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From Middle English whynen, hwinen, whinen, from Old English hwīnan (to rush, to whizz, to squeal, to whine), from Proto-Germanic *hwīnaną, from Proto-Indo-European *ḱwey- (to hiss, whistle, whisper). Cognate with Old Norse hvína, whence Icelandic hvína, Norwegian hvine, Swedish vina, and Danish hvine.



whine (plural whines)

  1. a long-drawn, high-pitched complaining cry or sound
    • 2012 June 26, Genevieve Koski, “Music: Reviews: Justin Bieber: Believe”, in The Onion AV Club[1]:
      The 18-year-old Bieber can’t quite pull off the “adult” thing just yet: His voice may have dropped a bit since the days of “Baby,” but it still mostly registers as “angelic,” and veers toward a pubescent whine at times.
  2. (derogatory) a complaint or criticism

Related terms[edit]



whine (third-person singular simple present whines, present participle whining, simple past and past participle whined)

  1. (intransitive) To utter a high-pitched cry.
  2. (intransitive) To make a sound resembling such a cry.
    The jet engines whined at take off.
  3. (intransitive) To complain or protest with a whine or as if with a whine.
    • 1765, Catherine Jemmat, The Memoirs of Mrs. Catherine Jemmat, Daughter of the Late Admiral Yeo, of Plymouth. Written by Herself, volume I, 2nd edition, London: Printed for the author, at Charing-Cross, OCLC 316667080, page 145:
      [S]he was one of your ſoft ſpoken, canting, whining hypocrites, who with a truly jeſuitical art, could wreſt evil out of the moſt inoffenſive thought, word, look or action; []
  4. (intransitive) To move with a whining sound.
    The jet whined into the air.
  5. (transitive) To utter with the sound of a whine.
    The child whined all his complaints.
    Kelly Queen was whining that the boss made him put on his tie.



Middle English[edit]



  1. Alternative form of whynen