wag·​gish | \ ˈwa-gish How to pronounce waggish (audio) \

Definition of waggish

1 : resembling or characteristic of a wag a waggish friend a waggish prose style
2 : done or made in waggery or for sport : humorous waggish spoofs of popular songs

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Other Words from waggish

waggishly adverb
waggishness noun

The Dark History of Waggish

One who is waggish acts like a wag. What, then, is a wag? Etymologists think wag probably came from waghalter, a word that was once used for a gallows bird (that is, a person who was going to be, or deserved to be, hanged). Waghalter was apparently shortened to wag and used jokingly or affectionately for mischievous pranksters or youths. Hence a wag is a joker, and waggery is merriment or practical joking. Waggish can describe the prank itself as well as the prankster type; the class clown might be said to have a "waggish disposition" or be prone to "waggish antics."

Examples of waggish in a Sentence

a waggish disposition that often got him into trouble as a child
Recent Examples on the Web Re-teaming with producer James Ford (Haim, Depeche Mode), frontman Alex Turner trades in piercing guitar for jaunty piano for a waggish, if at times uninspired meditation on fame in the digital age. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Review: Arctic Monkeys' 'Tranquility Base Hotel' is a weird, often enjoyable stay," 10 May 2018 Carney’s attitude is waggish but jovial, never crossing into anger. Seth Stevenson, Slate Magazine, "The Daily Show," 10 Apr. 2017 His melancholy, along with his waggish humor, goes more unguarded in his songs. Michael Schulman, New York Times, "Rufus Wainwright’s 10-Year Journey Back to Judy Garland," 4 June 2016 Not specifically based on Che Guevara, Richard Bermudez’s Che is a waggish yet mild-mannered gadfly, a cynical, harshly critical observer of the Perón regime. Orange County Register, "‘Evita’ lives up to its grand opera format," 15 Feb. 2017 BETHPAGE, N.Y. — It's been a decade since Kevin James and Leah Remini played pugnacious partners on CBS' The King of Queens, but their waggish rankling never stopped. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Leah Remini, Kevin James are just married (again) in 'Kevin Can Wait' finale," 30 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'waggish.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of waggish

1589, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of waggish was in 1589

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Cite this Entry

“Waggish.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waggish. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for waggish


How to pronounce waggish (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of waggish

: silly and playful


wag·​gish | \ ˈwa-gish How to pronounce waggish (audio) \

Kids Definition of waggish

: showing or done in a spirit of harmless mischief

More from Merriam-Webster on waggish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for waggish

Nglish: Translation of waggish for Spanish Speakers

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