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[hwim, wim] /ʰwɪm, wɪm/
an odd or capricious notion or desire; a sudden or freakish fancy:
a sudden whim to take a midnight walk.
capricious humor:
to be swayed by whim.
Origin of whim
1635-45; short for whim-wham
1. whimsy, vagary, caprice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for whims
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Another of the whims of “Cobbler” Horn was his fondness for doing what his sister called “common” work.

    The Golden Shoemaker J. W. Keyworth
  • I was so weak in that creature's hands, that I obeyed all her whims.

    Carmen Prosper Merimee
  • Our whims and caprices are discanted on with apparent earnestness of truth, and seeming sincerity of conviction.

    The Drama Henry Irving
  • He was so glad then that he had been indulgent to her whims and caprices.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • The incident is characteristic both of Madame de Staël's moods and of the whims of the populace.

British Dictionary definitions for whims


a sudden, passing, and often fanciful idea; impulsive or irrational thought
a horse-drawn winch formerly used in mining to lift ore or water
Word Origin
C17: from whim-wham
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
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Word Origin and History for whims



1640s, "pun or play on words," shortened from whimwham "fanciful object" (q.v.). Meaning "sudden notion, fancy, or idea" first recorded 1690s, probably a shortened form of whimsy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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