • Jack London

... Well now, you go to school, don't you?" He nodded. "What for? Isn't that likely to be bad for you?" (I hardly liked to say ...
— The Five Jars • Montague Rhodes James

... an' stan' by the fire, an' see those little peoples. 'Oh, Wiesacajac,' they'll say, 'we're ver' hongree. We have not eat for many days. We do not think our peoples will come back no more. We'll not know what for do.' ...
— The Young Alaskans on the Trail • Emerson Hough

... stoutly. "The domned villain doped me last night, and must ha' put me aboard wid the crew he shipped for you. What for, I don't know. He had yer full count, as ...
— The Grain Ship • Morgan Robertson

... is well known, is a dispeller of moods, a disintegrator of the night's fantasies. It awoke Honora at what for her was a comparatively early hour, and as she dressed rapidly she heard her husband whistling in his room. It is idle to speculate on the phenomenon taking place within her, and it may merely be remarked ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... "'What for?'" Anania lifted up her hands. "There now!—if I didn't think she would just go and deceive you! She can't have told you the truth, of course, or you could never pass it by in that ...
— One Snowy Night - Long ago at Oxford • Emily Sarah Holt

... "What for? Lor, Mister Jocelyn, if you don't know I'm sure I don't! For the beef and potatoes, I suppose, an' all the stuff we eats—'for what we are going ...
— Innocent - Her Fancy and His Fact • Marie Corelli

... said, "what brings ye here this time o' day? What for are ye no at the school? Ye'll hae little eneuch o' 't by an' by, whan ...
— Warlock o' Glenwarlock • George MacDonald

... the valley now. Only from the trees came the plaintive twittering of birds which had come in from frozen weeds and fence-rows and at the thresholds of the boughs were calling to one another. It was not their song, but their speech; there was no love in it, but there was what for them perhaps corresponds to our sense of ties. It most resembled in human life the brief things that two people, having long lived together, utter to each other when together in a room they prepare for the night: ...
— Bride of the Mistletoe • James Lane Allen

... adult—the arguments derived from his own personal experiences. He is unable to see any distinction between the natural and the supernatural, and he is justified in this conviction because, as a matter of fact, he himself lives in what for most adults would be a supernatural atmosphere; most children see visions with closed and sometimes with open eyes;[163] they are not infrequently subject to colour-hearing and other synaesthetic sensations; and they occasionally hear hallucinatory voices. ...
— The Task of Social Hygiene • Havelock Ellis

... their pennies, and bought some corn, and early Thanksgiving Day, before they had their dinner, they went out into the street near their home, and scattered corn in a great many places. What for? Why, for the birds. While they were doing it, John said, "I know, Minnie, why you thought of the birds: because they do not have any papas and mammas after they are grown up to get a dinner for them on Thanksgiving Day." "Yes, that ...
— Good Cheer Stories Every Child Should Know • Various

... asked him if we did not want to take a pick and shovel with us, and he said, "What for?" I said, "We will need it." He said, "No, we won't need ...
— The Great Salt Lake Trail • Colonel Henry Inman

... and quarrelsomeness, and his interruptions of an old, old man's story of what he knows of Peg's life. The stranger listens while Parry Cam tells of the cause of her madness, but when he repeats what for years has been the gossip of the countryside about her supposed killing of her babe, the "traveling man" interrupts and declares he is the son whom it was rumored she had drowned. In the end he is turned out of the house, not altogether unkindly, but as much for decency's sake as for his own. That ...
— Irish Plays and Playwrights • Cornelius Weygandt

... repeated. "What for? Yours are new. Chee moccasin, you; oleman moccasin, me. What are you getting at? That's ...
— Desert Conquest - or, Precious Waters • A. M. Chisholm

... Says she, 'When the earl has grand estates in England, what for does he come to a barren place like the Spittal to be married! It's gey like,' she says, 'as if he wanted the marriage to be got by quietly; a thing,' says she, 'that no woman can stand. Furthermore,' Elspeth says, 'how has the marriage been postponed twice?' We ken what the servants at the ...
— The Little Minister • J.M. Barrie

