adjective whim·si·cal \ ˈhwim-zi-kəl , ˈwim- \
|Updated on: 16 Aug 2018

Definition of whimsical

1 a : 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


play \ˌhwim-zə-ˈka-lə-tē, ˌwim-\ noun


play \ˈhwim-zi-k(ə-)lē, ˈwim-\ adverb


play \ˈhwim-zi-kəl-nəs, ˈwim-\ noun

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Examples of whimsical in a Sentence

  1. 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 HendersonChocolatierMarch 2001
  2. Unlike the broad slapstick humor of Musical Mose and other early Herriman strips, Krazy Kat was gentle, fey, and whimsical. —Jeet HeerLingua FrancaSeptember 2001
  3. 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 Particle1993
  4. She has a whimsical sense of humor.

  5. it's hard to make plans with such a whimsical best friend

Recent Examples of whimsical from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of whimsical


WHIMSICAL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of whimsical for English Language Learners

  • : unusual in a playful or amusing way : not serious

WHIMSICAL Defined for Kids


adjective whim·si·cal \ ˈhwim-zi-kəl , ˈwim- \

Definition of whimsical for Students

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

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very hard to disturb or upset

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