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