a weak, ineffectual, timid person.

Verb Phrases

wimp out,
  1. to be or act like a wimp.
  2. to show timidity or cowardice; chicken out.

Origin of wimp

1915–20, Americanism; origin uncertain; cf. whimper




any of a group of weakly interacting elementary particles predicted by various unified field theories, as the W particle and Z-zero particle, that are characterized by relatively large masses.

Origin of WIMP

1985–90; W(eakly) I(nteracting) M(assive) P(article)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wimp

Contemporary Examples of wimp

  • Was he so determined not to look like an angry black man that he ended up looking ... kind of like a wimp?

    The Daily Beast logo
    Why Obama Lost

    David Frum

    October 4, 2012

  • All of us here at NewsBeast knew the word “wimp” would carry a charge and get people to pay attention.

  • Just by definition, you'd think, any American who plunges into what Teddy Roosevelt called "the arena," is no wimp.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Answering Tomasky

    David Frum

    July 30, 2012

  • On the cover of Newsweek, my colleague Michael Tomasky calls Mitt Romney a wimp.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Answering Tomasky

    David Frum

    July 30, 2012

  • The chapter titles say a lot: “Even More of a Wimp than Jimmy Carter,” “Not a Great Listener.”

Historical Examples of wimp

  • Mr. Wimp has found no possible clue to such conduct in his papers.

  • Grodman saw it and watched her, and fooled Wimp to the top of his bent.

  • And yet, had not Mrs. Wimp let out as much at the Christmas dinner?

  • Another of Wimp's grandmother-in-law's delusions was that Wimp had married to get her into the family.

  • Wimp did what work he could do at home in a secluded study at the top of the house.

British Dictionary definitions for wimp



informal a feeble ineffective personSee also wimp out
Derived Formswimpish or wimpy, adjective

Word Origin for wimp

C20: of unknown origin


acronym for

windows, icons, menus (or mice), pointers: denoting a type of user-friendly screen display used on small computersa WIMP system
physics weakly interacting massive particle
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 wimp

1920 (but not attested again until 1960), perhaps a clipped form of whimper (cf whimp, 1540s), perhaps influenced by J. Wellington Wimpy, comparatively unaggressive character in "Popeye" comics.


1986, with out (adv.), from wimp (n.). Related: Wimped; wimping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

wimp in Science



Short for weakly interacting massive particle. Any of various hypothetical particles, some predicted by certain theories such as supersymmetry, which interact with other particles by the force of gravity alone. WIMPs are considered by some scientists to be candidates for the dark matter that makes up much of the mass of the universe.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.