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[hwip-lash, wip-] /ˈʰwɪpˌlæʃ, ˈwɪp-/
the lash of a whip.
an abrupt snapping motion or change of direction resembling the lash of a whip.
Also, whiplash injury. a neck injury caused by a sudden jerking backward, forward, or both, of the head:
Whiplash resulted when their car was struck from behind.
Also called whiplash curve. a connected series of reverse curves of more or less elliptical form, used as a major design motif in the Art Nouveau style.
verb (used with object)
to beat, hit, throw, etc., with or as if with a whiplash.
to affect adversely, as by a sudden change:
new taxes whiplashing corporate earnings.
1565-75; 1950-55 for def 6; whip + lash1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for whiplash injury

whiplash injury

(med, informal) any injury to the neck resulting from a sudden thrusting forwards and snapping back of the unsupported head Technical name hyperextension-hyperflexion injury


a quick lash or stroke of a whip or like that of a whip
(med) See whiplash injury
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for whiplash injury



1570s, "the lash of a whip," from whip (n.) + lash (n.). The injury caused by sudden head motion so called by 1955, in reference to the notion of moving to and fro like a cracking whip. The verb in this sense is recorded by 1971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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whiplash injury in Medicine

whiplash injury n.
A hyperextension-hyperflexion injury to the cervical spine caused by an abrupt jerking movement of the head, either in a backward or forward direction.

whiplash whip·lash (wĭp'lāsh')
Whiplash injury.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for whiplash injury


injury to the cervical spine and its soft tissues caused by forceful flexion or extension of the neck, especially that occurring during an automobile accident. It may involve sprain, fracture, or dislocation and may vary greatly in location, extent, and degree. Sometimes it is accompanied by concussion. Whiplash is characterized by pain, muscle spasm, and limited motion. Treatment includes protective support for the neck and back and sometimes the attachment of weights to the head or legs to stretch the injured muscles and relieve pressure on nerves.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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