whimsical

adjective
whim·​si·​cal | \ ˈhwim-zi-kəl, 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 , ˌwim-​ \ noun
whimsically \ ˈhwim-​zi-​k(ə-​)lē , ˈwim-​ \ adverb
whimsicalness \ ˈhwim-​zi-​kəl-​nəs , 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

Essentially miniature greenhouses, these glass containers filled with florals make a whimsical addition to any home. Taysha Murtaugh, Country Living, "20 Best Terrarium Plants for Every Type of Home," 4 Jan. 2019 Clicking on each country takes you to a country specific page, complete with interactive graphs that feel just a touch too whimsical for disclosing government wiretap subpoenas. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Apple’s latest government transparency report came with a slick new website," 21 Dec. 2018 Some designs are distinctly modern, others more whimsical. Alison Roman, The Seattle Times, "‘We are all connected by cookies’: A tribe with a bond stronger than royal icing," 12 Dec. 2018 The series, which originally aired on the UK’s Channel 4 and is based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novel of the same name, is pitch-black fun, and a twisted romance that’s both whimsical and violent. Pilot Viruet, The Verge, "The 12 best overlooked TV shows of 2018," 14 Dec. 2018 Her designs are less whimsical and more technically driven. Alison Roman, The Seattle Times, "‘We are all connected by cookies’: A tribe with a bond stronger than royal icing," 12 Dec. 2018 Its release has sparked some of the same whimsical and spontaneous creativity that made the early Internet so much fun. Morgen Peck, Glamour, "Cryptocurrency Is Not Just a Boys' Club," 11 Dec. 2018 Using blocks of stone, lumps of clay, glass, scrap metal, and found objects, members of the New England Sculptors Association showcase their whimsical and complex works in the woods and walking areas of Fuller Craft Museum’s 22-acre grounds. Robert Knox, BostonGlobe.com, "Art center presents 63d annual fest in Cohasset," 8 June 2018 The book is simultaneously whimsical and blunt, like Ms. Rossellini herself, who discusses her roller coaster career with uncommon candor. New York Times, "Down on the Farm With Isabella Rossellini," 10 May 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

18 Jan 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, 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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