Try Our Apps
Dictionary.com

follow Dictionary.com

2017 Word of the Year

wisp

[wisp] /wɪsp/
noun
1.
a handful or small bundle of straw, hay, or the like.
2.
any thin tuft, lock, mass, etc.:
wisps of hair.
3.
a thin puff or streak, as of smoke; slender trace.
4.
a person or thing that is small, delicate, or barely discernible:
a mere wisp of a lad; a wisp of a frown.
5.
a whisk broom.
6.
Chiefly British Dialect.
  1. a pad or twist of straw, as used to rub down a horse.
  2. a twisted bit of straw used as a torch.
7.
a will-o'-the-wisp or ignis fatuus.
verb (used with object)
8.
to twist into a wisp.
Origin of wisp
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English wisp, wips; akin to wipe
Related forms
wisplike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for wisp
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Sure I'm only rowling a wisp of straw on my leg," replied Hosey.

  • Good Indian twisted a wisp of mane in his fingers, and frowned abstractedly.

    Good Indian B. M. Bower
  • She withdrew her arm from his and struck him lightly with a wisp of hay.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine
  • The visitor, by its attraction, drew from the nebula a wisp of gas.

    The Meaning of Evolution Samuel Christian Schmucker
  • A wisp of her hair caressed his right ear, but somehow did not relax his temper.

    The Trimming of Goosie James Hopper
  • Is that he with the wisp of hair hanging from his chin, in the long coat?

    Under Western Eyes Joseph Conrad
  • The coals of the fire still smouldered and gave forth a wisp of smoke.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • They had seen a wisp of smoke curling up from the tree tops.

    The Tale of Mrs. Ladybug

    Arthur Scott Bailey
  • A man stood in the doorway, naked but for the wisp of skirt at his waist.

    Bones Edgar Wallace
British Dictionary definitions for wisp

wisp

/wɪsp/
noun
1.
a thin, light, delicate, or fibrous piece or strand, such as a streak of smoke or a lock of hair
2.
a small bundle, as of hay or straw
3.
anything slender and delicate: a wisp of a girl
4.
a mere suggestion or hint
5.
a flock of birds, esp snipe
verb
6.
(intransitive) often foll by away. to move or act like a wisp
7.
(transitive) (mainly Brit, dialect) to twist into a wisp
8.
(transitive) (mainly Brit) to groom (a horse) with a wisp of straw, etc
Derived Forms
wisplike, adjective
Word Origin
C14: variant of wips, of obscure origin; compare wipe

WISP

/wɪsp/
noun acronym
1.
Wireless Information Service Provider: an internet service provider set up to deal with and deliver internet services to clients through wireless access points
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for wisp
n.

c.1300, "handful or bundle of hay, grass, etc.," used for burning or cleaning or as a cushion; perhaps from an unrecorded Old English word, cognate with Norwegian and Swedish visp "wisp," of unknown origin; sometimes said to be connected with whisk or with Middle Low German and Middle Dutch wispel "a measure of grain." Meaning "thin, filmy portion" first attested 1836.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for wisp

Word Value for wisp

9
10
Scrabble Words With Friends