... forgot The future's dread alternative; For, as became the festal time, He cheer'd her heart with tender praise, And speeches wanting only rhyme To make them like his winged lays. He discommended girlhood. 'What For sweetness like the ten-years' wife, Whose customary love is not Her passion, or her play, but life? With beauties so maturely fair, Affecting, mild, and manifold, May girlish charms mo more compare Than apples green with apples gold. Ah, still unpraised Honoria, Heaven, ...
— The Angel in the House • Coventry Patmore

... comprehend, but which in effect and operation leave them unprotected, and render those who oppress them secure in their spoils, they must think still worse of British justice than of the arbitrary power of the Company's servants which hath been exercised to their destruction. They will be forever, what for the greater part they have hitherto been, inclined to compromise with the corruption of the magistrates, as a screen against that violence from which the laws afford ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XI. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... unlimited right to err. Who can doubt that if a man is to govern himself he should have the means to know what is best for himself, and what is injurious to himself, what agencies work against him and what for him? The avenue to all this is simply education. Suffrage without education is an edged tool in the hands of a child,—dangerous to others and destructive to himself. Now what is the condition of the South in reference to all this? I assert that it is such as would ...
— Twenty Years of Congress, Volume 2 (of 2) • James Gillespie Blaine

... lived an old man and his wife, and one day she said to him: "Make me a straw ox and smear him over with pitch." And he asked: "What for?" And she answered: "Do what I tell you! Never mind what it's for—that's my business!" So the old man made a straw ox and smeared him over with pitch. Then his wife got ready in the early morning and drove the ox to pasture. She sat down under a tree, and began spinning flax and ...
— More Russian Picture Tales • Valery Carrick

... over the door was almost imperceptible. After the coachman had rung several times, an Irish girl opened the door, cautiously (as Irish girls always do), and admitted them into the entry, where one light only was burning in a branch lamp. "Shall we go upstairs?" said Mrs. Morland. "And what for would ye go upstairs?" said the girl in a pert tone. "It's all dark there, and there's no preparations. Ye can lave your things here a-hanging on the rack. It is a party ye're expecting? Blessed ...
— The Best American Humorous Short Stories • Various

... man on the street; an' A know God? 'Twas the bishop's idea t' have me come t' College at forty years o' age an' potter t' A-B-C an' white collar an' clerics buttoned up the back an' a' the rest." The old frontiersman laughed. "Poh! What for wud A waste m' years doin' that? A'd wasted forty servin' the Devil. A'd no more years t' waste. A must be up, up, up an' doin', Wayland, the way y'r up an' doin', for the Nation. A'd earned m' livin' when A served ...
— The Freebooters of the Wilderness • Agnes C. Laut

... could laugh no longer; there couldn't enough water get through that wall of logs and sticks and mud to make even the beginning of a laugh. Spotty wondered what lay behind that wall, and who had built it, and what for, and a lot of other things. And he was still ...
— The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat • Thornton W. Burgess

... language became broken up and spoilt: but this was only for a time; and by and by, out of roughness and chaotic grammar there grew up a beautiful and stately speech meet for great poets to sing in, and great men and women to use. So it is that what for a time seems to be disastrous may one day be realised as benign ...
— Our Catholic Heritage in English Literature of Pre-Conquest Days • Emily Hickey

... once sat discontentedly on the bank of a river. A traveller asked him what was the matter. He answered "I want to be on the other side of the stream." "What for?" inquired the traveller. "So that I could come back here," said ...
— Confessions of Boyhood • John Albee

... What time he leagued, no longer foes, His Border spears with Hotspur's bows, Did, self-unscabbarded, foreshow The footstep of a secret foe. 310 If courtly spy hath harbored here, What may we for the Douglas fear? What for this island, deemed of old Clan-Alpine's last and surest hold? If neither spy nor foe, I pray 315 What yet may jealous Roderick say? —Nay, wave not thy disdainful head, Bethink thee of the discord dread, That kindled when at Beltane game ...
— Lady of the Lake • Sir Walter Scott

... brother-in-law means to turn up dutifully too. A little family event. It's extremely pleasant to think of. Delightful. A charming family party. We three against the world—and all that sort of thing. And what for. For a girl that doesn't ...
— Chance - A Tale in Two Parts • Joseph Conrad

... judicious of the medical gentlemen whose aid I invoked, was, I think, the one who replied to my inquiry for his bill, "What for? I have done you no good, and have learned more from you ...
— The Opium Habit • Horace B. Day

