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Alternative forms[edit]


Probably from whims +‎ -y. Related to whim-wham, whim.


  • IPA(key): /ˈwɪmzi/, /ˈʍɪmzi/
  • (file)


whimsy (usually uncountable, plural whimsies)

  1. A quaint and fanciful idea; a whim; playfully odd behaviour.
    • 1691 February 24, Jonathan Swift, “Ode, to the Athenian Society. []”, in Thomas Sheridan and John Nichols, editors, The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, [], volume VII, new edition, London: [] J[oseph] Johnson, [], published 1801, OCLC 1184656746, stanza VII, page 16:
      These days! where e'en th' extravagance of poetry, / Is at a loss for figures to express / Men's folly, whimsies, and inconstancy, / And by a faint description makes them less.
    • 1692 September 15, Richard Bentley, A Confutation of Atheism from the Structure and Origin of Humane Bodies. The Third and Last Part. [], London: [] Henry Mortlock, [], published 1692, OCLC 84046476, page 23:
      [A]ll the ridiculous and extravagant ſhapes that can be imagin'd, all the fancies and whimſies of Poets and Painters and Ægyptian Idolaters, if ſo be they are conſiſtent with Life and Propagation, would be now actually in Being, if our Atheiſt's Notion were true: []
    • 2012 May 27, Nathan Rabin, “The Simpsons (Classic): ‘New Kid on the Block[season 4, episode 8; originally aired 12 November 1992]”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 18 September 2020:
      It’s a lovely sequence cut too short because the show seems afraid to give itself over to romance and whimsy and wistfulness when it has wedgie jokes to deliver.
  2. An impulsive, illogical or capricious character.
  3. (mining) A whim (capstan or vertical drum).
  4. A jigsaw puzzle piece that has been cut into a recognizable shape, as if on a whim; often the shape is representative of the theme of the image used for the puzzle.
    • 2016 January 29, Krister Johnson, “One Million Saved”, in Childrens Hospital, season 7, episode 2:
      "Dori, you have to solve this puzzle!" / "Sure, right away doctor. Quality construction … clean edges. Oh, a whimsy!"



whimsy (third-person singular simple present whimsies, present participle whimsying, simple past and past participle whimsied)

  1. (transitive) To fill with whimsies or whims; to make fantastic; to craze.
    • 1624 (first performance), John Fletcher, Rvle a VVife and Have a VVife. A Comoedy. [], Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] Leonard Lichfield [], published 1640, OCLC 960101958, Act II, scene [ii], page 16:
      A wantonneſſe in wealth, methinks I agree not with, / Tis ſuch a trouble to be married too, / And have a thouſand things of great importance, / Jewells and plates, and fooleries moleſt mee, / To have a mans brains whimſied with his wealth: []