The following depicts a real conversation between my housemate and myself a few years ago. (I'm happy to say I no longer live with him.)

Me: "I can't study when there's music playing."

He: "Okay, I'll turn it down a little bit."

Me: "Why can't you wear headphones?"

He: "Because."

What is the last sentence supposed to mean?

  • 6
    The meaning is context-sensitive, but usually it's either Because I say so or Because that's just the way it is. Possibly in your case Because I don't like wearing headphones. Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 9:58
  • 3
    Victor Hugo said "Parce que. Cette réponse de celui qui ne sait rien est aussi la réponse de celui qui sait tout", what gives "Because. This answer from one who knows nothing is also the response from one who knows everything".
    – Graffito
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 12:05
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    It's claiming there's a reason, and I can't or won't say what it is. Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 12:35
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    This is probably the same in your language.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 14:28
  • 1
    An adult may answer an annoying child's question like this: Why can't I have an ice-cream? Because! Commented Sep 4, 2023 at 14:33

2 Answers 2


“Because” by itself is an intentional non-answer. Think of it as short for “Because I don't feel like it” or “Because I said so.”

Your housemate was implying that he didn't owe you an explanation for not wearing headphones; he simply refused to wear them.


It does not convey anything specifically, but it has a colloquial meaning. It is the equivalent of a shrug:

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This 'Because' is used almost in an ironic manner, not to provide any real reason. This particular usage is far more common in younger generation and exclusively casual, so there is no formal basis for just saying 'Because' as an answer to any question. For example:

A: Why are you so stubborn?!

B: Because.

Note: It is not a short form or omitted form of a longer sentence and it certainly does not serve to provide a reason like "I don't like wearing headphones".

  • 1
    At least have the decency to explain your downvotes please, rather than getting triggered. Thanks in advance.
    – user176824
    Commented Sep 7, 2023 at 17:52

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