[ hwim, wim ]
/ ʰwɪm, wɪm /


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.

Nearby words

  1. whiles,
  2. whilk,
  3. whillikers,
  4. whilom,
  5. whilst,
  6. whim-wham,
  7. whimbrel,
  8. whimper,
  9. whimsey,
  10. whimsical

Origin of whim

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

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

Examples from the Web for whims

British Dictionary definitions for whims


/ (wɪm) /


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 whims



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