\ ˈwisp How to pronounce wisp (audio) \

Definition of wisp

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a small handful (as of hay or straw)
2a : a thin strip or fragment
b : a thready streak a wisp of smoke
c : something frail, slight, or fleeting a wisp of a girl a wisp of a smile
3 archaic : will-o'-the-wisp


wisped; wisping; wisps

Definition of wisp (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to roll into a wisp
2 : to make wisps of a cigarette wisping smoke at the corner of his mouth— Raymond Chandler

intransitive verb

: to emerge or drift in wisps her hair began to wisp into her eyes— Mary Manning

Other Words from wisp


wispily \ ˈwi-​spə-​lē How to pronounce wisp (audio) \ adverb
wispiness \ ˈwi-​spē-​nəs How to pronounce wisp (audio) \ noun
wispy \ ˈwi-​spē How to pronounce wisp (audio) \ adjective

Examples of wisp in a Sentence

Noun Wisps of steam rose up from the teapot. Wisps of cotton candy clung to his mouth.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The aliens did us a huge favor by shooting a thirteen-mile-wide laser beam in Rio de Janeiro that branched out into several billion rhizomatic tentacles that instantaneously reduced every salamander on Earth to a wisp of smoke. Teddy Wayne, The New Yorker, 9 May 2022 The sides go beyond the usual suspects to include kale, fried to a wisp and splashed with a champagne-raisin dressing. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2022 In the picture, Betty, a wisp of a girl with short blonde hair and blue eyes, looks pale, expressionless, exhausted. Niran Al-agba, The New Republic, 21 Feb. 2022 That elusive will-o'-the-wisp season, lauded by poets in countless lyrics and appreciated by the dullest clod, will be ushered in officially at 12:45 o’clock this afternoon. San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Mar. 2022 There’s a wisp of strawberry fruit on the palate, along with citrus and savory notes. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 19 Mar. 2022 Just beneath the sparkler, a wisp of smoke, from the sparkler or a cigarette, curls like a dream of elegance. Garth Greenwell, The New Yorker, 15 Feb. 2022 Get your pan very hot, add a little fat, and wait for a wisp of smoke to rise. Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2022 Our take on a highball cocktail starts with the rye bourbon complexity, a touch of bitters, cane sugar and wisp of orange and cherry to round it out. Emily Price, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Then, the wind will wisp them away on a strand of silk, carrying them to new regions, or even states, reports Live Science. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, 9 Nov. 2021 Multiple outlets have reported the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, has wisps of reddish hair—which may mean he’s inherited the signature feature of his father, Prince Harry. Vogue, 16 Aug. 2019 The gentle breeze of my ceiling fan has wisps of my dark hair dancing back and forth across the left side of my face. Meryl Davis, SELF, 30 May 2018 Vessel’s 18 bedroom-style songs wisp away like seeds from a dandelion, each subsequent track feeling more fleeting than its predecessor. Kevin Warwick, Chicago Reader, 27 Apr. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wisp.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of wisp


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1753, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for wisp


Middle English

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The first known use of wisp was in the 13th century

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Last Updated

19 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wisp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisp. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wisp


\ ˈwisp How to pronounce wisp (audio) \

Kids Definition of wisp

1 : a thin piece or strand wisps of hair
2 : a thin streak wisps of smoke
3 : a small amount of something There was a wisp of a smile on her face.

More from Merriam-Webster on wisp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wisp

Nglish: Translation of wisp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wisp for Arabic Speakers


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