1

whistle

noun, often attributive whis·tle \ ˈhwi-səl , ˈwi- \
Updated on: 17 Nov 2017

Definition of whistle

1 a :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
2 a :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

Examples of whistle in a Sentence

  1. The policeman blew his whistle.

  2. We could hear the train's whistle.

  3. We could hear the low whistle of the wind through the trees.

  4. the whistle of the tea kettle

Recent Examples of whistle from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of whistle

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


2

whistle

verb

Definition of whistle

whistled; whistling play \ˈhwi-s(ə-)liŋ, ˈwi-\
intransitive verb
1 a :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
2 a :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
1 a :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

whistleable

play \ˈhwi-sə-lə-bəl, ˈwi-\ adjective
whistle in the dark
:to keep up one's courage by or as if by whistling

Examples of whistle in a Sentence

  1. He was whistling as he walked down the street.

  2. He whistled for a cab.

  3. He whistled a happy tune.

  4. The teakettle started to whistle.

  5. A bullet whistled past him.

Recent Examples of whistle from the Web

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.

First Known Use of whistle

before 12th century



WHISTLE Defined for English Language Learners

whistle

noun

Definition of whistle for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of whistle for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

whistle

noun whis·tle \ ˈhwi-səl , ˈwi- \

Definition of whistle for Students

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)

2

whistle

verb

Definition of whistle for Students

whistled; whistling
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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