[hwim, wim]


an odd or capricious notion or desire; a sudden or freakish fancy: a sudden whim to take a midnight walk.
capricious humor: to be swayed by whim.

Origin of whim

First recorded in 1635–45; short for whim-wham

Synonyms for whim

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for whim

Contemporary Examples of whim

Historical Examples of whim

  • It seemed to have a vast inorganic life of its own, a volition and a whim.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • It suited his whim, and it did more than that: it gave him a chance to speak to her in his teasing way.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Indeed, Van Baerle's happiness depended on the whim of this man.

    The Black Tulip

    Alexandre Dumas (Pere)

  • The whim had seized her and was holding on tight that Emmeline's might be the Right Place.

    Four Girls and a Compact

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • He's been satisfying every whim of curiosity that pops into his mind.

    The Big Tomorrow

    Paul Lohrman

British Dictionary definitions for whim



a sudden, passing, and often fanciful idea; impulsive or irrational thought
a horse-drawn winch formerly used in mining to lift ore or water

Word Origin for whim

C17: from whim-wham
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 whim

1640s, "pun or play on words," shortened from whimwham "fanciful object" (q.v.). Meaning "sudden notion, fancy, or idea" first recorded 1690s, probably a shortened form of whimsy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper