whim·​si·​cal | \ ˈ(h)wim-zi-kəl How to pronounce whimsical (audio) \

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 \ ˌ(h)wim-​zə-​ˈka-​lə-​tē How to pronounce whimsicality (audio) \ noun
whimsically \ ˈ(h)wim-​zi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce whimsically (audio) \ adverb
whimsicalness \ ˈ(h)wim-​zi-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce whimsicalness (audio) \ noun

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 Though whimsical on its surface, Bernstein’s score is monumental in its poignancy, something befitting such a classic film. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "40 greatest film scores of all time," 6 Sep. 2020 Add this whimsical sheet set to your repertoire — now 60% off — that includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet and two standard pillowcases. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "Shop Labor Day deals at Macy’s for the kitchen, bedroom, bath and closet," 5 Sep. 2020 The lauded chef is shaking off the cobwebs from nearly six months of restaurant dormancy with a new whimsical offering that matches the retro vibe of her year-old American diner, Karl's, located inside The Siren Hotel downtown. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit chef Kate Williams is selling TV dinners out of the Siren Hotel," 4 Sep. 2020 The Good American founder has shared several pictures from her family beach vacation since mid-August, including a whimsical shot of Kardashian and True riding on horseback with amid the sunset. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "Khloé Kardashian Shares Sweet Picture with Daughter True, 2, from Beach Vacation," 2 Sep. 2020 This whimsical pillow combines the allures of both. Alexandra Cavallo, USA TODAY, "23 throw pillows to make your couch more comfortable—and fun," 1 Sep. 2020 Contents: Books share space with comfortable seating, a window diorama, whimsical vending machines and more. oregonlive, "The ultimate Portland bookstore guide: 30 booksellers every reader should know about," 28 Aug. 2020 Its gorgeous leaves, which develop holes that give it its whimsical name, may grow up to three feet wide! Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, "How to Take Care of Monstera Deliciosa, the Swiss Cheese Plant," 20 Aug. 2020 Don’t get out of the tub to grab a drink; float it on this whimsical pineapple tray. Dana Holmes, CNN Underscored, "Inflatable hot tubs that bring the spa to your backyard," 26 Aug. 2020

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


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Time Traveler for whimsical

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The first known use of whimsical was in 1653

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Last Updated

10 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whimsical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whimsical. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for whimsical


How to pronounce whimsical (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of whimsical

: unusual in a playful or amusing way : not serious


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

More from Merriam-Webster on whimsical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whimsical

Nglish: Translation of whimsical for Spanish Speakers

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