Worthwhile vs Worth - What's the difference?

worthwhile | worth | Derived terms |

Worthwhile is a derived term of worth.

As a adjective worthwhile

is good and important enough to spend time, effort, or money on.

As a preposition worth is

having a value of; proper to be exchanged for.

As a noun worth is

(countable) value.

As a verb worth is

(obsolete|except in set phrases) to be, become, betide.



Alternative forms

* worth while


(en adjective)
  • Good and important enough to spend time, effort, or money on.
  • Doing volunteer work to help others is truly worthwhile .



    Etymology 1

    From worth or wurth, from (etyl) .


    (English prepositions)
  • Having a value of; proper to be exchanged for.
  • My house now is worth double what I paid for it.
    Cleanliness is the virtue most worth having but one.
  • Deserving of.
  • I think you’ll find my proposal worth your attention.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2012 , date=May 9 , author=Jonathan Wilson , title=Europa League: Radamel Falcao's Atlético Madrid rout Athletic Bilbao , work=the Guardian citation , page= , passage=Two years after their first European trophy, Atlético were well worth their second.}}
  • (obsolete, except in Scots) Valuable, worth while.
  • Making a fair equivalent of, repaying or compensating.
  • This job is hardly worth the effort.
    Usage notes
    The modern adjectival senses of worth'' compare two noun phrases, prompting some sources to classify the word as a preposition. Most, however, list it an adjective, some with notes like "governing a noun with prepositional force." says, "the adjective ''worth requires what is most easily described as an object." Joan Maling (1983) shows that worth is best analysed as a preposition rather than an adjective. CGEL (2002) analyzes it as an adjective.
    Derived terms
    * for what it's worth/FWIW * more trouble than it's worth * not worth a dime * worth a try * worth every penny * worthful * worth it * worth its weight in gold * worthless * worth one's salt * worth one's while * worth the risk * worthwhile * worthy


  • (countable) Value.
  • I’ll have a dollar's worth of candy, please.
    They have proven their worths''' as individual fighting men and their '''worth as a unit.
  • (uncountable) Merit, excellence.
  • Our new director is a man whose worth is well acknowledged.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2012 , date=September 7 , author=Phil McNulty , title=Moldova 0-5 England , work=BBC Sport citation , page= , passage=Manchester United's Tom Cleverley impressed on his first competitive start and Lampard demonstrated his continued worth at international level in a performance that was little more than a stroll once England swiftly exerted their obvious authority.}}
    Derived terms
    * all one's life's worth * a dime's worth * comparable worth * disworth * jobsworth * money's worth * net worth * pennyworth * self-worth * tuppence worth/tuppenceworth * two pennies' worth * worthen

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) (Norwegian verta, Swedish varda), Latin vertere.


  • (obsolete, except in set phrases) To be, become, betide.
  • * 1843 , , book 2, ch. 3, "Lndlord Edmund"
  • For, adds our erudite Friend, the Saxon weorthan'' equivalent to the German ''werden'', means to grow, to become; traces of which old vocable are still found in the North-country dialects, as, ‘What is word of him?’ meaning ‘What is become of him?’ and the like. Nay we in modern English still say, ‘Woe worth the hour.’ ''[i.e. Woe befall the hour]
  • * 14th century , Pearl poet, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • Corsed worth cowarddyse and couetyse boþe! [i.e. Cursed be cowardice and covetousness both]
    Woe worth the man that crosses me.
    Derived terms
    * outworth


    * * * * Joan Maling (1983), Transitive Adjectives: A Case of Categorial Reanalysis, in F. Henry and B. Richards (eds.), Linguistic Categories: Auxiliaries and Related Puzzles , vol.1, pp. 253-289.




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