... Hugo, "no one could guess what for, without order, without discipline, a mere crowd of men, waiting, as it seemed, to be seized by an immensely powerful hand. It seemed to be under no particular anxiety. The men who composed it knew, ...
— France in the Nineteenth Century • Elizabeth Latimer

... at the wrong time. Mrs. Maroney is as mad as blazes, and would have shot De Forest if it had not been for me. I can't tell what for, but, by the Eternal, ...
— The Expressman and the Detective • Allan Pinkerton

... civilization of men. The circulation of ideas and commodities over the face of the earth, and the discovery of the gold regions, have given enhanced rapidity to commerce in other countries, and the diffusion of knowledge. But what for Africa? God will do something else for it; something just as wonderful and unexpected as the discovery ...
— The Personal Life Of David Livingstone • William Garden Blaikie

... fulfill his commission, not knowing exactly what for until all came together in the ...
— The Bobbsey Twins in the Country • Laura Lee Hope

... when it was all over (as his brethren invariably do), and, touching his hat, asked, as a matter of course, for 'a copper for the waterman.' Now, the fare was by no means a handsome man; and, waxing very indignant at the demand, he replied—'Money! What for? Coming up and looking at me, I suppose!'—'Vell, sir,' rejoined the waterman, with a smile of immovable ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... of the formal politeness of a railway guard occurred some years ago at the Reigate station. He went to the window of a first class carriage, and said: "If you please, sir, will you have the goodness to change your carriage here?" "What for?" was the gruff reply of Mr. Bull within. "Because, sir, if you please, the wheel has been on fire since half-way from the last station!" John looked out; the wheel was sending forth a cloud of smoke, and without waiting to require any further "persuasive influences," he lost ...
— Railway Adventures and Anecdotes - extending over more than fifty years • Various

... the suggestions and that this emphasis is for large numbers most powerfully supplied by the religious emotion. Thus the minister will be a very important assistant to him and the church will most successfully do for many patients what for other patients perhaps travel or music or the theatre, sport ...
— Psychotherapy • Hugo Muensterberg

... believe me; for why should I deceive you? I came but to propose a matter of business to you. I told you I could give you the clue to the mystery of the Two Children in Black, whom you met at Baden, and you came to see me. If I told you you would not believe, me. What for try and convinz you? Ha hey?" And he shook his hand once, twice, thrice, at me, and glared at me out of his eye ...
— Roundabout Papers • William Makepeace Thackeray

... he said; "go inside and shut the gate. I'll give him what for. I'd just like to see him touch you. I'd knock him into next year as ...
— An Australian Lassie • Lilian Turner

... "Yes, and what for, and why?" laughed Jack. "I tell you, fellows," he went on, "it's no use of our racking our brains to-night over this. The best thing we can do is to set a watch. Then, if they come again, we can try a shot at them. If not, why then in the morning ...
— The Border Boys Across the Frontier • Fremont B. Deering

... "What for?" And setting her arms akimbo, the hostess of the "Trusty Man" surveyed all her lingering guests with a severe face. "What games are you up to now? ...
— The Treasure of Heaven - A Romance of Riches • Marie Corelli

... gifts o' nature—an extry inch below the knee, or slightly more powerful quarters? What's the use o' them advantages to you? Man the Oppressor comes along, an' sees you're likely an' good-lookin', an' grinds you to the face o' the earth. What for? For his own pleasure: for his own convenience! Young an' old, black an' bay, white an' grey, there's no distinctions made between us. We're ground up together under the remorseless teeth ...
— The Day's Work, Volume 1 • Rudyard Kipling

... could stand to be hanged if they'd do it at once, but the waiting would put me out. I never could wait. And besides I don't believe in it. One day I saw an old man at a soldiers' home and I asked him concerning his prospects and he said that he was waiting, and when I asked him what for, he said, 'to die.' And then I couldn't help but ask him what he was going to do then. I don't believe in waiting for anything; my idea is to go to ...
— Old Ebenezer • Opie Read

... plea should any city be sacked that was subject to the people of Rome. There was this difference, however, between the Roman civil conflict and the American one. The war of Pompey and Caesar divided the Roman people promiscuously; that of the North and South ran a frontier line between what for the time were distinct communities or nations. In this circumstance, possibly, and some others, may be found both the cause and the justification of some ...
— Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War • Herman Melville

