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

On arrival, guests are offered licorice and burdock root Skin Tea from local company Masha Tea, before settling into the whimsical waiting area designed by Vincent Martinelli of Spatial Relations. Prue Lewington, Harper's BAZAAR, "Women Are Giving Up Botox for Facial Massage," 23 May 2019 If you’re drawn to that kind of bright, whimsical art, McKenzie’s (whose artist alias is Mac Blackout) one night show this Saturday at Uncle Art Gallery is a must-see. Morgan Smith, chicagotribune.com, "Mac Blackout brings street art with a flair to Uncle Art Gallery," 13 July 2018 This wacky and whimsical approach to design is a complete fantasy; it’s purpose is to engage and inspire but also to tap into our psyche. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "Behold the Campiest Rooms of All Time," 7 May 2019 Zac designed this bustier to be angelic and whimsical. Glamour, "Nina Dobrev's Met Gala 2019 Look Was 3D-Printed to Her Exact Measurements," 7 May 2019 From a beauty standpoint, makeup artist Sheika Daley kept it sweet and simple, yet still fun and whimsical with a layer of sky-blue shadow by Lancôme swept across her lids and subtly traced along her lower lashline to match her blue gown. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Zendaya Is Literally — Literally — Cinderella at the 2019 Met Gala," 7 May 2019 And yet, for a certain kind of red carpet regular, the Met Gala is less about perfecting a signature look than an opportunity to walk the line between whimsical and dramatic. Sophie Schulte-hillen, Vogue, "The 24 Best Met Gala Beauty Looks of All Time," 22 Apr. 2019 Paul Flato’s bold and whimsical American designs defied the hierarchy and disrupted tastes. Stellene Volandes, Town & Country, "T&C Exclusive: The New Owner of an Iconic American Jewel is Revealed," 15 Apr. 2019 The campaign, shot by Cepis, shows Brosnahan in bold, playful, and colorful looks, emulating Spade's whimsical and chic personal style, while sporting bags, shoes, and jewelry from the Frances Valentine Spring 2019 collection. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rachel Brosnahan, Kate Spade's Niece, Stars in a New Campaign Honoring the Late Designer," 30 Jan. 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

7 Jun 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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