1325-75; (noun) Middle English (Scots) wysk rapid sweeping movement; (v.) earlier Scotswisk, quhisk < Scandinavian; compare Old Norse,Norwegianvisk wisp, Swedishviska besom, wisp, to whisk (off), Danishviske to wipe (compare Old High Germanwisken to wipe, wisc wisp of hay); for development of wh cf. whip
late 14c., "quick stroke, sweeping movement," probably from O.N. visk "wisp," from P.Gmc. *wisk- "move quickly" (cf. M.Du. wisch, Du. wis, O.H.G. wisc, Ger. wisch "wisp, brush"), from PIE base *weis- "to turn, twist" (cf. Skt. veskah "noose," Czech vechet "a wisp of straw"). Meaning "implement for beating eggs, etc." first recorded 1570s.
c.1480, from a Scand. source (cf. Dan. viske, Norw., Swed. viska) related to O.E. wiscian "to plait," weoxian "to clean" (with a whisk or brush), granwisc "awn" (see whisk (n.)).