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

An Osteria Francescana alum specializes in handmade stuffed pastas and whimsical, photogenic desserts. Jessica Henderson, The New Yorker, "Rezdôra Brings Northern Italy to New York City," 9 Aug. 2019 Elsewhere in the apartment, a dressing area (formerly a second bedroom) is now anchored by a whimsical mural by Hilary Knight, the artist who illustrated the Eloise books. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "Tour Anna Sui’s Stunning Greenwich Village Apartment," 7 Aug. 2019 And from DeMarco, Salad Days, the title song, sounds like a whimsical Donovan song. Mike Oliver | Moliver@al.com, al, "My Vinyl Countdown gets a sweet tooth looking at the No. 1 song in 1969," 4 Aug. 2019 Finally, the glamorous pool terrace has one whimsical detail to remind you this is Hollywood. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, "Home near Cranbrook's art objects is filled with space and glamour," 3 Aug. 2019 Chang said kids love the whimsical penguin sculpture at the Northwestern Mutual Campus on 720 E. Wisconsin Ave. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Downtown Milwaukee is more than just buildings and museums. Here's where your kids can play outside.," 26 July 2019 Released 12 days before the decade ended, the whimsical tale of Chance (Peter Sellers) -- a simple-minded gardener who stumbles into national politics -- works brilliantly on most every level, not the least as a cautionary tale 40 years later. Brian Lowry, CNN, "Essential movies of the 1970s from 'Jaws' to 'Being There'," 25 July 2019 Truly whimsical were brightly colored mushrooms that had been cleverly handmade by Deputy Eric Matejka of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station. Jane Napier Neely, La Cañada Valley Sun, "The Valley Line: Walkers, chickens and a turtle host Kiwanis party," 23 July 2019 Over the last 15 years he's created whimsical scenes including a blue moon, a sparkling sea of CDs, and even lollipops of light. CBS News, "American Wonders: California's glowing "Field of Light"," 23 July 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

16 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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