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

The stories are whimsical, but also sometimes gruesome—people making sausage out of humans, detailed descriptions of corpses, that sort of thing. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark," 23 Aug. 2019 Her distinctive personal style is whimsical, expressing the vibrant spirit of her curious mind. Shirley Macfarland, cleveland.com, "Councilman Langshaw hosts annual picnic to benefit local resident Joe Keider: Talk of the Towns," 2 Aug. 2019 Some were practical, like how to get better cell phone reception, while others were whimsical, like building a raft from rice cakes. Washington Post, "Popular YouTube ‘King of Random’ dies in paraglider accident," 31 July 2019 The interview was strange, too, whimsical and then unexpectedly cutting. Mary Gaitskill, The New Yorker, "This Is Pleasure," 8 July 2019 Some were whimsical and artistic, others sparsely utilitarian. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Tiny homes as affordable and alternative housing gain in popularity. Colorado is at forefront of the movement.," 5 July 2019 That seems to be the chief complaint about Renoir these days: that his works are too saccharine, too generically whimsical, the nudes too fleshy and unable or unwilling to express anything other than their own sensuality. Dan Singer, Dallas News, "Hatred for Renoir's art is reaching all-time levels. Is it really justified?," 28 June 2019 Idea #3: Maximize your space with whimsical maze-like shapes. Sarah Bray, House Beautiful, "10 Breathtaking Gardens," 12 May 2014 Contributions range from the whimsical to the practical. R.d.v., The Economist, "Why does anyone care what famous artists ate?," 6 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.

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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

11 Oct 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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