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Example: His sweet tooth finally got the better of him, what with all the confections surrounding him.

Sounds awkward, but is it correct usage?

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  • Correct usage. What there is emphatic / exclamatory. – TRomano Nov 15 '15 at 11:34
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It's not awkward and it's correct usage.

OED:
what with
Because of (used usually to introduce several causes of something):
What with the drought and the neglect, the garden is in a sad condition.
Here's a category that's heating up, what with all the new developments this year.

In your sentence it means that the guy finally gave in to his desire for sweet food, because there were many confections at his disposal.

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