Wether, Whether, or Weather?

What Is the Difference between "Wether," "Weather," and "Whether"?

The Quick Answer
  • A wether is a castrated ram.
  • Weather refers to rain, sun, wind, snow, etc.
What is a wether?
Most people reach this page by searching for "wether" instead of "weather." If that's you, then at least you now know that a wether is a castrated ram. Who knew, eh?
weather, whether or wether difference
"Wether," "weather," and "whether" sound identical, but their meanings are quite different. It is important to use the right word because a mistake involving one of these words would be considered a serious error by your readers, if you're a native English speaker.

Quick Test on Wether, Weather, and Weather

It's your go. Select the correct one:

Wether

"Wether" is most commonly seen as a misspelling for "whether" or "weather," but it is a word in its own right. A wether is a castrated ram (a male sheep) or a castrated billy (a male goat). For example:
  • My wether still has an eye for the lady sheep. correct tick
Some farmers castrate their male goats or sheep to create wethers to ensure only the best male breeds with the females. Also of note, non-wethers (i.e., uncastrated males) show more aggression to people and their young, and non-wethers tend to stink as they urinate on themselves during breeding season and have active glands that excrete an unpleasant scent.

From a grammatical perspective, "wether" is a noun. More specifically, it is a common noun. It is also a gender-specific noun because wethers are always male (i.e., masculine grammatical gender).

Whether

"Whether" is a conjunction, similar to "if." It is most often used to introduce an indirect question. Example sentences with "whether":
  • I wonder whether it will rain. correct tick
  • Sarah wants to know whether the visit is still on schedule. correct tick
  • I am going to the fair, whether it's raining or not. correct tick
Read more about "whether" and "if."

Weather

As a noun, "weather" means the "atmosphere in terms of temperature, wind, clouds, and precipitation." As a verb, "to weather" can mean "to withstand" or "to endure" (e.g., to weather an onslaught) or "to erode (over time)" (e.g., to weather the surface rock).

Example sentences "with weather":
  • I am not going fishing today. Have you seen the weather? correct tick
  • ("weather" as a noun)
  • We'll anchor up, weather the storm and then head back to land. correct tick
  • ("weather" as a verb meaning to endure)
  • The sea will weather that rope in less than a week. correct tick
  • ("weather" as a verb meaning to erode)

Did the Wether Survive?

If you can follow this sentence, you have a good grasp of "wether," "weather," and "whether":
  • The farmer looked out the window and wondered whether the wether would weather the weather or whether the weather would kill the wether.

A Video Summary

Here is a short video summarizing the differences between "weather," "whether," and "wether."

Are you a visual learner? Do you prefer video to text? Here is a list of all our grammar videos.

Common Terms with "Weather," "Whether," and "Wether"

Common terms with the word "Weather":
  • weather forecast
  • severe weather
  • under the weather
  • fair weather friend
  • to weather a storm
Common terms with the word "Whether":
  • whether or not
Common terms with the word "Wether":
  • Wetherspoons (British pub chain)
  • bellwether
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.