\ ˈ(h)wim How to pronounce whim (audio) \

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 Tahrir was born of the whim of a vainglorious ruler. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "A Decade On, Silence Fills Egypt’s Field of Broken Dreams," 23 Jan. 2021 Running one outdoors adds the whim of the weather, and the mechanics of umbrellas, heaters and fans. Ian Mcnulty, NOLA.com, "Lakeview sushi bar Lotus Bistro goes all outdoors to keep a family legacy rolling," 13 Jan. 2021 Until then, a company hit by an antitrust suit was at the whim of a judge who may or may not buy into whatever theory of competition the plaintiff or defendant presents. Fortune, "The Facebook and Google antitrust suits are a warning shot for all corporate giants—not just Big Tech," 10 Dec. 2020 But, in contrast to the southern United States, where enslaved people knew no other law besides the whim of their owners, laborers in Mexico enjoyed a number of legal protections. Alice Baumgartner, The New Yorker, "When the Enslaved Went South," 19 Nov. 2020 Indeed, over the decades it’s been moved around at the whim of presidents and Congress. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: To save lives, let’s postpone Thanksgiving," 18 Nov. 2020 Created in 1789 with six justices, the court has veered from five to 10 at the whim of presidents and Congresses. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Pack the court? Battles between Republicans and Democrats fuel clash over Supreme Court's future," 25 Oct. 2020 The firefighters operate at the whim of incident commanders, who can recall them to the line at any time. Bruce Selcraig, ExpressNews.com, "Back from California’s hellscape, San Antonio area firefighters recall hard fight," 3 Oct. 2020 Also, exactly no one believes that Heather just drove up to the resort in a minivan one day on a whim. Martha Sorren, refinery29.com, "It’s Not Just You: Heather Martin’s Late Bachelor Entrance Was Beyond Uncomfortable," 8 Feb. 2021

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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Statistics for whim

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Whim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whim. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for whim



English Language Learners Definition of whim

: a sudden wish, desire, decision, etc.


\ ˈhwim How to pronounce whim (audio) , 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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whim

Nglish: Translation of whim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whim for Arabic Speakers

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