[hwam-ee, wam-ee]

noun, plural wham·mies. Informal.

the evil eye; jinx.
bad luck or misfortune.
a devastating blow, setback, or catastrophe: The drought and the high price of fertilizer are a double whammy to farmers.


    put the whammy on,
    1. to give the evil eye to; jinx.
    2. to destroy, end, or eradicate: New controls will put the whammy on irresponsible spending.

Origin of whammy

1935–40; wham + -y2, one of the methods of putting a whammy on someone being to strike the fist into the palm
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for whammy


noun plural -mies

something which has great, often negative, impactthe double whammy of high interest rates and low wage increases
an evil spell or curseshe was convinced he had put the whammy on her

Word Origin for whammy

C20: wham + -y ²
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

Word Origin and History for whammy

often double whammy, "hex, evil eye," 1932, of unknown origin, popularized 1941 in Al Capp's comic strip "Li'l Abner."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper