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

CatwalkingGetty Images Prada's sister label Miu Miu is known for its fun and often whimsical approach to dressing up. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Miu Miu's Fall '19 Show Is Almost Here, and You Can Stream It Live," 5 Mar. 2019 Any Hollywood movie buff can spot a Wes Anderson film set within a few frames—its distinctive color palettes, precise use of symmetry, whimsical decor, and overall nostalgic quality of each individual piece are a given in the director's films. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This Wes Anderson-Themed Airbnb Will Transport You Right to Moonrise Kingdom," 20 Feb. 2019 On Friday, Holmes took to Instagram to share a downright dreamy video of herself, spinning and generally being a whimsical, wonderful human, during a snow storm. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Katie Holmes Shares the Most Gorgeous Slow-Motion Video of Herself in a Snow Storm," 16 Feb. 2019 The dancey, body roll-inducing tune is complete with a whimsical-yet-contemporary aesthetic as the members fall into dream-like scenarios. Devon Abelman, Allure, "See K-Pop Group GOT7's Best Hair and Makeup Looks from the New "Lullaby" Music Video," 17 Sep. 2018 Along with this appearance of a treasured supermodel, Valentino delivered dramatic silhouettes, bold colors, and whimsical florals with its couture show today. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Naomi Campbell, Living Legend, Closes the Valentino Couture Show," 23 Jan. 2019 This formula helped ground whimsical designs, striking the perfect balance of color, style, pattern, and texture. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "An Uninspired NYC Apartment Is Revived With Color, Charisma, and Customization," 17 Jan. 2019 The sequel to the beloved 1964 original has been celebrated for its whimsical soundtrack, all-star cast, and impressive use of CGI. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "This 'Mary Poppins Returns' Behind-the-Scenes Secret Has Everyone Freaking Out," 15 Jan. 2019 Treehouse architecture is both fascinating and whimsical, a harkening to the joys and nostalgia of childhood. Megan Barber, Curbed, "You can buy this tiny treehouse shaped like a pinecone," 11 Dec. 2018

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

15 Mar 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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