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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Getty Images Theron wore a similar style back in 2013: Getty Images This short, blonde pixie is equal parts whimsical and effortless. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Charlize Theron Ditched Her Bowl Cut for a Bright Blonde Pixie," 11 Nov. 2019 Her whimsical and playful use of color and texture was the fabrication for the season. Ashley Rushford, Essence, "NYFW: Christian Siriano Spring/Summer 2020 Was Filled With Pops Of Color," 8 Sep. 2019 Thanks, Barbara, for such a whimsical and creative display. cleveland.com, "Summer comes alive through cardboard and paper: Olmsted Dates and Data," 23 Aug. 2019 Her look on this day speaks to both her design aesthetic and career arc thus far; bold, colorful, whimsical and with a connection to Kanye West. Melissa Magsaysay, chicagotribune.com, "Meet Chicago native Maisie Schloss, the first designer in Kanye West’s incubator program," 14 Aug. 2019 The spellbinding beauty sported long purple locs in a recent post, and her whimsical tresses have us in a trance. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "We Can't Stop Staring At Lizzo's New Hair," 17 Sep. 2019 The Kinney’s pool is heated year-round and features whimsical water toys. Jessica Yadegaran, The Mercury News, "Central Coast Inn-Escapable: 3 beautiful SLO County hotels," 15 Sep. 2019 Miguel is brought to life in a whimsical style inspired by Mexican Folk art. Advertorial, Orange County Register, "Tips From Disney Expert: 13 ‘Spooktacular’ Photo Moments During Halloween Time," 15 Sep. 2019 Choose one or choose them all, from Dorothy and Blanche to Rose and Sophia, watch as a whimsical mane of greenery covers the head of your favorite 6151 Richmond Street residents—no visit to the beauty salon required. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "It’s Settled: Everyone on Our Christmas List Is Getting a Golden Girls Chia Pet," 12 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of whimsical

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for whimsical

whimsy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about whimsical

Time Traveler for whimsical

Time Traveler

The first known use of whimsical was in 1653

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about whimsical

Statistics for whimsical

Last Updated

22 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Whimsical.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whimsical?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=w&file=whimsi01. Accessed 22 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for whimsical

whimsical

adjective
How to pronounce whimsical (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on whimsical

What made you want to look up whimsical? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not agreeing with established beliefs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!