... munuster asked what would the bairn's name be. 'Samuel,' says she; an' wuth thot they got up an' walked out an' left the house. An' ot the door dudna her Aunt Fannie, her mother's suster, turn an' say loud for all tull hear: 'What for wull she be wantun' tull murder the wee thing?' The munuster heard fine, an' dudna like ut, but, oz he told my Larry afterward, what could he do? Ut was the woman's wush, an' there was no law again' a mother callun' her child ...
— The Strength of the Strong • Jack London

... they seein' about it wid all their eyes, the ould docthor a-peekin' at the swate little thing t'rough his goggles, an' puttin' a wee bit t'ermom'ter into her mouth what for I do' 'no' unless 'tis ter foind out if it's near toime ...
— Dorothy Dainty's Gay Times • Amy Brooks

... on Isaiah, "but she don't talk seven; nigher seventeen, if you ask me. Pumpin' me about funerals, she was, and about folks dyin' and so on. Said she cal'lated she'd have a doll's funeral some time. 'For mercy sakes, what for?' I says. 'Can't you think up anything pleasanter'n that to play? That kind of game would give me the blue creeps!' She, thought that over—she generally thinks about a thing for five minutes afore she talks ...
— Mary-'Gusta • Joseph C. Lincoln

... necessity. We are walking our well-ordered path, pursuing some dear aims, when harsh before us stands a waiting duty, bidding us lay aside that in which we are engaged and take it. I have said I believe a degree of scrutiny is needful here. We should ask, what for? We should correlate the new duty with those already pledged. And probably an interrupting duty is less often the one it is well to follow than one which has had something of our time and care. Few fresh calls can have the weighty claim of loyalty to obligation already incurred. But, after ...
— The Nature of Goodness • George Herbert Palmer

... had to be told about Rough, and how well he was getting on, though so far away, alas! And then she had to be taken out into the garden to see its beauties, and have promises of unlimited cuttings and seeds and I don't know all what for her own little garden. There was poor old Smuttie's grave to show her too, in one corner, for Smut had lived to enjoy a year or two of peaceful and slumberous old age on the sunny doorstep in summer and the library hearthrug in winter at Laneverel Rectory. ...
— The Rectory Children • Mrs Molesworth

... What for? The only course for a judge convinced of a prisoner's innocence is to set him free. But this was a bribe to the accusers, offered in hope that the smaller punishment would content them. Pilate knew that he was perpetrating ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... What for? Now look you here, Bill, You're a bully boy, that's true; As good as e'er wore buckskin, Or fought with the boys in blue; But I'll bet my bottom dollar Ye had no trouble to muster A tear, or perhaps a hundred, At the news of the death ...
— The Life of Hon. William F. Cody - Known as Buffalo Bill The Famous Hunter, Scout and Guide • William F. Cody

... crossing the street; they must be coming here; I wonder what for." And Keimer ran down stairs to meet them before the last words, as above, were off his lips. He supposed, of course, that they were coming to see him. He met them politely at the door, for it was not every day that ...
— From Boyhood to Manhood • William M. Thayer

... wouldn't follow him for some time; but he would go that way, and no other. When he came to the shore of the pond, we found your rafter laid there, and that made us think you must have gone upon the ice, but we couldn't imagine what for. At last, we found where you had left the sled, and then we began to ...
— Jonas on a Farm in Winter • Jacob Abbott

... whilie afore, but that's no to bind ither folk, an' it's no to be thought that at my years I'm to be puttin' up wi' a' ther new fangled English fykes an' nonsense maggots. Na, na, Maister Colin, his lordship'll fend weel aneugh wantin' Tibbie; an' what for suld I leave yerself, an' you settin' up wi' a house o' yer ain? Deed an' my mind's made up, I'll e'en bide wi' ye, an' nae ...
— The Clever Woman of the Family • Charlotte M. Yonge

... arrested to send back to their masters, but as he was ordered away, he would turn them over to me. At that time a reward could be claimed for returning fugitive slaves. I took charge of them, and assuming a stern look and manner, enquired, 'Where are you going?' 'Going to the Yankee army.' 'What for?' 'We wants to be free, sir.' 'All right, you are free, go where you wish.' The satisfaction that came to me from their heartfelt 'thank'ee, thank'ee sir,' gave me some faint insight into the sublime ...
— The Black Phalanx - African American soldiers in the War of Independence, the - War of 1812, and the Civil War • Joseph T. Wilson

