[ hwis-ling, wis- ]
/ ˈʰwɪs lɪŋ, ˈwɪs- /


the act of a person or thing that whistles.
the sound produced.
Veterinary Pathology. a form of roaring characterized by a peculiarly shrill sound.

Nearby words

  1. whistleblower,
  2. whistler,
  3. whistler's mother,
  4. whistler, james,
  5. whistler, james abbott mcneill,
  6. whistling buoy,
  7. whistling duck,
  8. whistling swan,
  9. whit,
  10. whit monday

Origin of whistling

before 900; Middle English; Old English hwistlung. See whistle, -ing1

Origin of whistle

before 950; (v.) Middle English whistlen, Old English hwistlian; akin to Old Norse hvīsla to whistle, hviskra to whisper; see whine; (noun) Middle English; Old English hwistle instrument, akin to the v.

Related formswhis·tle·a·ble, adjectivein·ter·whis·tle, verb (used with object), in·ter·whis·tled, in·ter·whis·tling.un·whis·tled, adjective

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

Examples from the Web for whistling

British Dictionary definitions for whistling


/ (ˈwɪslɪŋ) /


vet science a breathing defect of horses characterized by a high-pitched sound with each intake of airCompare roaring (def. 6)


/ (ˈwɪsəl) /



Word Origin for whistle

Old English hwistlian; related to Old Norse hvīsla

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 whistling
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with whistling


In addition to the idioms beginning with whistle

  • whistle Dixie
  • whistle for
  • whistle in the dark

also see:

  • blow the whistle on
  • clean as a whistle
  • slick as a whistle
  • wet one's whistle
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.