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[hwif-uh l-tree, wif-] /ˈʰwɪf əlˌtri, ˈwɪf-/
noun, Northern U.S.
a crossbar, pivoted at the middle, to which the traces of a harness are fastened for pulling a cart, carriage, plow, etc.
Compare doubletree.
Origin of whiffletree
First recorded in 1820-30; variant of whippletree Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for whiffletree
Historical Examples
  • "It's the whiffletree, I think," she said, as if she were used to wagons.

    The La Chance Mine Mystery Susan Carleton Jones
  • The pole was snapped, and the whiffletree smashed, so that the traces were useless.

    The La Chance Mine Mystery Susan Carleton Jones
  • The whiffletree is attached to the tumbling rod by an iron hook.

    Farm Mechanics Herbert A. Shearer
  • The whiffletree would swing round and hit them, and when their collars were taken off, their necks would be raw and bloody.

    Beautiful Joe Marshall Saunders
  • Where the gray mare is the better horse, her mate always lets up a bit on his whiffletree and she draws most of the load.

  • He took the whiffletree from the wagon, let a chain drag behind it, and harnessed the mules.

    The Lost Wagon James Arthur Kjelgaard
  • Now let the rest of the robe fall slowly over the dasher in front of the whiffletree.

    Around the Yule Log Willis Boyd Allen
  • The horses were driven down behind it, and from one of them de Spain took the collar, the tugs, and the whiffletree.

    Nan of Music Mountain Frank H. Spearman
  • This wore away at last and on the third day I had no difficulty in keeping up my end of the whiffletree.

  • Twelve “Swingle trees” (whippletree, whiffletree, singletree) are listed in the inventory.

British Dictionary definitions for whiffletree


another name (esp US) for swingletree
Word Origin
C19: variant of whippletree
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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