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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

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 Mar. 2023.

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