why


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in blue blazes?

Used as an intensifier after a question word (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to express extreme confusion, surprise, or aggravation. Primarily heard in US. And just how in blue blazes am I supposed to have three reports done by 9 AM tomorrow? Where in blue blazes did you find that rusty old car? Who in blue blazes is making all that noise?
See also: blue

in (the) blazes?

Used as an intensifier after a question word (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to express extreme confusion, surprise, or aggravation. Primarily heard in US. And just how in blazes am I supposed to have three reports done by 9 AM tomorrow? Where in the blazes did you find that rusty old car? Who in blazes is making all that noise?

in (the) Sam Hill?

Used as an intensifier after a question word (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to express extreme confusion, surprise, or aggravation. Often erroneously written or pronounced as "in Sam Hell." Primarily heard in US. And just how in Sam Hill am I supposed to have three reports done by 9 AM tomorrow? Where in the Sam Hill did you find that rusty old car? Who in Sam Hill is making all that noise?
See also: SAM

in tarnation?

Used as an intensifier after a question word (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to express extreme confusion, surprise, or aggravation. Primarily heard in US. And just how in tarnation am I supposed to have three reports done by 9 AM tomorrow? Where in tarnation did you find that rusty old car? Who in tarnation is making all that noise?

in thunderation?

Used as an intensifier after a question word (who, what, where, when, why, and how) to express extreme confusion, surprise, or aggravation. Primarily heard in US. And just how in thunderation am I supposed to have three reports done by 9 AM tomorrow? Where in thunderation did you find that rusty old car? Who in thunderation is making all that noise?

no matter what/when/where/why/who/how

Used to emphasize that something is always the case or that something must be done (by someone). No matter how I approach it, I just can't seem to understand this math problem. No matter who does it, this report has got to be finished and on my desk by the end of the week.
See also: how, matter, what, who, why

why in God's name

A phrase used for emphasis in the beginning of a question, usually because the speaker is incredulous. Why in God's name would you let the kids have candy for dinner? That is so unhealthy! I understand that you had to let the dog out in the rain, but why in God's name didn't you dry him off when he came back in?
See also: name, why

why on earth

A phrase used for emphasis in the beginning of a question, usually because the speaker is incredulous. Why on earth would you let the kids have candy for dinner? That is so unhealthy! I understand that you had to let the dog out in the rain, but why on earth didn't you dry him off when he came back in?
See also: earth, on, why

what the (blue) blazes

An exclamation used to emphasize surprise, shock, anger, disgust, etc. In this phrase, "the blazes" is used as an intensifier. The phrase can also be used with other question words (e.g. "who," "why," "how," etc.). What the blazes are you doing? You can't come in here! What the blue blazes? I just had this fixed, and now there's a dent in it! Just what the blazes is going on here?
See also: blaze, what

Why break the habit of a lifetime?

A rhetorical question expressing doubt that someone will change their bad habit. Typically said after that person has announced their intention to stop such a habit. A: "That's it. That's my last cigarette." B: "Why break the habit of a lifetime?"
See also: break, habit, of, why

why keep a dog and bark yourself

Why do something that someone else is paid to do? I don't know why she's vacuuming when her cleaning lady is coming over tomorrow. Why keep a dog and bark yourself?
See also: and, bark, dog, keep, why

why not

Yes, because there is no good reason to say no. A: "Would you like another glass of wine?" B: "Sure, why not?"
See also: not, why

that's why

a tag on the end of a statement that is an answer to a question beginning with why. (Shows a little impatience.) Sue: Why do you always put your right shoe on first? Bob: Because, when I get ready to put on my shoes, I always pick up the right one first, that's why! Mary: Why do you eat that awful peppermint candy? Tom: Because I like it, that's why!
See also: why

Why buy a cow when you can get milk for free?

