\ 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 That’s the kind of irony not lost on the people living in this wisp of a town, population just under 900 and quickly declining, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. Christopher Harress | Charress@al.com, al, "1000 days of Trump in one of Alabama’s bluest and poorest counties," 17 Oct. 2019 With the Mets’ collective goals reduced to a wisp of fantasy, their individual pursuits are virtually all that is left in the final week of the season. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Mets Season a Failure? Not if You Ask Pete Alonso," 24 Sep. 2019 The songs, when not explicating the wisp of a story, describe varieties of cat, such as the Gumbie Cat and the Railway Cat, while the cast, on-screen as on-stage, have cat ears, fur, and tails. Daniel Drake, The New York Review of Books, "The Slog Comes in on Little Cat Feet," 4 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 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. Washington Post, "A sip-to-sip tour of the ‘Sonoma of Spain’," 29 Nov. 2019 What’s left is a sort of forgettable Christmas wisp, a black-hearted jingle bell only half-rung. Leah Greenblatt, EW.com, "Black Christmas gives holiday horror a clumsy girl-power update," 13 Dec. 2019 To do this, the instructions suggest pulling away most of the cotton on a swab, leaving just a wisp to act as a thin paintbrush. Jeanne Huber, Washington Post, "Cracked kitchen tiles? Try a patch.," 10 June 2019 Flower vaporizers are made up of a battery and a tiny oven that heat up raw cannabis flower, producing a wisp of vapor to be inhaled. BostonGlobe.com, "What do we know about the lung illnesses?," 12 Nov. 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

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wisp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wispy?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=w&file=wispy001. Accessed 20 Feb. 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

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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