‘Wether’ or ‘Weather’ or ‘Whether’: What’s the Difference?

By Carly Forsaith, updated on September 20, 2022

The words 'wether', 'weather,' and 'whether' are confusing words. People tend to spell them wrong or misunderstand the meaning.

In this article, we will clarify the meaning of each word and when to use which spelling.

The quick answer is that:

  • 'Wether' is a castrated sheep
  • 'Weather' is the condition of the air in terms of climate
  • 'Whether' is used to express a choice between several options

Want to go a little deeper? Read on.

The Difference Between 'Wether' vs. 'Whether' vs. 'Weather'

Why is there confusion between these three words, and how should you use them in a sentence? Let's dive in.

Why Are These Words Confusing?

Have you ever heard of 'homophones'? The term refers to words that sound the same yet are spelled differently. That is precisely what we are dealing with here.

If you say the words' wether', 'weather,' and 'whether' out loud, you will pronounce them the same way. However, you already know that they do not look the same when you read them.

Here are some other homophones:

So how will you remember the correct way to spell each word? Often, you will have to memorize it. Sometimes, you can use mnemonics to remember. We will list a couple of mnemonics for 'wether,' 'weather,' and 'whether' later in this article.

What Does 'Wether' Mean?

Let's dive into the definition of the word 'wether', and some example sentences.

Definition of 'Wether'

As mentioned earlier, a 'whether' is a noun used to refer to a castrated male sheep or goat. Farmers will perform this sterilization to ensure only the "best" males reproduce with the female sheep.

This word is rarely used outside the farming world, so you are very unlikely to use it unless you work with sheep.

Example Sentences Using 'Wether'

  • Keep an eye on that wether right there; he hasn't been doing so well.
  • We have many wethers on our land.
  • I knitted this jumper using wether wool.
  • She's got more than 500 wethers on her paddocks.

What Does 'Weather' Mean?

Let's dive into the definition of the word 'weather', and some example sentences.

Definition of 'Weather'

'Weather' can take two forms - a noun or a verb. The noun form relates to the condition of the air and how the atmosphere feels at a given time. Some defining qualities of the weather include temperature, humidity levels, chances of precipitation, and so on.

The verb 'to weather' means to withstand a difficult situation. Imagine a rough storm - literal or metaphorical - coming along. Whatever or whoever is still left after it has passed can be said to have weathered the storm. The meaning is similar to one of the definitions of the verb 'to bear.'

Example Sentences Using 'Weather'

  • Shall we go to the beach this weekend? The weather is due to be sunny.
  • Spain's got great weather in July.
  • I brought this couch all the way from upstate; I'm surprised it's weathered the journey.
  • It wasn't easy, but we've weathered the crisis and will be back on our feet soon.

What Does 'Whether' Mean?

Let's dive into the definition of the word 'whether' and some example sentences.

Definition of 'Whether'

The preposition 'whether' is used to introduce an indirect question, or in other words, to ask something without using the official sentence structure of a question.

You can also use it to present alternative possibilities. There might be a choice between just two options, or there may be many.

Example Sentences Using 'Whether'

Have you decided whether you want to get Indian or Chinese tonight?
I'm not sure whether or not I agree.
The result will still be the same whether she's doing it to help us, the company, or herself.
It's hard to tell whether or not it's going to rain today.

Tips for 'Wether' vs. 'Whether' vs. 'Weather'

Some common terms use the words' weather', 'whether,' and 'wether.' Knowing these terms can help you further understand the meaning of the words and learn alternative ways to use them.

And, before we conclude, we'll give you some tips for remembering the proper spelling of each word.

Common Terms with 'Weather,' 'Whether,' and 'Wether'

We will list some common terms using the three words we have discussed. See if you recognize any of them and whether or not you can think of alternative ways to use them. (see what we did there?)

And we'll give an example sentence for each one.

Under the Weather

This is an idiom used to express the fact we are not feeling great.

I don't know what's up with me; I've been feeling under the weather lately.

Whether You Like it or Not

This is a common saying to tell someone they do not have a choice.

We're going to the dentist's whether you like it or not.


Derived from the word 'wether' and the act of placing a bell around the first goat of the herd's neck, bellwether is now used to refer to a leader.

She is a bellwether in her industry.
This book is a bellwether for feminism.

Mnemonic to Remember

There are a few different tricks to remember the correct spelling of these words. The first one helps you remember the spelling of weather.

Firstly, you won't be using the word 'wether' very much unless, as we stated earlier, you are working with livestock. So you don't need to memorize the spelling for this one.

Secondly, we can all agree that the weather affects what you eat. In the Summer, you crave ice cream and refreshing smoothies. In the Winter, you might be more partial to a warming soup or a hot cup of cocoa. Well, that's your clue. The word 'eat' is the word 'weather,' reminding you to spell 'weather' with an -ea.'

Knowing how to spell 'weather' means you know how to spell 'whether' by default.

Another one is to remember that the weather affects the sea. Sea is spelled with -ea, and so is 'weather.'

We hope this helps!

To Conclude for 'Weather,' 'Whether,' and 'Wether'

Do you feel more confident now with the meaning of these three words and how to spell them? Now that you know this, you can confidently use all three words in the appropriate context and spell them correctly.

Remember that they are homophones, so although they are spelled differently, they sound the same when you spell them.

Thanks for reading!

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Written By:
Carly Forsaith
Carly Forsaith is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. Carly is a copywriter who has been writing about the English language for over 3 years. Before that, she was a teacher in Thailand, helping people learn English as a second language. She is a total grammar nerd and spends her time spotting language errors on signs and on the internet.

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