whimsical

adjective
whim·​si·​cal | \ ˈhwim-zi-kəl How to pronounce whimsical (audio) , ˈwim-\

Definition of whimsical

1a : resulting from or characterized by whim or caprice especially : lightly fanciful whimsical decorations
b : subject to erratic behavior or unpredictable change
2 : full of, actuated by, or exhibiting whims

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Other Words from whimsical

whimsicality \ ˌhwim-​zə-​ˈka-​lə-​tē How to pronounce whimsicality (audio) , ˌwim-​ \ noun
whimsically \ ˈhwim-​zi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce whimsically (audio) , ˈwim-​ \ adverb
whimsicalness \ ˈhwim-​zi-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce whimsicalness (audio) , ˈwim-​ \ noun

Synonyms for whimsical

Synonyms

capricious, freakish, impulsive

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Trace Whimsical Back to the 16th Century

As you may have guessed, the words whimsical, whim, and whimsy are related. All three ultimately derive from the word whim-wham ("a whimsical object" or "a whim"), which is of unknown origin and dates to at least 1500. Whimsy was the first of the three to spin off from whim-wham, debuting in print in 1605. English speakers then added the adjective suffix -ical to whimsy to create whimsical, dating from 1653. Whim, which came about as a shortened version of whim-wham, appeared as early as 1641 in a sense that is now obsolete, but its current sense of "a sudden wish, desire, or change of mind" didn't appear in print until 1686.

Examples of whimsical in a Sentence

You can practically taste the tropics in these whimsical doughnuts. Ripe bananas, toasted coconut and your favorite rum transform traditional doughnuts into paradisiacal ones. — Janice Wald Henderson, Chocolatier, March 2001 Unlike the broad slapstick humor of Musical Mose and other early Herriman strips, Krazy Kat was gentle, fey, and whimsical. — Jeet Heer, Lingua Franca, September 2001 In the whimsical linguistics of theoretical physics, the "naked" electron is an imaginary object cut off from the influences of the field, whereas a "dressed" electron carries the imprint of the universe, but it is all buried in extremely tiny modifications to its bare properties. — Leon Lederman et al., The God Particle, 1993 She has a whimsical sense of humor. it's hard to make plans with such a whimsical best friend
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Recent Examples on the Web

About 127,000 people follow Mariah under her alias GirlKnewYork on Instagram not only to see her latest whimsical body-art creations but to also pick up skin-care tips. Devon Abelman, Allure, "Famed Tattoo Artist Mira Mariah Finds Power in Her Extensive Beauty Routine," 30 Apr. 2019 As soon as its minimalist packaging and whimsical names crossed my feed, I was sold. Glamour, "Herbivore’s Prism Glow Potion Gives You Radiant Skin Like None Other," 29 Mar. 2019 Walking in doesn’t feel like entering a serious, stately institution; the silver and cream palate and the Art Deco flourishes are light and bright and a little bit whimsical. Laura Goulden, Condé Nast Traveler, "34 Best Hotels in London," 26 Feb. 2018 Martha's 'secondary residence'—tells an urban story, centered around a whimsical use of color and texture that feels glamorous yet welcoming. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "You Can Now Live Like Martha Stewart With Her New Lifestyle Lines," 21 Mar. 2019 MacLure’s more whimsical work has been showcased in juried exhibitions, and some has won critical acclaim. Washington Post, "‘Shouting into the void’: Miscarriages color mom-to-be’s art," 11 May 2018 Warm-hued lights and whimsical tablescapes welcomed guests to the Lower East Side’s coziest spot, Contra. Eliseé Browchuk, Vogue, "Welcome to New York! Europe’s Most Promising Designers Gathered for a MatchesFashion.com-Hosted Dinner," 5 Apr. 2019 Call it a whimsical break from all the delightfully creepy looks Lupita Nyong’o has been recently sporting. Wendy Sy, Allure, "Lupita Nyong'o Wore a "'Fro Bow," and It Might Be Our Favorite Hairstyle From Her Yet," 20 Mar. 2019 Think rich pigments, evocative brushstrokes, and a whimsical elegance. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "Interior Designers Predict the Next Major Wallpaper Trends," 12 Mar. 2019

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

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for whimsical

whimsy

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Dictionary Entries near whimsical

whim gin

whimper

whimperingly

whimsical

whimsied

whimsy

whimsy-whamsy

Statistics for whimsical

Last Updated

10 May 2019

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Time Traveler for whimsical

The first known use of whimsical was in 1653

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More Definitions for whimsical

whimsical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of whimsical

: unusual in a playful or amusing way : not serious

whimsical

adjective
whim·​si·​cal | \ ˈhwim-zi-kəl How to pronounce whimsical (audio) , ˈwim-\

Kids Definition of whimsical

1 : full of whims
2 : unusual in a playful or amusing way a whimsical tale of youth

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More from Merriam-Webster on whimsical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whimsical

Spanish Central: Translation of whimsical

Nglish: Translation of whimsical for Spanish Speakers

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