\ ˈhwim, ˈwim\

Definition of whim

1 : a capricious or eccentric and often sudden idea or turn of the mind : fancy quit his job on a whim
2 : a large capstan that is made with one or more radiating arms to which a horse may be yoked and that is used in mines for raising ore or water

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Choose the Right Synonym for whim

caprice, whim, vagary, crotchet mean an irrational or unpredictable idea or desire. caprice stresses lack of apparent motivation and suggests willfulness. by sheer caprice she quit her job whim implies a fantastic, capricious turn of mind or inclination. an odd antique that was bought on a whim vagary stresses the erratic, irresponsible character of the notion or desire. he had been prone to strange vagaries crotchet implies an eccentric opinion or preference. a serious scientist equally known for his bizarre crotchets

Examples of whim in a Sentence

It's hard to predict voters' whims. on a whim, we stopped at the roadside stand to get ice cream

Recent Examples on the Web

Crazy Rich Asians portrays a different kind of reality, one where superrich women in Singapore (and elsewhere) pick up new couture gowns every season and buy six-figure earrings on a whim. Emily Farra, Vogue, "The Most Stylish Movies and TV Shows of 2018," 17 Dec. 2018 The old Amazon was bracingly willing to ignore Wall Street’s whims and demands for short-term performance. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "What might be behind the latest twist on Amazon’s HQ2(s)," 6 Nov. 2018 But subjecting the dead to a writer’s whim, taking a few details from a life or an anecdote and using these to pin the dead to common memory like a butterfly on a board? John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Barbara Bush, a great lady of a lost age," 18 Apr. 2018 Lebanon, Jordan and others need assurance that America won’t bend to the whims of the crown prince. Lindsey Graham, WSJ, "Congress Gets Tough on the Saudis," 3 Dec. 2018 Modern planes may be multi-million dollar miracles of engineering able to jet to the other side of the world in a single fuel-up, but their highly technical operations are still vulnerable to the whims of the original masters of the sky: birds. Cynthia Drescher, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Airports Keep Birds Away," 5 Nov. 2018 Dealing with Trump's whims and last-minute changes of mind has proven a strategic nightmare. Author: Griff Witte, James Mcauley, Anchorage Daily News, "European leaders are indignant and defiant over Trump's G-7 statement, but they're not surprised," 10 June 2018 Among East Asian economies, Indonesia could feel the greatest impact of an emerging-markets selloff because Jakarta is more dependent on the whims of international investors, said Gareth Leather, senior Asia economist at Capital Economics. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Indonesia Raises Rates Again as Turkey’s Troubles Pressure Emerging Markets," 15 Aug. 2018 Without Justice Department supervision, Mueller answers only to his own whim. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Rod Rosenstein Is Shirking His Duty to Supervise Robert Mueller," 29 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whim.' 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 whim

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for whim

short for whim-wham

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Learn More about whim

Dictionary Entries near whim






whim gin


Statistics for whim

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whim

The first known use of whim was in 1686

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More Definitions for whim



English Language Learners Definition of whim

: a sudden wish, desire, decision, etc.


\ ˈhwim, ˈwim\

Kids Definition of whim

: a sudden wish or desire : a sudden change of mind

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More from Merriam-Webster on whim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whim

Spanish Central: Translation of whim

Nglish: Translation of whim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whim for Arabic Speakers

Comments on whim

What made you want to look up whim? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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