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whiffler1

[hwif-ler, wif-]
noun
  1. a person who frequently shifts opinions, attitudes, interests, etc.
  2. a person who is vacillating or evasive in an argument.
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Origin of whiffler1

First recorded in 1600–10; whiffle + -er1

whiffler2

[hwif-ler, wif-]
noun History/Historical.
  1. an attendant who clears the way for a procession.
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Origin of whiffler2

1530–40; earlier wiffler armed attendant, equivalent to wiffle (variant of Middle English wifle, Old English wifel battle-ax) + -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for whiffler

Historical Examples

  • The ‘whiffler’ was the official sword-flourisher of the Corporation.

    The Romany Rye

    George Borrow

  • In any show he will be one, though he be but a whiffler or a torch-bearer, and bears down strangers with the story of his actions.

  • Superintendent Whiffler came over, by-and-by, to see his successor.

  • At length Mrs. Whiffler is heard to say, ‘Mr. Saunders, shall I give you some pudding?’

    Sketches by Boz

    Charles Dickens

  • Mr. Whiffler sighs, ‘these children, Saunders, make one quite an old man.’

    Sketches by Boz

    Charles Dickens


British Dictionary definitions for whiffler

whiffler1

noun
  1. a person who whiffles
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whiffler2

noun
  1. archaic an attendant who cleared the way for a procession
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Word Origin

C16: from wifle battle-axe, from Old English wifel, of Germanic origin; the attendants originally carried weapons to clear the way
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