Wether, Whether, or Weather?

by Craig Shrives

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

"Wether," "weather," and "whether" are easy to confuse.
  • Wether. "Wether" is a castrated ram (male sheep). For example:
    • My wether still has an eye for the lady sheep.
    What is a wether?
  • Weather. "Weather" is the state of the atmosphere (temperature, wind, clouds, rain). For example:
    • Bring a jacket. We're expecting bad weather.
  • Whether. "Whether" is like "if." For example:
    • I wonder whether it will rain.

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.
weather, whether or wether difference

Wether

"Wether" is most commonly seen as a misspelling for "whether" or "weather." A wether is a castrated ram (a male sheep) or a castrated billy (a male goat).

Farmers will 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 tend to stink (as non-wethers 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, "wether" is a common noun and a gender-specific noun.)

Whether

"Whether" is a conjunction, similar to "if." It is most often used to introduce an indirect question. Example sentences with "whether":
  • Sarah wants to know whether the visit is still on schedule.
  • I am going to the fair, whether it's raining or not.
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?
  • ("weather" as a noun)
  • We'll anchor up, weather the storm and then head back to land.
  • ("weather" as a verb meaning to endure)
  • The sea will weather that rope in less than a week.
  • ("weather" as a verb meaning to erode)

A Video Summary

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

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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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? What are contractions? What are interrogative pronouns? What are relative pronouns? 
List of easily confused words

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