whistle

noun, often attributive
whis·​tle | \ ˈhwi-səl How to pronounce whistle (audio) , ˈwi-\

Definition of whistle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a small wind instrument in which sound is produced by the forcible passage of breath through a slit in a short tube a police whistle
b : a device through which air or steam is forced into a cavity or against a thin edge to produce a loud sound a factory whistle
2a : a shrill clear sound produced by forcing breath out or air in through the puckered lips
b : the sound produced by a whistle
c : a signal given by or as if by whistling
3 : a sound that resembles a whistle especially : a shrill clear note of or as if of a bird

whistle

verb
whistled; whistling\ ˈhwi-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce whistling (audio) , ˈwi-​ \

Definition of whistle (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to utter a shrill clear sound by blowing or drawing air through the puckered lips
b : to utter a shrill note or call resembling a whistle
c : to make a shrill clear sound especially by rapid movement the wind whistled
d : to blow or sound a whistle
2a : to give a signal or issue an order or summons by or as if by whistling
b : to make a demand without result he did a sloppy job, so he can whistle for his money

transitive verb

1a : to send, bring, signal, or call by or as if by whistling
b : to charge (someone, such as a basketball or hockey player) with an infraction
2 : to produce, utter, or express by whistling whistle a tune
whistle in the dark
: to keep up one's courage by or as if by whistling

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Other Words from whistle

Verb

whistleable \ ˈhwi-​sə-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce whistleable (audio) , ˈwi-​ \ adjective

Examples of whistle in a Sentence

Noun

The policeman blew his whistle. We could hear the train's whistle. We could hear the low whistle of the wind through the trees. the whistle of the tea kettle

Verb

He was whistling as he walked down the street. He whistled for a cab. He whistled a happy tune. The teakettle started to whistle. A bullet whistled past him.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the final whistle and the misery would soon come, with private tears perhaps to follow. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Messi's misery evident as Argentina suffers devastating 3-0 loss to Croatia at World Cup," 21 June 2018 Overjoyed by the win, the crowd invaded the pitch as soon as the final whistle was blown. Bianca Britton, CNN, "Russia World Cup 2018: The start of a new era for Serbian football," 30 Mar. 2018 The sounds were deafening — the thunderous detonations of exploding munitions, the loud staccato bursts of machine gun fire, the shriek of whistles as German chlorine and phosgene gas were unleashed, and the screams of the wounded. Special To The Oregonian, OregonLive.com, "Memorial Day 2018: Remembering two peace-loving Oregon boys who died in France," 28 May 2018 The sound of the final whistle was lost amid the din of City’s celebrations. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Manchester City: The Greatest Team in Premier League History?," 14 May 2018 For three years, during late spring and the summer, Mike Mitchell Jr. had grown accustomed to the sounds of a coach’s whistle, sneakers squeaking, basketballs bouncing and players racing up and down the Antioch Sports Complex court. Terrence Thomas, San Antonio Express-News, "Life without Stars," 11 May 2018 After the echo of the final whistle had evaporated into that heartless night, my boy trudged that long, final walk across the pitch. David Frese, kansascity, "The last graduation, the last game, the last prom. Parents, are you ready for it? | The Kansas City Star," 27 Apr. 2018 Croatia defenders will be forced from the whistle into keeping close tabs on the 19-year-old forward, whose performances in Russia have been likened to Pele. John Leicester, chicagotribune.com, "Five reasons why France will win the World Cup final," 14 July 2018 In 1933, company founder Alfredo Bialetti invented an octagonal coffee pot, known as a moka, which whistles on the stove like a teapot. Tom Fairless, WSJ, "A Tale of Two Companies—and Two Countries," 20 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Ten minutes later, Foonski let out a roar, and then whistled a pine cone over my head in response. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "At summer campsite, cute squirrels can go rogue," 9 July 2018 Bialetti, an Italian maker of whistling coffeepots, closed this plant in Omegna, Italy, and moved production to Romania. Tom Fairless, WSJ, "A Tale of Two Companies—and Two Countries," 20 Jan. 2019 These triggers provoke inflammation, constriction, and excessive mucus production in a person’s airways, which can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, and wheezing (an alarming whistling sound during breathing). Korin Miller, SELF, "7 People Describe What an Asthma Attack Actually Feels Like," 14 Nov. 2018 Source: American Humane Hurricanes The wonder: The drama of crashing surf, whistling winds and swaying trees as tropical storms near the coast. Bruce Henderson, charlotteobserver, "Be wary of these NC natural wonders this summer," 25 June 2018 Here, fans exploit all sorts of mechanics to make Link move faster — one common method involves whistling while mashing the sprint button to run infinitely. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "Watching a Breath of the Wild speedrunner collect Koroks is mesmerizing," 15 Dec. 2018 He’s been whistled for precisely one charge in his NBA career. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Few. The Proud. The Players Who Have Been Run Over by Zion Williamson.," 5 Dec. 2018 Then Senad Lulic was whistled for a foul on Cancelo directly in front of the goal to set up Ronaldo’s penalty. Andrew Dampf, The Seattle Times, "Ronaldo recovers from difficult week in Juve’s comeback win," 27 Jan. 2019 The play was whistled dead, but an Arizona State player fell on the ball, and rather than assess a penalty, officials were slow to remove the player and reset the ball. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Five other times when Wisconsin sports teams have been hurt by iffy (or outright bad) officiating," 23 May 2018

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

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for whistle

Noun

Middle English, from Old English hwistle; akin to Old Norse hvīsla to whisper

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Statistics for whistle

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for whistle

The first known use of whistle was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for whistle

whistle

noun

English Language Learners Definition of whistle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small device that makes a very high and loud sound when a person blows air through it
: a device through which air or steam is forced to produce a very high and loud sound
: a high and loud sound made by forcing air through your lips or teeth

whistle

verb

English Language Learners Definition of whistle (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a high sound by blowing air through your lips or teeth
: to produce a high and loud sound by forcing air or steam through a device
: to move, pass, or go very fast with a high sound

whistle

noun
whis·​tle | \ ˈhwi-səl How to pronounce whistle (audio) , ˈwi-\

Kids Definition of whistle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a device by which a loud high-pitched sound is produced
2 : a high-pitched sound (as that made by forcing the breath through puckered lips)

whistle

verb
whistled; whistling

Kids Definition of whistle (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make a high-pitched sound by forcing the breath through the teeth or lips
2 : to move, pass, or go with a high-pitched sound The arrow whistled past.
3 : to produce a high-pitched sound by forcing air or steam through a device The kettle whistled.
4 : to express by whistling I whistled my surprise.

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More from Merriam-Webster on whistle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whistle

Spanish Central: Translation of whistle

Nglish: Translation of whistle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of whistle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about whistle

Comments on whistle

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