\ 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


Wisps of steam rose up from the teapot. Wisps of cotton candy clung to his mouth.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The whites are dipped in an extremely light batter and quick-fried just enough to warm up the egg and put on a wisp-thin crust. al, "Squid Ink happens: Downtown Mobile gets new flavors," 5 Aug. 2019 Vapes have the benefit of being discreet, emitting a relatively weak wisp of vapor and a mild smell that fades quickly. Naomi Martin, BostonGlobe.com, "The essential guide to buying and consuming pot in Massachusetts," 6 Aug. 2019 Drag your finger along your iPhone’s virtual keyboard, leaving a wisp of a translucent tail in your wake, and form words without furiously finger-pecking at the keys. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "An iOS 13 Preview: The 7 Top Features Coming to Your iPhone," 25 June 2019 The Panchos – Chucho Navarro, Alfredo Gil and Johnny Albino – offer intimate support, backing the singer with simple guitar and a wisp of percussion. Randy Cordova, azcentral, "Remembering Eydie Gormé, Trio Los Panchos and the beloved 'Sabor a Mí’," 21 July 2019 Here's the complete field ] (Photo: Mandi Wright, Detroit Free Press) But an hour south of Grand Blanc, there was a quiet wisp of hope. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "How Detroit Golf Club landed the PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic," 23 June 2019 Dip the wisp into the color, drag it through the puddle of lacquer a few times, then touch up the color of the patch. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "Cracked kitchen tiles? Try a patch.," 10 June 2019 For instance, a tiny quote of Chopin in the 21st, a spectral wisp of a phrase on the piano, serves as an eerily eloquent evocation of a past not allowed to be buried. Mark Swed, latimes.com, "Review: Mirga’s first major recording is a magical debut," 5 June 2019 In the brightening dawn, a wisp of cloud formed above the valley where many of the miners came from. Carlo Gabuco, National Geographic, "Death rituals help restless spirits find peace in the Philippines," 9 Apr. 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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Statistics for wisp

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wisp

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

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More Definitions for wisp



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

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

Comments on wisp

What made you want to look up wisp? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


readily or continually undergoing change

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