Let's Compare Who and Whom

Who

Who \Who\, pron. [Possess. {whose}; object. {Whom}.] [OE. who, wha, AS. hw[=a], interrogative pron., neut. hw[ae]t; akin to OFries. hwa, neut. hwet, OS. hw[=e], neut. hwat, D. wie, neut. wat, G. wer, neut. was, OHG. wer, hwer, neut. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, neut., Dan. hvo, neut. hvad, Sw. ho, hvem, neut. hvad, Goth. hwas, fem. hw[=o], neut. hwa, Lith. kas, Ir. & Gael. co, W. pwy, L. quod, neuter of qui, Gr. po`teros whether, Skr. kas. [root]182. Cf. {How}, {Quantity}, {Quorum}, {Quote}, {Ubiquity}, {What}, {When}, {Where}, {Whether}, {Which}, {Whither}, {Whom}, {Why}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Originally, an interrogative pronoun, later, a relative pronoun also; -- used always substantively, and either as singular or plural. See the Note under {What}, pron., 1. As interrogative pronouns, who and whom ask the question: What or which person or persons? Who and whom, as relative pronouns (in the sense of that), are properly used of persons (corresponding to which, as applied to things), but are sometimes, less properly and now rarely, used of animals, plants, etc. Who and whom, as compound relatives, are also used especially of persons, meaning the person that; the persons that; the one that; whosoever. ``Let who will be President.'' --Macaulay. [1913 Webster] [He] should not tell whose children they were. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] There thou tell'st of kings, and who aspire; Who fall, who rise, who triumph, who do moan. --Daniel. [1913 Webster] Adders who with cloven tongues Do hiss into madness. --Shak. [1913 Webster] Whom I could pity thus forlorn. --Milton. [1913 Webster] How hard is our fate, who serve in the state. --Addison. [1913 Webster] Who cheapens life, abates the fear of death. --Young. [1913 Webster] The brace of large greyhounds, who were the companions of his sports. --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] 2. One; any; one. [Obs., except in the archaic phrase, as who should say.] [1913 Webster] As who should say, it were a very dangerous matter if a man in any point should be found wiser than his forefathers were. --Robynson (More's Utopia). [1913 Webster]

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Whom

Whom \Whom\, pron. [OE. wham, AS. dative hw[=a]m, hw?m. See {Who}.] The objective case of who. See {Who}. [1913 Webster] Note: In Old English, whom was also commonly used as a dative. Cf. {Him}. [1913 Webster] And every grass that groweth upon root She shall eke know, and whom it will do boot. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

Who \Who\, pron. [Possess. {whose}; object. {Whom}.] [OE. who, wha, AS. hw[=a], interrogative pron., neut. hw[ae]t; akin to OFries. hwa, neut. hwet, OS. hw[=e], neut. hwat, D. wie, neut. wat, G. wer, neut. was, OHG. wer, hwer, neut. waz, hwaz, Icel. hvat, neut., Dan. hvo, neut. hvad, Sw. ho, hvem, neut. hvad, Goth. hwas, fem. hw[=o], neut. hwa, Lith. kas, Ir. & Gael. co, W. pwy, L. quod, neuter of qui, Gr. po`teros whether, Skr. kas. [root]182. Cf. {How}, {Quantity}, {Quorum}, {Quote}, {Ubiquity}, {What}, {When}, {Where}, {Whether}, {Which}, {Whither}, {Whom}, {Why}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Originally, an interrogative pronoun, later, a relative pronoun also; -- used always substantively, and either as singular or plural. See the Note under {What}, pron., 1. As interrogative pronouns, who and whom ask the question: What or which person or persons? Who and whom, as relative pronouns (in the sense of that), are properly used of persons (corresponding to which, as applied to things), but are sometimes, less properly and now rarely, used of animals, plants, etc. Who and whom, as compound relatives, are also used especially of persons, meaning the person that; the persons that; the one that; whosoever. ``Let who will be President.'' --Macaulay. [1913 Webster] [He] should not tell whose children they were. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] There thou tell'st of kings, and who aspire; Who fall, who rise, who triumph, who do moan. --Daniel. [1913 Webster] Adders who with cloven tongues Do hiss into madness. --Shak. [1913 Webster] Whom I could pity thus forlorn. --Milton. [1913 Webster] How hard is our fate, who serve in the state. --Addison. [1913 Webster] Who cheapens life, abates the fear of death. --Young. [1913 Webster] The brace of large greyhounds, who were the companions of his sports. --Sir W. Scott. [1913 Webster] 2. One; any; one. [Obs., except in the archaic phrase, as who should say.] [1913 Webster] As who should say, it were a very dangerous matter if a man in any point should be found wiser than his forefathers were. --Robynson (More's Utopia). [1913 Webster]

Data Sources:

  • who: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • who: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • whom: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • whom: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44

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