My association with the words


has been through the Bible, more modern day they have become


As an example, John 13:20

He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me. (King James Version)
he who receives whomever I send receives Me (New American Standard)

The New American Standard version is a more "modern" translation.

When and why did the "so" disappear?
I have tried searching, but can find when/why the change occurred.

  • 1
    Here's the full set of such words from the OED: however, howsoever, howsomever, ifsoever, whatever, whatsoever, whatsomever, whencesoever, whencever, whenever, whensoever, whensomever, whereinsoever, wheresoever, wheresomever, wherever, whethersoever, whichever, whichsoever, whilever, whithersoever, whoever, whomever, whomsoever, whomsomever, whosesoever, whosever, whosoever, whosomever, whyever.
    – tchrist
    Nov 6, 2016 at 17:06
  • 1
    Warm welcome to ELU. The so still appears on "whatsoever" which means "at all" for emphasis in a negative sentence. I don't think it has disappeared yet but usage has declined over the years. ,
    – user140086
    Nov 6, 2016 at 17:15
  • 1
    It's been pinched to start sentences. Nov 6, 2016 at 17:40
  • @EdwinAshworth "Pinched"? Shortened?
    – Peter
    Nov 6, 2016 at 17:42
  • 1
    Nabbed. Appropriated. Sequestered. Filched. (I am not suggesting this for serious consideration.) Nov 6, 2016 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


Whosoever and whomsoever derive from the archaic Middle English pronouns "whoso, whomso". Their usage is still present but it is less common and formal. According to Ngram "whoever and whomever" have been more widely used since the mid 18th century.

  • whoso took such things into account was a fool’

    • archaic term for whoever


  • pronoun;, (possessive whosesoever; objective whomsoever.)


  • 1175-1225 - Middle English; From: whoso + ever


  • Thank you, but why the change?
    – Peter
    Nov 6, 2016 at 20:20
  • @Peter - why in the mid of the 18th century writers stared to prefer whoever to whosoever is hard tell, maybe whosoever was considered more formal also at that time being commonly found in books like the Bibble for instance.
    – user66974
    Nov 6, 2016 at 20:24

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