whip·​lash | \ ˈhwip-ˌlash How to pronounce whiplash (audio) , ˈwip-\

Definition of whiplash

1 : the lash of a whip
2 : something resembling a blow from a whip the whiplash of fear— R. S. Banay
3 : injury resulting from a sudden sharp whipping movement of the neck and head (as of a person in a vehicle that is struck from the rear by another vehicle)

Examples of whiplash in a Sentence

He got whiplash when his car was rear-ended.

Recent Examples on the Web

The overlapping schedules has given U.S. soccer fans whiplash. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "World Cup or Gold Cup? U.S. Soccer Fans Have to Pick a Lane," 19 June 2019 But sometimes the narrative shifts can give you whiplash. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "DeMarcus Cousins and Narrative Whiplash in the N.B.A. Finals," 6 June 2019 The whiplash effect has become so pronounced that even the slightest suggestion of good news from China later in the week sent markets on an upswing. CNN, "US-China trade war shows no sign of ending as new tariffs arrive," 30 Aug. 2019 Markets were recovering from a whiplash weekend, as investors attempted to follow the trajectory of the monthslong trade war between the world's two largest economies. NBC News, "Markets soar after Trump says China wants to talk about trade," 26 Aug. 2019 Dealing with Warren’s renegotiation demands after Trump’s is likely to generate whiplash among our trading partners, but very few concessions. Daniel W. Drezner, Twin Cities, "Daniel Drezner: The weak defenses of Elizabeth Warren’s trade plan," 15 Aug. 2019 In an era of whiplash politics, California vs. Trump has become one of the most consistent political narratives of the past 2-1/2 years, as the state has filed lawsuit after lawsuit against the administration. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: The state of California vs. Trump, again," 14 Aug. 2019 Reading Knox’s letters to Lock alongside his other writings is a whiplash experience. Jamie Quatro, The New Yorker, "The Hidden Life of a Forgotten Sixteenth-Century Female Poet," 5 Aug. 2019 The last season of the sci-fi drama was whiplash-inducing, and season three promises to be even more of a brain-bender. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, "The 10 Things We're Most Excited to See at Comic-Con," 16 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whiplash.' 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 whiplash

circa 1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for whiplash

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for whiplash

The first known use of whiplash was circa 1580

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More Definitions for whiplash



English Language Learners Definition of whiplash

: an injury to the neck that is caused by a sudden backward movement of the head


whip·​lash | \ ˈhwip-ˌlash, ˈwip- How to pronounce whiplash (audio) \

Medical Definition of whiplash

: injury resulting from a sudden sharp whipping movement of the neck and head (as of a person in a vehicle that is struck head-on or from the rear by another vehicle)

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More from Merriam-Webster on whiplash

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whiplash

Spanish Central: Translation of whiplash

Nglish: Translation of whiplash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about whiplash

Comments on whiplash

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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