what on earth


Also found in: Acronyms.

what on earth

An exclamation used to emphasize surprise, shock, anger, disgust, etc. Just what on earth is going on here? Aw, what on earth! I just had this fixed, and now there's a dent in it! What on earth! Don't sneak up on me like that!
See also: earth, on, what

how, what, why, etc. on ˈearth...

,

how, why, etc. in the ˈworld...

(informal) used with questions to express the speaker’s surprise, anger, etc: How on earth did you know I was coming today when I didn’t know myself until the last minute?Why on earth would anyone give up such a good job?
See also: on