wham·​my ˈ(h)wa-mē How to pronounce whammy (audio)
plural whammies
: a supernatural power bringing bad luck
: a magic curse or spell : jinx, hex
: a potent force or attack
specifically : a paralyzing or lethal blow

Did you know?

The origin of whammy is not entirely certain, but it is assumed to have been created by combining wham (a solid blow) with the whimsical -y ending. The first example of whammy in print occured in 1940, but the word was popularized in the 1950s by the cartoonist Al Capp in the comic strip Li'l Abner. The character Evil-Eye Fleegle could paralyze someone with the sheer power of his gaze. The single whammy was a look with one eye, and the fearsome double whammy used both eyes. As you may know, double whammy has also found a place in English as a general term. It means "a combination of two adverse forces, circumstances, or effects" - in other words, a one-two punch.

Examples of whammy in a Sentence

if you tell anyone about this, I swear I'll put the whammy on you put the whammy on herself by publicly predicting that she would win the tennis tournament
Recent Examples on the Web The economy is not doing well under the triple whammy of unnecessary and unpredictable government intervention, COVID-19 aftereffects, and declining rates of investment, both domestic and foreign. Odd Arne Westad, Foreign Affairs, 13 June 2023 This triple whammy made for less of an incentive to build out full protections. Jonathan Fischbein, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Let there be no doubt I was stoked about the whole thing — even bought a new guitar with the essential whammy! Andy Greene, Rolling Stone, 30 Aug. 2023 But then she got socked with a triple whammy of disasters. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, 17 July 2023 See all Example Sentences for whammy 

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

Word History


probably from wham entry 1

First Known Use

1940, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of whammy was in 1940


Dictionary Entries Near whammy

Cite this Entry

“Whammy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whammy. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!