- to make a clear musical sound, a series of such sounds, or a high-pitched, warbling sound by the forcible expulsion of the breath through a small opening formed by contracting the lips, or through the teeth, with the aid of the tongue.
- to make such a sound or series of sounds otherwise, as by blowing on some device.
- to emit similar sounds from the mouth, as birds do.
- (of a device) to produce a similar sound when actuated by steam or the like: This teakettle whistles when it boils.
- to move, go, pass, etc., with a whistling or whizzing sound, as a bullet or the wind.
- to produce by whistling: to whistle a tune.
- to call, direct, or signal by or as by whistling: He whistled his dog over.
- to send with a whistling or whizzing sound.
- an instrument for producing whistling sounds by means of the breath, steam, etc., as a small wooden or tin tube, a pipe, or a similar device with an air chamber containing a small ball that oscillates when air is forced through an opening, producing a high-pitched, warbling tone.
- a sound produced by whistling: a prolonged whistle of astonishment.
- a simple fipple flute.
- whistle for, to demand or expect without success: After promising to pay, he told us we could whistle for our money.
- blow the whistle, to expose the existence of mischief or wrongdoing: The agent was taking bribes until someone finally blew the whistle.
- blow the whistle on,
- to bring a stop to; halt: Congress has blown the whistle on all unnecessary expenditures for the program.
- to expose (wrongdoing or wrongdoers): to blow the whistle on corruption in high places.
- wet one's whistle, Informal. to take a drink.
- whistle in the dark, to attempt to summon up one's courage or optimism in a difficult situation: He says his business will improve next year, but he's probably just whistling in the dark.
Origin of whistle
Related Words for whistleblare, hiss, sound, signal, whine, warble, pipe, toot, whiz, wheeze, blast, shriek, fife, trill, tootle, flute, skirl
Examples from the Web for whistle
Contemporary Examples of whistle
“Clean as a whistle,” says a senior investigator involved in the case.Exclusive: Inside a Cop-Killer’s Final Hours
December 31, 2014
But admit it: at the first whistle, we all paid attention, to a part of the world that would usually prefer us all to butt out.Pyongyang Primer: Kenneth Bae Comes Home
November 15, 2014
He is on trial along with three others, and Bogucki is blowing the whistle on government practices he says are not fair play.A Navy Lawyer Cries Foul on Gitmo’s Kafkaesque Legal System
September 26, 2014
Not a lot of air tooting that whistle, no matter what the video would lead viewers to believe.Anti-Vaxxers Have a New Hero
September 1, 2014
Down Fred went and the ref blew his whistle, piercing Croatian hearts as he pointed to the penalty spot.Brazil Slips Past Croatia, Thanks to Yuichi Nishimura
June 12, 2014
Historical Examples of whistle
He was still exerting his strength to the utmost when the whistle of the locomotive was heard.Brave and Bold
Let me but have the little wench and the whistle to-morrow morn, and it is done.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
Do, some kind Christian, pump a stroke or two, just to wet my whistle.A Rill from the Town Pump (From "Twice Told Tales")
The whistle sounds, punctually to the stroke of six; we are off.The Roof of France
"Whistle when you are ready, Donald," called Linda as she turned away.Her Father's Daughter
- to produce (shrill or flutelike musical sounds), as by passing breath through a narrow constriction most easily formed by the pursed lipshe whistled a melody
- (tr) to signal, summon, or command by whistling or blowing a whistlethe referee whistled the end of the game
- (of a kettle, train, etc) to produce (a shrill sound) caused by the emission of steam through a small aperture
- (intr) to move with a whistling sound caused by rapid passage through the air
- (of animals, esp birds) to emit (a shrill sound) resembling human whistling
- whistle in the dark to try to keep up one's confidence in spite of fear
- a device for making a shrill high-pitched sound by means of air or steam under pressure
- a shrill sound effected by whistling
- a whistling sound, as of a bird, bullet, the wind, etc
- a signal, warning, command, etc, transmitted by or as if by a whistle
- the act of whistling
- music any pipe that is blown down its end and produces sounds on the principle of a flue pipe, usually having as a mouthpiece a fipple cut in the side
- wet one's whistle informal to take an alcoholic drink
- blow the whistle (usually foll by on) informal
- to inform (on)
- to bring a stop (to)
Word Origin for whistle
Old English hwistlian, from Proto-Germanic *khwis-, of imitative origin. Used also in Middle English of the hissing of serpents. Related: Whistled; whistling. To whistle for (with small prospect of getting) is probably from nautical whistling for a wind. To whistle "Dixie" is from 1940.
"tubular musical instrument," Old English hwistle (see whistle (v.)). To wet one's whistle "take a drink" (late 14c.) originally may have referred to pipes, or be an allusion to the throat as a sort of pipe. Phrase clean as a whistle is recorded from 1878. Railroad whistle stop (at which trains stop only if the engineer hears a signal from the station) is recorded from 1934.
In addition to the idioms beginning with whistle
- whistle Dixie
- whistle for
- whistle in the dark
- blow the whistle on
- clean as a whistle
- slick as a whistle
- wet one's whistle