\ 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

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Other Words from wisp


wispily \ ˈwi-​spə-​lē How to pronounce wispily (audio) \ adverb
wispiness \ ˈwi-​spē-​nəs How to pronounce wispiness (audio) \ noun
wispy \ ˈwi-​spē How to pronounce wispy (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 Dow was within a wisp of the 30,000 threshold just weeks ago. Jacob Bogage, Anchorage Daily News, "Dow caps worst-ever first quarter with a more than 400-point slide," 31 Mar. 2020 The Dow was within a wisp of the 30,000 threshold just weeks ago. Jacob Bogage, BostonGlobe.com, "Dow caps worst-ever first quarter with a more than 400-point slide," 31 Mar. 2020 Snippets of quality time were used for cuddling, holding hands, looking into each other’s eyes, neatening a stray wisp of hair and occasionally making love. Jeffrey Brown, New York Times, "An Army Doctor’s First Loss of the Vietnam War: The Woman He Loved," 13 Feb. 2020 The artist had a thick build, serious face and a wisp of a mustache. Deirdra Funcheon, Washington Post, "Who Should Get the Artwork of Purvis Young?," 8 Jan. 2020 On a brisk February afternoon, the kind where a white wisp of air gives your breath away, Vollmer surveyed his last property for the Department of Natural Resources. Sarah Bowman, USA TODAY, "Indiana state employee retires at 102. It wasn't a desk job.," 13 Feb. 2020 Weatherby’s Backcountry Ti is a lovely wisp of a thing that was introduced late last year. John B. Snow, Field & Stream, "Shooting and Gun Trends from the 2020 SHOT Show," 6 Feb. 2020 This new rifle, a lovely wisp of a thing, is chambered in the new 6.5 Weatherby RPM and is the company’s first new cartridge that’s built along the principals of modern cartridge design. John B. Snow, Outdoor Life, "Best Guns of the Decade," 2 Jan. 2020 Dishes like fatty ox tartare topped with white truffle shavings and wisps of blue cheese, slow-roasted suckling pig dotted with creme fraiche, and aromatic black rice infused with squid brought the bold flavors of Spain into sharp focus. Amy Tara Koch, chicagotribune.com, "Wineries north of Madrid start to come into their own as the ‘Sonoma of Spain’," 6 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Did Archie Mountbatten-Windsor Inherit Prince Harry’s Signature Feature?," 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, "Meryl Davis: Finding New Purpose After Life as an Olympian," 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, "Frankie Cosmos delivers another aching, poignant record of two-minute indie-pop songs," 27 Apr. 2018

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.

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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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Time Traveler for wisp

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wisp

Last Updated

22 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wisp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisp. Accessed 28 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for wisp


How to pronounce wisp (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wisp

: a thin streak of smoke, mist, etc.
: a thin thread or strand of something (such as hair)
: a small amount of something


\ 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on wisp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wisp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wisp

Spanish Central: Translation of wisp

Nglish: Translation of wisp for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wisp for Arabic Speakers

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