\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

But these jobs are inherently unpredictable, as housekeepers deal with people’s whims and habits and moods. Juliana Feliciano Reyes, Philly.com, "Hotel housekeeping on demand: Marriott cleaners say this app makes their job harder," 2 July 2018 The approach was characteristic for a man who has planned presidential trips and catered to the whims and demands of every Republican president since Ronald Reagan. Jeremy Diamond And Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Trump's man with the Singapore plan: Joe Hagin," 3 June 2018 To act as though these women have casually chosen to abort that child on a whim is an unforgivable insult to every woman who has had to make that awful choice. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Anti-Abortion Activists Are Still Defending Forced Birth with Debunked Science," 26 Jan. 2019 Social media is a firehouse of information and leave readers and outlets alike at the whim of algorithms. Emily Dreyfuss, WIRED, "Judd Legum Wants to Fix News With a Newsletter," 12 July 2018 Unlike Indian states, Delhi cannot run its own civil service: the city’s administrators are appointed, transferred or sacked at the whim of the (national) home ministry. The Economist, "India’s national government and the city of Delhi are feuding," 21 June 2018 Yet Washington’s bureaucratic machinery whirred into action nonetheless – working to produce a policy that could be seen as supporting Trump’s whim. Philip Rucker, The Seattle Times, "Officials scramble to make Trump’s false assertions real," 23 Oct. 2018 And the most devoted don’t just wear the Weagle on shirts and caps that can be taken off at a whim when the team loses. Theresa Vargas, Washington Post, "I wanted to be in on #ALLCAPS mania, but I needed a fan’s help," 7 June 2018 Gordon designed many of the rooms to transform into two-walled spaces by installing stunning glass walls that open on a whim's notice. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "A Glass House In Venice Beach Brings Outdoor Living Inside," 17 May 2016

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.

See More

First Known Use of whim

1686, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for whim

short for whim-wham

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about whim

Dictionary Entries near whim






whim gin


Statistics for whim

Last Updated

11 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whim

The first known use of whim was in 1686

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt-painting-a-young-scholar-and-his-tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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