Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

why

1 adverb, conjunction
     
why1 S1 W1
1 used to ask or talk about the reason for something:
Why are you crying?
Why do we have to take all these tests?
'She wants to meet you.' 'Why?'
'I won't be able to come into work tomorrow.' ' Why not?'
I have no idea why the television isn't working.
Simon loves you - that's why he wants to be with you.
He's angry with me and I don't know why.
There's no reason why we shouldn't be friends.
why on earth/why ever etc (=used for emphasis when you are surprised, angry etc)
Why on earth didn't you ask me to help?
'I don't want us to be seen together.' 'Why ever not?'
2 used to introduce a question that shows you do not think it is necessary to do something:
Why worry? You can't do anything about it.
Why waste time going to the bank when you can do it all over the Internet?
3 spoken

why not?

used to say that you agree with a suggestion:
'We could invite John and Barbara.' 'Yes, why not?'
4 spoken

why doesn't somebody do something?

a) also why not do something? used to make a suggestion:
Why don't you bring over a video for us to watch?
Why not relax and enjoy the atmosphere?
b) used to say angrily that someone should do something:
Why don't you mind your own business?
5 spoken

why somebody?

used to ask why a particular person has been chosen or is suffering:
Why me? Why can't someone else drive you?
6 spoken

why oh why ...?

used to show that you are very sorry or angry about something:
Why oh why did I say those horrible things?

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