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[hwin, win] /ʰwɪn, wɪn/
noun, Chiefly British.
any thorny or prickly shrub, especially gorse.
Origin of whin
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English whynne, apparently < Scandinavian; compare Icelandic hvīngras bent grass, Danish hvene, Swedish (h)ven Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for whins
Historical Examples
  • We lay among the whins and bramble undisturbed till the dusk came on.

    John Splendid Neil Munro
  • He felt glad he had not left the white goat tethered in the whins on the hill.


    Seumas O'Kelly
  • The Covenanters were called whigs; the whins were worthless bushes.

    Sketches of the Covenanters

    J. C. McFeeters
  • There was a fire burning brightly; the waning gloaming without gave the whins, that almost touched the window, a ghostly look.

    Merkland Mrs. Oliphant
  • His heart filled with fear of the unseen before him, the little dog lay for a long time in a clump of whins.

    Greyfriars Bobby Eleanor Atkinson
  • A big hole and a flat button will hold against anything—even against Scotch whins and heather.

    Rivers of Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • If, however, whins are from their nature a bad hazard, they have nevertheless very distinguished sanction.

  • Another feature of the course, which is now less pronounced than it used to be, is the luxuriant growth of whins.

  • The whins lie in wait for a sliced shot, while on the left is the strong shore of the harbour.

  • There are whins in fair profusion, and they play an important part at both the second and third holes.

British Dictionary definitions for whins


another name for gorse
Word Origin
C11: from Scandinavian; compare Old Danish hvine (græs), Norwegian hvine, Swedish hven


short for whinstone
Word Origin
C14: quin, of obscure origin
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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