what for

(redirected from give what for)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
Related to give what for: giveaway, given, giver, Give me liberty or give me death

*what for

 
1. Fig. a scolding; a stern lecture. (*Typically: get ~; give someone ~.) Billy's mother gave him what for because he didn't get home on time. I will really give you what for if you don't straighten up.
2. Why?; For what reason? Father: "I want you to clean your room." Child: "What for? It's clean enough." What did you do that for?

what for

why We were peacefully protesting and the cops arrested us, so I asked, “What for?”

what for

1. For what purpose or reason, why, as in I know you're going to England, but what for? [Mid-1700s]
2. A punishment or scolding, as in You'll get what for from Mom if she catches you smoking, or The teacher really gave Bud what for. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s]

what for

1. A scolding or strong reprimand: The teacher gave the tardy student what for.
2. For what reason; why: Give the present back.—What for?