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whin·​ing ˈ(h)wī-niŋ How to pronounce whining (audio)
: producing or emitting a prolonged, high-pitched sound : producing a whine
a whining howl
… a coil of steel spins through a whining mass of machinery the size of a small two-story house.Edward D. Welles
The fresh wind across the big lake blew away the smoke of cooking fires and vanquished the mosquitoes that came out in whining droves …Louise Erdrich
: complaining or inclined to complain in a childish or petulant manner
They [scientists] think that … joyful people outlive their bilious, whining counterparts.Natalie Angier
Brooks plays a whining, middle-aged screenwriter …Leah Rozen
whiningly adverb


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: the act or an instance of producing a prolonged, high-pitched sound (such as a cry of distress or pain)
the whining of a dog
… that night she heard a whining and scratching at her door, and when she opened it the lame puppy, drenched and shivering, jumped up on her with little sobbing barks.Edith Wharton
: the act or activity of complaining in an annoyingly childish or petulant manner
Mom hates whining.Ruth Kelley
… but his public whining ("I'm sick and tired of it") didn't do him much good …Elizabeth Drew
But "people have begun to come out of that—they're tired of the whining," [J. Walker] Smith says.Leslie Miller

Examples of whining in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
When Clark broke Maravich’s record (and in the run-up before), the social-media whining began. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 7 Mar. 2024 At first Zeus resisted, but Cepheus wore him down with all his whining and crying and not being able to take it anymore. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, 11 Feb. 2024 On Wednesday afternoon, police officers responded to an apartment complex in Kingston, about 35 miles south of Boston, after a 911 caller reported hearing a dog whining and other noises, followed by complete silence, coming from a neighboring apartment. Nicole Acosta, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024 But the loud whining of the motor doesn’t sound out of place. WIRED, 6 Sep. 2023 Rear-seat occupants get a wide center armrest, an adjustable backrest, and reading lamps—all of which should keep the whining and fighting to a minimum. Frank Markus, Car and Driver, 31 Aug. 2023 Courtney, former Republican Attorney General Betty Montgomery was a staunch and vocal opponent of issue one, catching some iron from a whining. Staff Reports, cleveland, 10 Aug. 2023 There was fast, percussive guitar strumming; earworm riffs; frenetic drumming; and melodies full of stadium-ready sing-along moments, delivered in a nasal style that flirted with whining and sometimes crossed over into yelling. Peter C. Baker, The New Yorker, 28 July 2023 The unmistakable whining of a mosquito in your ear. Kathryn O'Shea-Evans, Washington Post, 22 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whining.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of whining was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near whining

Cite this Entry

“Whining.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whining. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

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