: a member or supporter of a major British political group of the late 17th through early 19th centuries seeking to limit the royal authority and increase parliamentary power compare tory
: an American favoring independence from Great Britain during the American Revolution
: a member or supporter of an American political party formed about 1834 in opposition to the Jacksonian Democrats, associated chiefly with manufacturing, commercial, and financial interests, and succeeded about 1854 by the Republican party
Whig adjective
Whiggism noun

Examples of Whig in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Power of the Heart also sports contributions from Rosanne Cash, Rufus Wainwright, Lucinda Williams, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Afghan Whigs, 90-year-old blues legend Bobby Rush, Maxim Ludwig and Angel Olsen and Rickie Lee Jones, among others. Spin Staff, SPIN, 1 Mar. 2024 Either a Republican or a Democrat has claimed the White House since Zachary Taylor won as a Whig in 1848. USA TODAY, 26 Feb. 2024 The first time was in 1849, when the Whigs, Democrats, and Free Soil Party could not settle on a new House speaker. Misty Severi, Washington Examiner, 17 Oct. 2023 Holzer deftly summarizes the complicated politics of the antebellum period, including the rise of the secretive, nativist Know-Nothing movement, the collapse of the Whigs, and the formation of the anti-slavery Republican Party. Barbara Spindel, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Feb. 2024 Politically, these tensions split and ultimately destroyed the old Whig Party, in which Lincoln had spent most of his political career, inspiring anti-immigration nativists to form a political organization of their own. Harold Holzer, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Feb. 2024 The Church and the Afghan Whigs and have announced a co-headlining tour of North America. Nina Corcoran, Pitchfork, 6 Feb. 2024 The origins of the GOP date back to the mid-19th century when former members of several existing political parties, including the Whig and Free Soil parties, united in opposition of slavery. Alex Gurley, Peoplemag, 25 Jan. 2024 The Republican Party formed on the heels of the Whigs, which saw members desert to join the Southern Democrats. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 9 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Whig.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


short for Whiggamore, member of a Scottish group that marched to Edinburgh in 1648 to oppose the court party

First Known Use

1702, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of Whig was in 1702

Dictionary Entries Near Whig

Cite this Entry

“Whig.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Whig. Accessed 25 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a member or supporter of a British political group of the late 17th through early 19th centuries trying to lessen the power of the monarch and to increase the power of the parliament
: an American supporting independence from Great Britain during the American Revolution
: a member or supporter of a 19th century American political party formed to oppose the Democrats
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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