AskDefine | Define whatnot

The Collaborative Dictionary

Whatnot \What"not\ (hw[o^]t"n[o^]t), Whatnot shelf \What"not shelf`\ (hw[o^]t"n[o^]t sh[e^]lf`), n. [See the Note under What, pron., 5.] A kind of stand, or piece of furniture, having shelves for books, ornaments, etc.; an ['e]tag[`e]re. [1913 Webster]

Word Net

whatnot n : miscellaneous curios [syn: bric-a-brac, knickknack, nicknack, knickknackery]




  1. a small unspecified object; bric-a-brac (in plural)
  2. other related objects or ideas; et cetera
    At the lexicography club, we welcome all discussion of words and whatnot.
    All of the cakes and whatnot have been laid out, ready for the children's birthday party this afternoon.
  3. a freestanding set of shelves on which ornaments are displayed


Related terms

A what-not is a piece of furniture derived from the French étagère, which was exceedingly popular in England in the first three-quarters of the 19th century. It usually consists of slender uprights or pillars, supporting a series of shelves for holding china, ornaments or trifles of any kind, hence the allusive name. In its English form, although a convenient drawing room receptacle, it was rarely beautiful. The early mahogany examples are, however, sometimes graceful in their simplicity. In some parts of the United States, the term what-nots has come to mean the decorative ornaments so displayed.
What-not is also an English term used to incorporate any other details not mentioned. This term is used much like et cetera to supplement details.


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