Whence (?), adv. [OE. whennes, whens (with adverbial s, properly a genitive ending; -- see -wards), also whenne, whanene, AS. hwanan, hwanon, hwonan, hwanone; akin to D. when. See When, and cf. Hence, Thence.]
From what place; hence, from what or which source, origin, antecedent, premise, or the like; how; -- used interrogatively.
Whence hath this man this wisdom?
Matt. xiii. 54.
Whence and what art thou?
From what or which place, source, material, cause, etc.; the place, source, etc., from which; -- used relatively.
Grateful to acknowledge whence his good
⇒ All the words of this class, whence, where, whither, whereabouts, etc., are occasionally used as pronouns by a harsh construction.
O, how unlike the place from whence they fell?
⇒ From whence, though a pleonasm, is fully authorized by the use of good writers.
From whence come wars and fightings among you?
James iv. 1.
Of whence, also a pleonasm, has become obsolete.
© Webster 1913.