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whis·​tle-stop ˈ(h)wi-səl-ˌstäp How to pronounce whistle-stop (audio)
often attributive
: a small station at which trains stop only on signal : flag stop
: a small community
: a brief personal appearance especially by a political candidate usually on the rear platform of a train during the course of a tour


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whistle-stopped; whistle-stopping; whistle-stops

intransitive verb

: to make a tour especially in a political campaign with many brief personal appearances in small communities

Examples of whistle-stop in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Soon after the ethics investigation, Ms. Haley went on a whistle-stop tour of the state promoting an ethics overhaul. Alexandra Berzon, New York Times, 21 Jan. 2024 The Palm Springs Film Festival had their big awards gala, which was kind of an important whistle-stop early in the in the year. Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times, 11 Jan. 2024 The train currently offers three whistle-stop drop-offs, which will correspond with the AHA’s three upcoming huts. Corey Buhay, Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Jan. 2024 Presidential candidates had long made whistle-stop tours, originally by train. Trip Gabriel, New York Times, 13 Dec. 2023 Ultimately, however, none of the programs were rejected, even Audi’s whistle-stop course. IEEE Spectrum, 23 Feb. 2015 The whistle-stop tour highlighted the kind of advanced military technologies Mr. Kim covets for his country. Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times, 16 Sep. 2023 That’s why suggestions that Biden galvanize his presidency with a dramatic Oval Office address, or even my own 2022 proposal for a Harry Truman–esque whistle-stop tour, misread reality. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 10 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whistle-stop.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


circa 1925, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1952, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of whistle-stop was circa 1925

Dictionary Entries Near whistle-stop

Cite this Entry

“Whistle-stop.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whistle-stop. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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