 and Why buy a cow when milk is so cheap?
Prov. Why pay for something that you can get for free otherwise. (Sometimes used to describe someone who will not marry because sex without any commitment is so easy to obtain. Jocular and crude.) I don't have a car because someone always gives me a ride to work. Why buy a cow when you can get milk for free? Mary told her daughter, "You may think that boy will marry you because you're willing to sleep with him, but why should he buy a cow if he can get milk for free?"
See also: buy, can, cow, get, milk, why

why don't you?

a question tag that is put onto the end of a command. Andy: Move aside, why don't you? Bob: Okay. Sorry. I didn't know I was in the way. "Just keep bugging me, why don't you?" threatened Wally. Andy: Try it again, why don't you? Sue: I hope I get it right this time.
See also: why

Why keep a dog and bark yourself?

Prov. You should not do something you have hired someone else to do. Ellen: The cleaning lady washes my floors every Tuesday, but I always wash them over again. Jane: Don't be silly, Ellen. Why keep a dog and bark yourself?
See also: and, bark, dog, keep, why

Why not?

 
1. Lit. Please explain your negative answer. Mother: No, you can't. Mary: Why not? Sue: Could I have another piece of cake? Mary: No. Sue: Why not? Mary: I want it.
2. . Inf. I cannot think of a reason not to, so yes. Bob: You want to go to see a movie next Friday? Jane: Why not? Fred: Do you feel like wandering over to the bowling alley? Tom: Why not?
See also: why

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

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 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

theirs (or ours) not to reason why

it is not someone's place to question a situation, order, or system.
This phrase comes from Tennyson's poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ ( 1854 ), which describes how, in a notorious incident in the Crimean War, the British cavalry unquestioningly obeyed a suicidal order to ride straight at the Russian guns.
See also: not, reason, theirs, why

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

why keep a ˌdog and bark yourˈself?

(informal, saying) if somebody can do a task for you, there is no point in doing it yourself: My mother always cleans the house before the cleaning lady comes, but why keep a dog and bark yourself?
See also: and, bark, dog, keep, why

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

why ˈever...?

used in questions to mean ‘why?’, expressing surprise: Why ever didn’t you tell us?
See also: why

ˌwhy ˈnot?

(informal) used to make a suggestion, or agree to a suggestion: ‘Why not go and see a movie?’ ‘OK.’‘Let’s go and see a movie.’ ‘OK, why not?’
See also: why

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

Why keep a dog and bark yourself

Don't do a chore that should be done by someone you hired to do it. A literal example of the expression would be a home owner who buys, trains, and maintains a guard dog, but stays up all night in case of intruders. Jonathan Swift in Polite Conversation wrote this exchange between a woman of quality and her servant: “‘Good Miss, stir the Fire.' ‘Indeed your Ladyship could have stirr'd it much better.' [To which the woman replied] ‘I won't keep a Dog and bark myself.'”
See also: and, bark, dog, keep, why
References in periodicals archive ?
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I think the explanations of religion that I've reviewed have the same problem, namely not having an independent rationale, given an engineering analysis of why that trait should, in principle, be useful.
This explains why the current Republican Congress is uninterested in exerting itself against the current Republican president.
In an America in which party affiliations are for self-evident reasons growing ever weaker--and in which life expectancy at birth is now close to 78 years and climbing--there will be plenty of time for kids to learn exactly why they hate the Tom DeLays, Nancy Pelosis, Bill Frists, and Harry Reids of the world.
Q: WHY is it women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why was the only politically acceptable judgment on communism the rather banal observation that it "didn't work?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
On a journey that is scientific and artistic, personal and purposeful, Donald Kroodsma seeks to discover why some birds sing and others don't; and whether their songs are inherited through genes or learned through observation.
In Reich Of The Black Sun: Nazi Secret Weapons & The Cold War Allied Legend, author and iconoclast Joseph Farrell provides intriguing answers to a series of hitherto unasked questions: Why were the Allies worried about an atom bomb attack by the Germans in 1944?