9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[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
  • They planted their seeds in lines that wriggled across the field, nudged here and there by whims of conversation.
  • You're more at the whims of ships that can drop you off and pick you up.
  • Unfortunately the boom when unattended or left to the whims of weather changes can be highly ineffective.
  • In the decade since they started, it has been an uphill struggle against tight budgets, political whims and local suspicion.
  • People were left to the whims of local climates, harsh winters caused failed crops or droughts causing failed crops.
  • Ethical issues aside, there is no naturalistic reason to favour the whims of those with large pockets and purses.
  • Even the whims and caprices of a tyrant may be of service in breaking the chain of custom which lies so heavy on the savage.
  • Unfortunately this enjoyment was disturbed, at first by numerous anxieties and whims, and then by this unpleasant task.
  • Instead, he has indulged his curiosities and whims, tending to a variety of smaller audiences.
  • One of my sultanic whims is to keep up with the box-office grosses and the different pop tunes.
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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