... Moyse, what a coward I am, you would have done differently, and not have made me so wretched as I now am. Why did you not bid me bring the red water, without saying what it was, and what for? If you had put it to my lips—if you had not given me a moment to fancy what is to come afterwards, I would have drunk it—oh, so thankfully! But ...
— The Hour and the Man - An Historical Romance • Harriet Martineau

... I'll pay you out! Things can't go on like this; d'you understand?" Nana forgot herself in face of this brisk attack and was going to put her arms akimbo and give her what for. But she controlled herself and, looking like a marquise who is afraid of treading on an orange peel, fluted in still more ...
— Nana, The Miller's Daughter, Captain Burle, Death of Olivier Becaille • Emile Zola

... said Pete, "needs me. He needs me in the election to-morrow. What's the matter of your ol' man, Newt? What for does he vote for that Bonner, and throw ...
— The Brown Mouse • Herbert Quick

... "What for?" asked Dick, somewhat bewildered by the unceremonious way in which he was being handled. ...
— The Boy Land Boomer - Dick Arbuckle's Adventures in Oklahoma • Ralph Bonehill

... brandy and soda just before I sailed, and I happened to remark to a fellow that was with me that something was 'a damned nuisance'; and the barmaid leant over the counter: 'A shilling, sir,' she said, with the coolest cheek in the world. 'What for?' I demanded. 'A fine, sir, for swearing,' she answered, with the most perfect assurance. 'Now, look here, young woman,' I said, 'you just shut up, for I'm not going to stand any of your damned nonsense.' 'Two shillings, sir,' she said, in ...
— The Heavenly Twins • Madame Sarah Grand

... was broken by the slow, drawling voice of Texas Joe. "Evenin' boys. What for is the stampede? We-all trusts you ain't aimin' to tromp out the grass none ...
— The Winning of Barbara Worth • Harold B Wright

... contused countenance and the enormous bump on his temple. "Ah! there's the gent that shook me of five quid. I'll remember you, old party. An' as for you two spielers—you thought to fleece me. I'll give you what for! An' there's the other toff, 'im that biffed me. Fancy bein' flattened out by a toney remittance man! Wonderful. I call it British pluck, real bull-dog courage—three to one, an' me the littlest of the lot, bar ...
— The Tale of Timber Town • Alfred Grace

... knowledge of the meaning and relation of abstract terms. In mathematics and logic we might carry out long trains of abstracted thought and analyse and develop our imaginations ad infinitum. These speculations, however, were in the air or—what for these philosophers is much the same thing—in the mind; their applicability and their relevance to practical life and to objects given in perception remained quite problematical. A self-developing science, a synthetic science ...
— The Life of Reason • George Santayana

... mayst that enjoy, which all desire That love themselves and future happiness; But O, I cannot fully it express: The promise is so open and so free, In all respects, to those that humble be, That want they cannot what for them is good; But there 'tis, and confirmed is with blood, A certain sign, all those enjoy it may, That see they want it, and sincerely pray To God the Father, in that Jesus' name Who bled on purpose to ...
— The Works of John Bunyan • John Bunyan

... replace The noblest of a noble race. Amid our converse you would see Each with white cat upon his knee, And flattering that grand company: For Persian kings might proudly own Such glorious cats to share the throne. Write me few letters: I'm content With what for all the world is meant; Write then for all: but, since my breast Is far more faithful than the rest, Never shall any other share With little ...
— Imaginary Conversations and Poems - A Selection • Walter Savage Landor

... to torture your mother like this?" cried Mr. Becker, his voice shot through with what for him amounted to a pistol report. "Comfort your ...
— Star-Dust • Fannie Hurst

... "And what for, cousin Helen?" said Charles, tenderly, parting her natural ringlets back from her beautiful and radiant face—doubly radiant now as she looked up into his, so ...
— The Sea-Witch - or, The African Quadroon A Story of the Slave Coast • Maturin Murray



Words linked to "What for" :   reproof, rebuke, reproval, reprimand, reprehension



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