verb (used with object)

to twist into a wisp.

Origin of wisp

1300–50; Middle English wisp, wips; akin to wipe
Related formswisp·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for wisp

tuft, snippet, string, thread, lock, shock, twist, shred, bit, piece

Examples from the Web for wisp

Contemporary Examples of wisp

Historical Examples of wisp

  • "Sure I'm only rowling a wisp of straw on my leg," replied Hosey.

  • Good Indian twisted a wisp of mane in his fingers, and frowned abstractedly.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • She withdrew her arm from his and struck him lightly with a wisp of hay.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • The visitor, by its attraction, drew from the nebula a wisp of gas.

    The Meaning of Evolution

    Samuel Christian Schmucker

  • A wisp of her hair caressed his right ear, but somehow did not relax his temper.

British Dictionary definitions for wisp



a thin, light, delicate, or fibrous piece or strand, such as a streak of smoke or a lock of hair
a small bundle, as of hay or straw
anything slender and delicatea wisp of a girl
a mere suggestion or hint
a flock of birds, esp snipe


(intr often foll by away) to move or act like a wisp
(tr) mainly British dialect to twist into a wisp
(tr) mainly British to groom (a horse) with a wisp of straw, etc
Derived Formswisplike, adjective

Word Origin for wisp

C14: variant of wips, of obscure origin; compare wipe


n acronym for

Wireless Information Service Provider: an internet service provider set up to deal with and deliver internet services to clients through wireless access points
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 wisp

c.1300, "handful or bundle of hay, grass, etc.," used for burning or cleaning or as a cushion; perhaps from an unrecorded Old English word, cognate with Norwegian and Swedish visp "wisp," of unknown origin; sometimes said to be connected with whisk or with Middle Low German and Middle Dutch wispel "a measure of grain." Meaning "thin, filmy portion" first attested 1836.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper