• synonyms


[hwif-uh l, wif-]
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verb (used without object), whif·fled, whif·fling.
  1. to blow in light or shifting gusts or puffs, as the wind; veer or toss about irregularly.
  2. to shift about; vacillate; be fickle.
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verb (used with object), whif·fled, whif·fling.
  1. to blow with light, shifting gusts.
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Origin of whiffle

First recorded in 1550–60; whiff1 + -le
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for whiffling

wobble, shake, lurch, careen, teeter, falter, reel, waffle, seesaw, waver, fluctuate, dither, oscillate, hesitate, pause, vacillate, tremble, vary, sway, quiver

Examples from the Web for whiffling

Historical Examples of whiffling

  • Tom anybody will do, so long as they are not of this whiffling century.

    The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb

    Charles Lamb

  • What shameful pimping to the whiffling understandings of the timid!

  • It was the whiffling energy of the tornado that alone saved her.

    Jack Tier or The Florida Reef

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • "I know nothing to compare with the whiffling of the north star," said Sancho, promptly.

    Mercedes of Castile

    J. Fenimore Cooper

  • A convulsive squeeze and creaking, whiffling sounds heralded a fresh outburst.


    John Galsworthy

British Dictionary definitions for whiffling


  1. (intr) to think or behave in an erratic or unpredictable way
  2. to blow or be blown fitfully or in gusts
  3. (intr) to whistle softly
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Word Origin for whiffle

C16: frequentative of whiff 1
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 whiffling



"flicker or flutter as if blown by the wind," 1660s; see whiff. The noun meaning "something light or insignificant" (1670s) is preserved in whiffle-ball (1931).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper