whim·​si·​cal ˈ(h)wim-zi-kəl How to pronounce whimsical (audio)
: resulting from or characterized by whim or caprice
especially : lightly fanciful
whimsical decorations
: subject to erratic behavior or unpredictable change
: full of, actuated by, or exhibiting whims
whimsicality noun
whimsically adverb
whimsicalness noun

Did you know?

Trace Whimsical Back to the 16th Century

Even the origin of whimsical is whimsical: its ultimate source (by way of the noun whimsy) is the now-obscure whim-wham, a noun from the early 16th century that first referred to an ornamental object or trinket, and later to an eccentric impulse or interest—that is, to what in modern terms can be called a whim. The origin of whim-wham isn’t clear, but it’s among a class of words known as reduplications, words that are formed by repeating a word, as in go-go, or by adding to a word one that sounds very similar to it, as in dillydally. (In the case of whim-wham, the original duplicated term has been lost to time.) While whimsical first described those who tend toward whimsy, it now commonly describes things that are unusual in a playful or amusing way, as in “charmed by the book’s whimsical illustrations.”

Examples of whimsical in a Sentence

You can practically taste the tropics in these whimsical doughnuts. Ripe bananas, toasted coconut and your favorite rum transform traditional doughnuts into paradisiacal ones. Janice Wald Henderson, Chocolatier, March 2001
Unlike the broad slapstick humor of Musical Mose and other early Herriman strips, Krazy Kat was gentle, fey, and whimsical. Jeet Heer, Lingua Franca, September 2001
In the whimsical linguistics of theoretical physics, the "naked" electron is an imaginary object cut off from the influences of the field, whereas a "dressed" electron carries the imprint of the universe, but it is all buried in extremely tiny modifications to its bare properties. Leon Lederman et al., The God Particle, 1993
She has a whimsical sense of humor. it's hard to make plans with such a whimsical best friend
Recent Examples on the Web The whimsical exterior is a good option for anyone looking to add some style to their tiny home, and the pre-cut kit comes with everything necessary for assembly. Laura Kristine Miller, Better Homes & Gardens, 26 Sep. 2023 For Last Line features a colorful collection of jewelry in fun and whimsical styles that are great for everyday maximalist pieces. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 26 Sep. 2023 Mushroom Cocktail Glass These Mushroom Cocktail Glasses are creatively designed into the shape of everyone’s favorite fungi, adding a whimsical touch to your home bar or party. Samantha Booth, Rolling Stone, 26 Sep. 2023 Elon Musk’s Tesla, for instance, is building a whimsical drive-in movie and diner complex in Hollywood where Tesla owners can entertain themselves while loading their batteries. Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times, 25 Sep. 2023 But the 1,000-year-old language is infinitely rich, even whimsical. Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2023 Fashion’s love affair with ribbons has officially made its way from the spring runways to the (almost) fall front row, and Emma Watson’s interpretation of the trend more wearable than whimsical. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 21 Sep. 2023 The once long, large lobby is now broken down into cozier living rooms with whimsical art—Boston boy Ben Franklin blowing bubbles!—and velour couches in tones of dusky plum and mustard. Linda Laban, Robb Report, 21 Sep. 2023 Its whimsical design and excellent location make this affordable gem a must-stay in the capital city. Meena Thiruvengadam, Travel + Leisure, 21 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'whimsical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

1653, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of whimsical was in 1653


Dictionary Entries Near whimsical

Cite this Entry

“Whimsical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whimsical. Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


whim·​si·​cal ˈhwim-zi-kəl How to pronounce whimsical (audio)
: full of whims : capricious
a whimsical person always going off somewhere
: resulting from or marked by whim : erratic
whimsical behavior
whimsicality noun
whimsically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on whimsical

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!