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

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 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 One of the great joys of covering and watching Serena for more than 20 years is knowing that this extraordinary tennis player also is a real person: fascinating, funny, whimsical. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Searching for why Serena Williams can't win a Grand Slam," 7 Sep. 2019 Stopped in front of Young’s most iconic home — the one on the corner of Clinton and Grant streets — Pair’s Mushroom House Tours passengers were struck by its whimsical design. Jay Jones, chicagotribune.com, "Michigan town famous for ‘gnome houses’ — which occasionally go up for sale — will honor the architect with the renovated Hotel Earl," 13 Aug. 2019 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

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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Statistics for whimsical

Last Updated

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for whimsical

The first known use of whimsical was in 1653

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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

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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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