whip·​lash | \ ˈ(h)wip-ˌlash How to pronounce whiplash (audio) \

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 In Foxx’s case, the philosophical distinctions are whiplash-inducing. Steven Higashide, The New Republic, "Uber and Lyft Are Charging Through Washington’s Revolving Door," 25 Sep. 2020 But in the whiplash 24 hours that followed Blake’s shooting, the most outspoken response came from the inside. Jason Parham, Wired, "The NBA Bubble Was a Success Because It Failed," 2 Oct. 2020 Rulings on those lawsuits have created whiplash — with contradictory rulings — sometimes in the same week. Nic Garcia, Dallas News, "Community activists concerned whether Dallas County is ready for 2020 election," 2 Oct. 2020 A few days earlier, many around the Big Ten had whiplash after reading a Centre Daily Times article. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "As Ohio State awaits Big Ten progress, is bureaucracy the real enemy? College football Monday Madness," 7 Sep. 2020 School district officials across the state have spent the summer cobbling together reopening plans amid what some superintendents and parents describe as a whiplash-inducing series of changes handed down from the Oregon Department of Education. oregonlive, "Reopening Oregon schools will require stepped-up compliance or more coronavirus restrictions, governor warns," 22 Aug. 2020 But, by April, the S&P 500 had already rebounded 20% off its lows, putting it on track for a new bull market and risking whiplash for investors. Anneken Tappe, CNN, "The stock market is this close to setting another record -- the shortest bear market in history," 11 Aug. 2020 Families who endured their spouses and relatives’ hospital stays recounted a whiplash of hopes and disappointments. New York Times, "With Flags, Crosses and Photos, Mourning 200,000 Dead," 20 Sep. 2020 Phoenix keeps setting triple-digit heat records, while Colorado went through a weather whiplash of 90-degree heat to snow this week. Seth Borenstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Think 2020′s natural disasters are wild? Experts expect to see worse in the future," 10 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for whiplash

Time Traveler

The first known use of whiplash was circa 1580

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Statistics for whiplash

Last Updated

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whiplash.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whiplash. Accessed 23 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for whiplash


How to pronounce whiplash (audio)

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)

More from Merriam-Webster on whiplash

Nglish: Translation of whiplash for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about whiplash

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