whistle

noun, often attributive
whis·​tle | \ ˈ(h)wi-səl How to pronounce whistle (audio) \

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\ ˈ(h)wi-​s(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce whistling (audio) \

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 \ ˈ(h)wi-​sə-​lə-​bəl How to pronounce whistleable (audio) \ 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 Celebrating after the final whistle with players through pictures, autographs, handshakes and jersey swaps. Briar Napier, The Arizona Republic, "Phoenix Rising fans find new ways to cheer, anxious for reboot," 28 June 2020 The final whistle was greeted by jubilant scenes as players and coaches danced way into the early hours of the morning. Ben Church And Darren Lewis, CNN, "'These boys will not stop': Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp eyes potential points record after winning title," 26 June 2020 Only a few dozen fans were outside Anfield as the final whistle blew at Stamford Bridge, setting off fireworks and chanting. Rob Harris, Houston Chronicle, "Liverpool secures Premier League title with Chelsea win over Manchester City," 25 June 2020 Rather, the rejection was a dog-whistle to the same kinds of voters who were encouraged to believe, after the High Court ruling on land rights, that Aboriginals would soon be camping in their back yard. The Economist, "Banyan Racism in Australia is not just a thing of the past," 20 June 2020 The first whistle came in the form of John Bolton’s explosive memoir of his 17 months as Trump’s national security adviser, details of which were first reported Wednesday afternoon. Philip Rucker, BostonGlobe.com, "Bolton book and Supreme Court ruling on ‘dreamers’ amount to twin defeats to Trump," 18 June 2020 When the referees blew the whistle to signal the start of the first matches in months, everyone on the field — including the refs — dropped to a knee for several seconds before rising in unison and beginning their games. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Soccer players wear 'Black Lives Matter' kits, kneel at start of games as EPL returns," 17 June 2020 But then a sharp whistle broke the silence, and the ibexes spooked. Peter Gwin, National Geographic, "Himalaya ‘ghost cats’ are finally coming into view," 16 June 2020 Archaeologists also uncovered a ceramic bird whistle and several ceramic money boxes used for collecting entry fees, among other artifacts. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists may have found site of the Red Lion, London’s first playhouse," 11 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Democrats are calling the officials whistle-blowers, suggesting they are covered by federal laws that prohibit reprisals against civil servants who give information to Congress. Charlie Savage, BostonGlobe.com, "Prosecutor in Stone case will testify about Barr’s intervention," 16 June 2020 Dallas coach Jason Garrett was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct late in the third quarter with his team trailing 31-17. Arnie Stapleton, chicagotribune.com, "Patrick Mahomes’ magic fizzles without mobility," 8 Oct. 2019 Dallas coach Jason Garrett was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct late in the third quarter with his team trailing 31-17. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Patrick Mahomes’ magic fizzles without mobility," 7 Oct. 2019 But the familiar flat-four whistling away under the back floor is now pushing a much more handsome box with more room inside and handling that's unique in the species. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon L Proves To Be a Worthy Follow Up To the Original Type 2 VW Bus," 15 May 2020 Loudspeakers in the streets broadcast the air raid alert, followed by a whistling sound and the thunder of collapsing buildings. Robert Clark, National Geographic, "‘I looked at my mom—it still hurts to this day. She had these big tears running down her face like streams, and I felt in my soul this was the last time I’d see her.’," 6 May 2020 Having noticed Lowery whistling around school, Lebermann asked him to stay after band rehearsal one day. Michael Corcoran, ExpressNews.com, "First recording of popular cowboy ballad ‘Home on the Range’ was made in San Antonio," 29 Apr. 2020 Rafts of Canadas and goldeneyes lifted off in front of us by the dozens and hundreds, the sound of furious honking and whistling wings breaking the silence. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "The Godfather of Montana’s Bighorn River," 28 Apr. 2020 Sale price: $75 Regular price: $100 Brighten up mom’s kitchen with this classic whistling kettle. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Iconic cookware company Le Creuset is having an online sale for first time ever," 23 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for whistle

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for whistle

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whistle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whistle. Accessed 11 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for whistle

whistle

noun
How to pronounce whistle (audio)

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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Comments on whistle

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