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

Synonyms for whimsical

Synonyms

capricious, freakish, impulsive

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Naveen Andrews will star in the whimsical dramedy The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, based on the 2013 best-selling novel by Gabrielle Zevin, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, "Naveen Andrews to Star in Romantic Dramedy 'The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry' (Exclusive)," 16 July 2019 Amid the rather pedestrian names of the Plainfields, Carmels and Greenwoods of our fair state are whimsical names born of folklore, humor or tribute to a hero. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana's quirky place names and how they came to be," 15 July 2019 Other amenities include a karaoke room, whimsical library with book ladders, event space, co-working space, bike storage, pet area and yoga studio. San Diego Union-Tribune, "One of San Diego’s most expensive apartment complexes opens," 13 July 2019 The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art now manages both of those monuments, along with Smither Park, a sprawling landscape of winding paths and whimsical mosaics created by 300 local artists, and Houston’s annual Art Car Parade. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "The epic tale of the House of the Century, the trippy Texas icon that defies polite description," 12 July 2019 This whimsical fairy castle rises from a bed of clovers, thyme, violets, and maidenhair ferns in the back garden, one of three small castles on the mountain. Zoe Greenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Making medicine on the mountain," 10 July 2019 In addition to the whimsical topiary figures, the nearly one-acre gated site has a swimming pool with a waterfall and brook, an outdoor kitchen and an art studio. Neal J. Leitereg And Lauren Beale, latimes.com, "Hot Property Newsletter: La crème de la crème," 6 July 2019 In its defense, the brand does offer an appealing collection of home decor, including colorful, whimsical furniture and collaborations with independent artists and designers. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "We Asked What Home Decor Stores People Would Live in, and the Responses Are Amazing," 3 July 2019 Helmet turtle: Let this whimsical reptile with a bobbing head relax near your front door or in your garden. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Colorful, whimsical or classic, yard art can enhance your garden’s overall appeal," 3 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.

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

Listen to Our Podcast about whimsical

Dictionary Entries near whimsical

whim gin

whimper

whimperingly

whimsical

whimsied

whimsy

whimsy-whamsy

Statistics for whimsical

Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whimsical

The first known use of whimsical was in 1653

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!