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[hwip-lash, wip-] /ˈʰwɪpˌlæʃ, ˈwɪp-/
the lash of a whip.
an abrupt snapping motion or change of direction resembling the lash of a whip.
Also, whiplash injury. a neck injury caused by a sudden jerking backward, forward, or both, of the head:
Whiplash resulted when their car was struck from behind.
Also called whiplash curve. a connected series of reverse curves of more or less elliptical form, used as a major design motif in the Art Nouveau style.
verb (used with object)
to beat, hit, throw, etc., with or as if with a whiplash.
to affect adversely, as by a sudden change:
new taxes whiplashing corporate earnings.
Origin of whiplash
1565-75; 1950-55 for def 6; whip + lash1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for whiplash
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "When you came through the town you waked me up like a whiplash," he was saying.

    Way of the Lawless Max Brand
  • What was a boy's whiplash, that his resentment of it; should set all his future life in jeopardy?

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • Frederick bounded forward like a whiplash, but Tess held him back.

    Tess of the Storm Country

    Grace Miller White
  • Rafe leaped on to ride and Tom playfully snapped his whiplash at him.

    Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp Annie Roe Carr
  • The lorry climbed into the mountains, round roads which curved like a whiplash.

    Poor Folk in Spain Jan Gordon
British Dictionary definitions for whiplash


a quick lash or stroke of a whip or like that of a whip
(med) See whiplash injury
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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Word Origin and History for whiplash

1570s, "the lash of a whip," from whip (n.) + lash (n.). The injury caused by sudden head motion so called by 1955, in reference to the notion of moving to and fro like a cracking whip. The verb in this sense is recorded by 1971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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whiplash in Medicine

whiplash whip·lash (wĭp'lāsh')
Whiplash injury.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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