\ ˈhwim How to pronounce whim (audio) , 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

Others fret that the princes themselves are part of the problem—that tens of billions of dollars should not change hands on a royal whim. The Economist, "Gulf states are becoming more adventurous investors," 14 June 2019 On a moment’s whim, though, Thompson walked back to the court on his own and sank two foul shots. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Klay Thompson appears to suffer an injury only to stay in game," 13 June 2019 Conventional wisdom dictates that a reserve currency has to be freely floating, allowing its value to be determined by market forces and not by government policy, which could change on a whim and not in line with trading fundamentals. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump want a weaker US dollar. That could backfire," 6 June 2019 The Greek ferry line, in other words, is one that forms and reforms at individual whim, creating small communities—islands in every sense—that then turn out to belong to a larger whole. Adam Gopnik, Town & Country, "My First Visit to the Greek Islands Turned Out to Be a Journey Home," 20 May 2019 If, like many people who live in the rural West, the whim of the federal government would force them to move on. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter Four: The Gospel of Bundy," 18 May 2018 Both draw on dark early punk, new wave, goth and synth-pop, comparable to the moody whims of Joy Division, Depeche Mode, the Cure and Interpol – not a sound that Charlotte gets to enjoy live often. Courtney Devores, charlotteobserver, "Hot Concerts," 14 Feb. 2018 But here's the problem: judges should not be fired because of the whims of voters. Jill Filipovic, Cosmopolitan, "The Brock Turner Judge Shouldn't Lose His Job Over His Shameful Decision," 5 Feb. 2018 Future earnings are at the whim of management, growth depends on the economy and industry trends, and the discount rate is based on inflation and that fuzzy thing called risk. Andy Kessler, WSJ, "Stock Picking Is Like Time Travel," 13 Jan. 2019

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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Dictionary Entries near whim






whim gin


Statistics for whim

Last Updated

17 Jun 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 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

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).


to take the place or position of

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