[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 whims

Contemporary Examples of whims

Historical Examples of whims

  • It was quite evident that "my niece" was a young person of whims.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I have ruined my life to satisfy one of your whims; surely that ought to suffice.

    Pretty Madcap Dorothy

    Laura Jean Libbey

  • It takes on the color of any composer's ideas, and submits like a slave to the whims of any virtuoso.


    James Huneker

  • This was decidedly interesting, since it resembled her own whims.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

  • Even if you are a prince, the world cannot always run just to suit your whims.

British Dictionary definitions for whims



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