\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

More than that, Ms. van Grouw makes the case that such selection is evolution in real time, albeit turbo-boosted and whim-driven. Julie Zickefoose, WSJ, "‘Unnatural Selection’ Review: A Better Bird, Bit by Bit," 22 Nov. 2018 Overdraft fees, minimum account balances and banking fees are determined on an individual basis—in fact, the fees that these banks charge may be totally dependent on the whim of the bank employee the customer talks to when opening an account. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Your Bank Is a White Supremacist," 22 June 2018 Rubiales, from another point of view, can be seen as standing up for decency against the whims of the superclubs. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Spain Couldn't Look Beyond Lopetegui's Selfish Act in Firing Coach on Eve of World Cup," 13 June 2018 Christina Tung took up crafting—the longtime fashion publicist recalled saving beads as a child and, struck by a whim, got to wrapping a few from her collection in gold wire. Monica Kim, Vogue, "SVNR’s Colorful Keepsake Earrings Turn Forgotten Objects Into Chic Mementos," 13 July 2018 Our current president, however, (reportedly) accepted Kim Jong-un’s invitation on a whim, and without setting any significant preconditions. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "U.S. Scraps Military Exercise to Appease North Korea," 18 May 2018 It must be said that we are led by a man known to make decisions on a whim, not after exhaustive contemplation, a man who is under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and whose lawyer’s office was raided by the FBI on Monday. The Observer Editorial Board, charlotteobserver, "Don't leave Syria in the hands of Trump alone | Charlotte Observer," 11 Apr. 2018 His songs and albums are released seemingly on a whim, sometimes weeks or years apart. Matt Miller, Esquire, "Does Frank Ocean Have a New Album to Release in 2018?," 3 Jan. 2018 Apart from facilitating relationship-severing fights over the whims of distant politicians, social media is also great for helping us keep track of each other’s birthdays, which is great. Michael Andor Brodeur, BostonGlobe.com, "5 (pretty easy) steps to improve civility online," 6 July 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

2 Dec 2018

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).


living or existing for a long time

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