whistle stop


a small, unimportant town, especially one along a railroad line.
a short talk from the rear platform of a train, especially during a political campaign.
a brief appearance, single performance, or the like, in a small town, as during a political campaign or theatrical tour.



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Origin of whistle stop

An Americanism dating back to 1920–25

Definition for whistle stop (2 of 2)

[ hwis-uhl-stop, wis- ]
/ ˈʰwɪs əlˌstɒp, ˈwɪs- /

verb (used without object), whis·tle-stopped, whis·tle-stop·ping.

to campaign for political office by traveling around the country, originally by train, stopping at small communities to address voters.
to take a trip consisting of several brief, usually overnight, stops.


occurring at a whistle stop; consisting of whistle stops: a whistle-stop speech; a whistle-stop tour of the Northwest.

Origin of whistle-stop

First recorded in 1950–55
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for whistle stop

  • Seventy-five miles south of Chicago there is a whistle-stop called Shipmont.

    The Fourth R|George Oliver Smith

British Dictionary definitions for whistle stop

whistle stop


US and Canadian
  1. a minor railway station where trains stop only on signal
  2. a small town having such a station
  1. a brief appearance in a town, esp by a political candidate to make a speech, shake hands, etc
  2. (as modifier)a whistle-stop tour

verb whistle-stop -stops, -stopping or -stopped

(intr) to campaign for office by visiting many small towns to give short speeches
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