[who] pron [ME, fr. OE hwa; akin to OHG hwer, interrog. pron., who, L quis, Gk tis, L qui, rel. pron., who] (bef. 12c) 1: what or which person or persons--used as an interrogative "~ was elected?" "find out ~ they are"--used by speakers on all educational levels and by many reputable writers, though disapproved by some grammarians, as the object of a verb or a following preposition "~ did I see but a Spanish lady --Padraic Colum" "do not know ~ the message is from --G. K. Chesterton"
2: the person or persons that: whoever 3--used as a function word to introduce a relative clause--used esp. in reference to persons "my father, ~ was a lawyer" but also in reference to groups "a generation ~ had known nothing but war --R. B. West" or to animals "dogs ~ ... fawn all over tramps --Nigel Balchin" or to inanimate objects esp. with the implication that the reference is really to a person "earlier sources ~ maintain a Davidic ancestry --F. M. Cross"--used by speakers on all educational levels and by many reputable writers, though disapproved by some grammarians, as the object of a verb or a following preposition "a character ~ we are meant to pity --Times Lit. Supp." usage see whom, that -- as who archaic: as one that: as if someone -- as who should say archaic: so to speak -- who is who or who's who or who was who : the identity of or the noteworthy facts about each of a number of persons