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

Other political efforts dovetailed with his art, which veered from grand 80-foot-long sculptures to whimsical hand puppets and felt hats. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Francisco Toledo, Mexican artist and activist known as ‘El Maestro,’ dies at 79," 8 Sep. 2019 Turn the top pumpkin on its side to use the stem as a nose, then carve a whimsical face or draw one on with black marker. Megan Fulweiler, Woman's Day, "Snowman Pumpkin," 5 Sep. 2019 Summer brought us inspiration for pretty ponytails, amazing afros, and whimsical colored wigs equipped with realistic hairlines and baby hair — my favorite detail. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "La La Anthony Went Blond And We Love It," 4 Sep. 2019 The whimsical dessert spot opened its first location in Chinatown at 6838 Ranchester in 2017 and is constantly promoting new creative ice cream concepts, such as Hot Cheetos ice cream, durian ice cream and even crawfish ice cream. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Red Circle Ice Cream is bringing its whimsical looped-churro desserts to Pearland and Sugar Land," 3 Sep. 2019 The whimsical image offers a timeless view of summertime. Kristen Mcnicholas, National Geographic, "Your best photos of the week, August 23, 2019," 23 Aug. 2019 The new North End, which last year was a parking lot near the campground, now has specialty merchants, whimsical statues, a new food hangout and a new $16 million events center for rotating exhibits. Kathy Berdan, Twin Cities, "North End brings a new look, new events center and Angry Birds to Minnesota State Fair," 21 Aug. 2019 Her lyrics run the gamut from the heavy to whimsical. Dallas News, "If Dallas vocalist Jazzmeia Horn is the new star of jazz, then why is her career such a struggle?," 16 Aug. 2019 There’s a certain whimsical quality to English ivy. Kelly Dawson, House Beautiful, "How to Grow English Ivy, According to a Professional “Plant Mom”," 14 Aug. 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

13 Sep 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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