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the whys and wherefores

The various underlying factors that cause or contribute (to something). I don't need the whys and wherefores of the delay, I just want to know when the project will be done. The tour guide was very interesting, really digging into the whys and wherefores of the city's troubled past.
See also: and, wherefore, why


obsolete Why. O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

whys and wherefores of something

the reasons or causes relating to something. I refuse to discuss the whys and wherefores of my decision. It's final. Bob doesn't know the whys and wherefores of his contract. He just knows that it means he will get a lot of money when he finishes the work.
See also: and, of, wherefore, why
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

whys and wherefores

All the underlying causes and reasons, as in She went into the whys and wherefores of the adoption agency's rules and procedures. This idiom today is a redundancy since why and wherefore mean the same thing. Formerly, however, why indicated the reason for something and wherefore how it came to be. [c. 1600]
See also: and, wherefore, why
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

the whys and wherefores

The whys and wherefores of something are the reasons for it. Even successful bosses need to be queried about the whys and wherefores of their actions. He is not interested in discussing the whys and wherefores of his time abroad. Note: `Wherefore' is an old-fashioned word meaning `for what' or `why'.
See also: and, wherefore, why
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the whys and wherefores

the reasons for or details of something.
1991 Gramophone At this time I was desperate to know all the whys and wherefores of a really advanced technique.
See also: and, wherefore, why
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

the ˌwhys and (the) ˈwherefores (of something)

the reasons (for something): I don’t really want to know all the whys and the wherefores. Just tell me what happened.
See also: and, wherefore, why
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

whys and wherefores, the

The underlying reasons. Although this alliterative term seems tautological, originally why alluded to the reason for something, and wherefore to how it came to be. However, wherefore also was, in the sixteenth century, used in the meaning of “because.” Thus George Gascoigne (Supposes, 1566) wrote, “I have given you a wherefore for this why many times,” and Samuel Butler (Hudibras, 1663), “Whatever Sceptic could inquire for, For ev’ry why he had a wherefore.” Today, however, the term is simply a cliché for all the reasons for something.
See also: and, why
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Mediator Nimetz said both parties expressed a wish that talks should speed up wherefore a new round will be scheduled after the elections either in New York or in the region.
Wherefore, with a magnanimity, and excellent exercise of judgment, which are only the province of those who have acquired a consummate knowledge of human nature, and who know how to turn to advantage the extraordinary dispositions of those intrusted to their care, they sagaciously managed matters in such a way as to enable me to ride my hobby to a certain extent, and still, at the same time, to prevent me from giving a bad example.
Of all the arts inmates might be exposed to, wherefore the Bard of Avon?
Wherefore art thou Romeo?' and 'what light through yonder window breaks?' These are quotes that everybody on the planet just seems to have the natural ability to recite.
White sang and acted well as Rackstraw, while Abigail Iveson revealed a fine voice in the role of Josephine, and Belsey - who replaced sickbay stranded Riccardo Simonetti as Captain Corcoran - excelled with Fair Moon, to Thee I Sing, and Never Mind the Why and Wherefore in which he was joined by Josephine and Sir Joseph.
The survey also questioned 2,000 adults, showing that half (49 percent) are unable to complete the line "O Romeo, Romeo ..." from Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' with the correct answer being "wherefore art thou Romeo?"
No Joe, science has not answered all the questions regarding the why and wherefore. It has never pretended to but, it is never afraid to ask the questions unlike religion.
Wherefore, decline to plead The color of any shirt Well knowing that no
Wherefore, I humbly pray that the accused be called upon to enter her defense as per charge,'' chief prosecutor Gan Peng Kun said.
The whence, the why and the wherefore is the Big Question that those guys never tackle, preferring as they do to tilt at straw men.
Looking back, I must have left evidence, the why and wherefore: even after everything, I must have been the who.
Dr Swire, who attended Megrahi's trial at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, urged: "Let us stop mulling over the why and wherefore of Megrahi's release.
In this regard, he mentions the case of Spaska Mitrova from Gevgelija, who did not let her husband see their child thus breaching the law and was therefore sentenced to 3 months in prison, wherefore the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested.