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wisp

[wisp]
noun
  1. a handful or small bundle of straw, hay, or the like.
  2. any thin tuft, lock, mass, etc.: wisps of hair.
  3. a thin puff or streak, as of smoke; slender trace.
  4. a person or thing that is small, delicate, or barely discernible: a mere wisp of a lad; a wisp of a frown.
  5. a whisk broom.
  6. Chiefly British Dialect.
    1. a pad or twist of straw, as used to rub down a horse.
    2. a twisted bit of straw used as a torch.
  7. a will-o'-the-wisp or ignis fatuus.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to twist into a wisp.
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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. 2018

Examples from the Web for wisping

Historical Examples of wisping

  • He is remarkably neat in his person, wisping himself all over with hay for hours at a time.

    Punchinello, Vol. 2, No. 36, December 3, 1870

    Various


British Dictionary definitions for wisping

wisp

noun
  1. a thin, light, delicate, or fibrous piece or strand, such as a streak of smoke or a lock of hair
  2. a small bundle, as of hay or straw
  3. anything slender and delicatea wisp of a girl
  4. a mere suggestion or hint
  5. a flock of birds, esp snipe
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verb
  1. (intr often foll by away) to move or act like a wisp
  2. (tr) mainly British dialect to twist into a wisp
  3. (tr) mainly British to groom (a horse) with a wisp of straw, etc
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Derived Formswisplike, adjective

Word Origin for wisp

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

WISP

n acronym for
  1. Wireless Information Service Provider: an internet service provider set up to deal with and deliver internet services to clients through wireless access points
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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 wisping

wisp

n.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper