-1

Whichevereth does not appear to be listed in dictionaries.

With only a few Google hits, across a selection of informal texts and snippets, it is perhaps used to indicate that the speaker does not care about the ordinal position of the object in a long row thereof:

And indicating with a nod a bespectacled and nonthreatening Mancunian solicitor with whom he was apparently vying for the latest Louis the whichevereth bureau, [...]

[Alex Ferguson's email to Cristiano Ronaldo]

In this sense, it seems to be a cliché, largely synonymous with umpteenth.

However, whichevereth is perhaps not immediately understandable in this sole sense (i.e., as a pronoun pertaining to order). Indeed some speakers use it as an archaic form of whichever:

And ye shall face the snorkel whichevereth way thy boltholes lineth up or there will be great gnashing of teeth.

My questions:

6
  • 3
    (1) Yes. (2) Yes, if you are not worried about using nonstandard English / being very informal and coming across as lightweight or irresponsible/ losing marks in an academic exercise / offending purists.... – Edwin Ashworth Feb 3 '16 at 22:42
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth I see. Thanks. Largely understandable, but too informal or frowned upon to be included in a dictionary. – anemone Feb 3 '16 at 22:55
  • 1
    It is readily understandable in both contexts, as "whichever" is widely known and the practice of adding the suffix "eth" to imply either ordinality or anachronism is also widely known.. But "whichevereth" is not a "word", in the sense of being accepted by any standard dictionary. – Hot Licks Feb 3 '16 at 23:02
  • 2
    @WS2 I know about that post (and refer to it myself). I do not see how it answers my question about the word whichevereth. – anemone Feb 3 '16 at 23:31
  • 1
    @WS2: from what I can see, those posts only discuss whatth, whichth and how manieth; there is no mention of "whichevereth" that I can find, so I don't see how there is an answer to this question there. – herisson Feb 5 '16 at 17:21
2

The following article from grammarphobia is about the suffix -eth used in uncommon slang construction (such as many -eth) to refer to an indefinite number. I think it may apply also to the uncommon term "whichevereth" you are referring to:

  • In sober—that is, standard—English, we’d say something like “How much beer have we had” or “How many beers have we had?” Yet for some reason we don’t use “many-eth” to ask questions like this.

  • The “-th” suffix is used in its numerical sense with ordinal numbers, like “fifth,” “eleventh,” and “thirty-fourth,” as well as looser ordinals like “nth,” “zillionth,” “umpteenth,” and so on.

  • When an ordinal number is derived from a cardinal number ending in “y,” the “y” becomes “i” and the “-th” ending becomes “-eth.” For example, “twenty” becomes “twentieth,” and “fifty” becomes “fiftieth.”

  • The Oxford English Dictionary says the “-th” ending has been used this way since Anglo-Saxon days. The “th” sound was represented then by the Old English letters thorn or eth. The OED says the “-th” suffix is ultimately derived from –tos, an ancient Indo-European superlative ending.

  • Like “umpteen,” the adjective “many” refers to a large but indefinite number. We say “umpteenth,” so why then don’t we say “many-eth”? Well, for whatever reason, it’s not considered idiomatic English.

  • Despite that, we’ve found lots of examples of the usage on the Web, including many from writers whose English is otherwise beyond reproach.

  • Here’s an example from a review of a concert in which Joshua Bell is the soloist in a performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto: “Here he was, playing it for the … how many-eth time?”

  • Does “many-eth” have a future? Who knows? If enough people use it for enough time, “many-eth” may become standard English some day. Not yet, though.

2
  • According to their own rules, it should be "manieth", if at all. – anemone Feb 3 '16 at 23:05
  • 2
    @anemone - yes, probably "many-eth" is visually more acceptable and readable. – user66974 Feb 3 '16 at 23:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.