[ 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.

Origin of whistling

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

Definition for whistling (2 of 2)

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 forms

whis·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 (1 of 2)


/ (ˈwɪslɪŋ) /


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

British Dictionary definitions for whistling (2 of 2)


/ (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

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.