wisp

1 of 2

noun

1
: a small handful (as of hay or straw)
2
a
: 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
wispily adverb
wispiness noun
wispy adjective

wisp

2 of 2

verb

wisped; wisping; wisps

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to emerge or drift in wisps
her hair began to wisp into her eyesMary Manning

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
Viewers can expect to see wisps, streams, and maybe even a large eruption called a coronal mass ejection. Jenna Anderson, Sunset Magazine, 12 Feb. 2024 The filling is more herbaceous than beefy, with wisps of egg bringing a greasy whisper of diner omelet flavor. The Indianapolis Star, 25 Jan. 2024 These green-hued wisps, dancing above pink-red, extremely high-altitude lightning during thunderstorms, had been discovered only in May that year. Robin George Andrews, New York Times, 12 Dec. 2023 Billowing red and orange wisps represent gas in the spiral arms. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Jan. 2024 The actress let just a few wisps of gray roots peek out from the crown of her head, fully embracing the naturalness of her hair. Hedy Phillips, Peoplemag, 8 Jan. 2024 Despite the hype, there still are only wisps of validation in this space. Meghana Keshavan, STAT, 1 Dec. 2023 There was some fog near the ground but the skies above were clear, save for a few wisps of cirrus clouds. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, 18 Nov. 2023 Orange and red in April’s image represent the edge of the remnant’s main inner shell, while this detail looks like wisps of smoke in the new picture. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Dec. 2023
Verb
Tropical trade winds blow in a band across the equator, spinning off cyclones and storms, which wisp away and scatter into westerly currents. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 17 Dec. 2015 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wisp.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1753, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near wisp

Cite this Entry

“Wisp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisp. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

wisp

noun
ˈwisp
1
: a small bunch of hay or straw
2
a
: a thin piece or strand
b
: a faint streak
a wisp of smoke
c
: something weak, slight, or delicate
a wisp of a smile
wispy
ˈwis-pē
adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on wisp

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