whim·​si·​cal ˈ(h)wim-zi-kəl How to pronounce whimsical (audio)
: resulting from or characterized by whim or caprice
especially : lightly fanciful
whimsical decorations
: subject to erratic behavior or unpredictable change
: full of, actuated by, or exhibiting whims
whimsicality noun
whimsically adverb
whimsicalness noun

Did you know?

Trace Whimsical Back to the 16th Century

Even the origin of whimsical is whimsical: its ultimate source (by way of the noun whimsy) is the now-obscure whim-wham, a noun from the early 16th century that first referred to an ornamental object or trinket, and later to an eccentric impulse or interest—that is, to what in modern terms can be called a whim. The origin of whim-wham isn’t clear, but it’s among a class of words known as reduplications, words that are formed by repeating a word, as in go-go, or by adding to a word one that sounds very similar to it, as in dillydally. (In the case of whim-wham, the original duplicated term has been lost to time.) While whimsical first described those who tend toward whimsy, it now commonly describes things that are unusual in a playful or amusing way, as in “charmed by the book’s whimsical illustrations.”

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
Recent Examples on the Web Notable participants include influential mixed media artist Carlos Betancourt, whimsical designer Pangea Kali Virga, painter Hermes Berrio and ridiculously detailed drawer Gonzalo Fuenmayor. Amanda Rosa, Miami Herald, 8 May 2024 The 2024 Met Gala dialed up the whimsical fabulosity for the first Monday in May, and some of our favorite Black celebrities who attended the prestigious event were able to get ready in the gorgeous Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, ahead of the festivities. Dominique Fluker, Essence, 8 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for whimsical 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whimsical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of whimsical was in 1653


Dictionary Entries Near whimsical

Cite this Entry

“Whimsical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whimsical. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


whim·​si·​cal ˈhwim-zi-kəl How to pronounce whimsical (audio)
: full of whims : capricious
a whimsical person always going off somewhere
: resulting from or marked by whim
especially : lightly peculiar
whimsical outfits
: erratic
whimsical behavior
whimsicality noun
whimsically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on whimsical

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