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

1300–50; Middle English wisp, wips; akin to wipe

wisplike, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wisp (wɪsp)
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 delicate: a wisp of a girl
4.  a mere suggestion or hint
5.  a flock of birds, esp snipe
vb (often foll by away)
6.  to move or act like a wisp
7.  dialect chiefly (Brit) (tr) to twist into a wisp
8.  chiefly (Brit) (tr) to groom (a horse) with a wisp of straw, etc
[C14: variant of wips, of obscure origin; compare wipe]

WISP (wɪsp)
n acronym for
Wireless Information Service Provider: an internet service provider set up to deal with and deliver internet services to clients through wireless access points

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, "handful or bundle of hay, grass, etc.," used for burning or cleaning or as a cushion; perhaps from an unrecorded O.E. word, cognate with Norw. and Swed. visp "wisp," of unknown origin; sometimes said to be connected with whisk or with M.L.G. and M.Du. wispel "a measure of grain." Meaning "thin,
filmy portion" first attested 1836.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

Wisp definition

["An Experiment with a Self-Compiling Compiler for a Simple List-Processing Language", M.V. Wilkes, Ann Rev Automatic Programming 4:1-48. (1964)].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Example sentences
The goatee was gone, but the thin wisp of a moustache was evidence of my longing for manhood.
She gazes at the viewer, her face showing a wisp of a smile that seems to have been coaxed from off-camera.
For more than a generation, physicists have been chasing a will-o'-the-wisp called string theory.
He grasped at a wisp of music that had been winding through his dream, but it was gone.
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