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See also: WHIP



From Middle English whippen, wippen (to flap violently), from Middle Dutch wippen (to swing, leap, dance, oscillate) and Middle Low German wippen (to move quickly), from Proto-Germanic *wipjaną (to move back and forth). Some similarity to Sanskrit root वेप् (vep, shake, flourish), Latin vibrō (I shake). (See Swedish vippa and Danish vippe (to shake)).

The unetymological wh- is probably expressive of the sound of a whip; compare the same development in whisk and onomatopoeias such as whack and whoosh.

The political senses are from whipper-in (huntsman who keeps the hounds from wandering), 18th century hunting terminology.


  • enPR: wĭp, IPA(key): /wɪp/
  • Rhymes: -ɪp
  • (file)
  • enPR: hwĭp, IPA(key): /ʍɪp/


whip (plural whips)

  1. A lash; a pliant, flexible instrument, such as a rod (commonly of cane or rattan) or a plaited or braided rope or thong (commonly of leather) used to create a sharp "crack" sound for directing or herding animals.
    I had to use the whip to get the sheep's attention.
    1. The same instrument used to strike a person or animal for corporal punishment or torture.
      Once he ran out of appeals, he knew he would soon feel the sting of the whip.
  2. A blow administered with a whip.
    • 1832, The Atheneum, volume 31, page 493:
      I had hardly said the word, when Kit jumped into the saddle, and gave his horse a whip and a spur — and off it cantered, as if it were in as great a hurry to be married as Kit himself.
  3. (hunting) A whipper-in.
    • 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair [], London: Bradbury and Evans [], published 1848, →OCLC:
      At half-past ten, Tom Moody, Sir Huddlestone Fuddlestone's huntsman, was seen trotting up the avenue, followed by the noble pack of hounds in a compact body—the rear being brought up by the two whips clad in stained scarlet frocks—light hard-featured lads on well-bred lean horses, possessing marvellous dexterity in casting the points of their long heavy whips at the thinnest part of any dog's skin who dares to straggle from the main body []
    • 1928, Siegfried Sassoon, Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man, Penguin, published 2013, page 27:
      From the far side of the wood came the long shrill screech [] which signifies that one of the whips has viewed the fox quitting the covert.
  4. (politics) A member of a political party who is in charge of enforcing the party's policies in votes.
    Synonyms: party whip, whipper-in
    I was going to vote against the bill, but the party whip came to see me and made it clear I needed to vote for it.
    • 2022 June 30, “Tory deputy chief whip resigns after ‘drunkenly groping two men’”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The Conservative deputy chief whip has resigned after admitting he had “embarrassed myself and other people” following reports that he drunkenly groped two men at a private club.
    • 2022 November 16, Christian Wolmar, “Can Merriman use his rail knowledge to make a difference?”, in RAIL, number 970, page 44:
      Therefore, welcome new Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper, a man about whom even my esteemed political journalist friends know little - apart from the fact he was once Chief Whip, a job that requires knowing about every Tory MP's misdemeanours.
  5. (UK politics, with definite article) A document distributed weekly to MPs by party whips informing them of upcoming votes in parliament.
  6. (UK politics, by extension) The regular status of an MP within a parliamentary party, which can be revoked by the party as a disciplinary measure.
    to withdraw the whip
    • 2022 July 20, Heather Stewart, “Tobias Ellwood temporarily given back Tory whip to vote in leadership contest”, in The Guardian[2]:
      As a result, he was stripped of the whip on Tuesday, preventing him from voting in the fourth ballot to narrow down candidates to be the next party leader.
    • 2022 December 7, Peter Walker, “Row grows over Matt Hancock’s announcement he is quitting as MP”, in The Guardian[3]:
      In the letter, Hancock said he had spoken to the Conservatives’ chief whip, Simon Hart, last week, and been told the whip would be restored in time, “but that is now not necessary” – meaning he will sit as an independent until the next election.
  7. Whipped cream.
    Did you want to add some whip to your coffee, ma'am?
  8. (nautical) A purchase in which one block is used to gain a 2:1 mechanical advantage.
  9. (African-American Vernacular, MTE) A mode of personal motorized transportation; an automobile, all makes and models including motorcycles, excluding public transportation.
    • 2015, Stormzy (lyrics and music), “Shut Up” (track 15), in Gang Signs & Prayer, performed by Stormzy:
      Had four bills and I bought me a car / Little red whip that I bought for my marge
    • 2017, Stormzy, Return of the Rucksack:
      Big whip I'm underground parking
    Come on, let's take my whip so we can get there in time.
  10. (roller derby) A move in which one player transfers momentum to another.
    Hyponym: hip whip
  11. A whipping motion; a thrashing about.
    I was startled by the whip of the rope when it finally snapped.
  12. The quality of being whiplike or flexible; suppleness, as of the shaft of a golf club.
  13. Any of various pieces that operate with a quick vibratory motion
    1. A spring in certain electrical devices for making a circuit
    2. (music) A wippen, a rocking component in certain piano actions.
  14. (historical) A coach driver; a coachman.
    • 1871, Baily's Magazine of Sports & Pastimes, volume 20, page 308:
      Lord Carington [] led the way with his chestnuts, having a distinguished brother whip, Lord Londesborough, by his side.



Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



whip (third-person singular simple present whips, present participle whipping, simple past and past participle whipped)

  1. (transitive) To hit with a whip.
    The rider whipped the horse.
  2. (transitive, by extension) To hit with any flexible object.
    I whipped her with a newspaper.
  3. (transitive, slang) To defeat, as in a contest or game.
    • 2008, Edward Keating, The Joy of Ex: A Novel:
      She whips me in the first game of pool, I do not even get a shot. Eight-balled from the break.
  4. (transitive) To mix in a rapid aerating fashion, especially food.
    to whip eggs or cream
  5. (transitive) To urge into action or obedience.
    He whipped the department into shape.
  6. (transitive, politics) To enforce a member voting in accordance with party policy.
  7. (transitive, nautical) To bind the end of a rope with twine or other small stuff to prevent its unlaying: fraying or unravelling.
    • 1677-1683, Joseph Moxon, Mechanick exercises
      Its string [] is firmly whipt about with small Gut
  8. (transitive, nautical) To hoist or purchase by means of a whip.
  9. To sew lightly; specifically, to form (a fabric) into gathers by loosely overcasting the rolled edge and drawing up the thread.
    to whip a ruffle
  10. (transitive) To throw or kick an object at a high velocity.
    He whipped the ball at me.
    • 2010 December 29, Chris Whyatt, “Chelsea 1 - 0 Bolton”, in BBC[4]:
      Composed play then saw Sam Ricketts nutmeg Ashley Cole before Taylor whipped a fine curling effort over Petr Cech's bar.
  11. (transitive, intransitive) To fish a body of water especially by making repeated casts.
  12. (intransitive) To snap back and forth like a whip.
    The pennants whipped in the wind.
  13. (intransitive) To move very fast.
    The wind whipped through the valley.
  14. (transitive) To move (something) very fast; often with up, out, etc.
  15. (transitive, roller derby) To transfer momentum from one skater to another.
  16. (figurative) To lash with sarcasm, abuse, etc.
  17. To thrash; to beat out, as grain, by striking.
    to whip wheat


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Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from whip (verb)


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


  • Samuel Johnson, John Walker, Robert S. Jameson: 1828. A dictionary of the English language 2nd edition. Publisher: William Pickering, 1828. 831 pages. Page 818. Google Public Domain Books : [5]

Further reading[edit]