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Three typical whisks (sense 2): one French whisk and two balloon whisks.
A gravy whisk.


  • IPA(key): /(h)wɪsk/
    • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪsk

Etymology 1[edit]

Middle English [Term?], from Old Norse visk[1][2], from Proto-Germanic *wiskaz, *wiskō (bundle of hay, wisp), from Proto-Indo-European *weys-.

Cognate with Danish visk, Dutch wis, German Wisch, Latin virga (rod, switch), viscus (entrails), Lithuanian vizgéti (to tremble), Czech vechet (wisp of straw), Sanskrit वेष्क (veṣka, noose). Compare also Old English wiscian (to plait), granwisc (awn).

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


whisk (plural whisks)

  1. A quick, light sweeping motion.
    With a quick whisk, she swept the cat from the pantry with her broom.
  2. A kitchen utensil, now usually made from stiff wire loops fixed to a handle (and formerly of twigs), used for whipping (or a mechanical device with the same function).
    He used a whisk to whip up a light and airy souffle.
  3. A bunch of twigs or hair etc, used as a brush.
    Peter dipped the whisk in lather and applied it to his face, so he could start shaving.
  4. A small handheld broom with a small (or no) handle.
    I used a whisk to sweep the counter, then a push-broom for the floor.
  5. A plane used by coopers for evening chines.
  6. A kind of cape, forming part of a woman's dress.


whisk (third-person singular simple present whisks, present participle whisking, simple past and past participle whisked)

  1. (transitive) To move something with quick light sweeping motions.
    Vernon whisked the sawdust from his workbench.
  2. (transitive) In cooking, to whip e.g. eggs or cream.
    • 2012 May 8, Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook[1], Random House, →ISBN, page 79:
      First, marinate the tofu. In a bowl, whisk the kecap manis, chilli sauce, and sesame oil together. Cut the tofu into strips about 1cm thick, mix gently (so it doesn't break) with the marinade and leave in the fridge for half an hour.
    The chef prepared to whisk the egg whites for the angel's food cake.
  3. (transitive) To move something rapidly and with no warning.
    • July 3, 1769, Horace Walpole, letter to the Earl of Strafford
      I beg she would not impale worms, nor whisk carp out of one element into another.
    The governess whisked the children from the room before they could see their presents.
  4. (intransitive) To move lightly and nimbly.
    The children whisked down the road to the fair, laughing and chattering as they went.
  5. (transitive) To move whiskers.


  1. ^ According to ODS eng. (vist laant fra nord.) whisk, the English (certainly borrowed from Old Norse) whisk
  2. ^ Etymology in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary

Etymology 2[edit]

So called from the rapid action of sweeping the cards off the table after a trick has been won.


whisk (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) The card game whist.
    • 1621, John Taylor, Taylor's Motto:
      Trump, noddy, whisk, hole []




  1. five


  • Blair A. Rudes (1981), “A sketch of the Nottoway language from a historical-comparative perspective”, in International Journal of American Linguistics, volume 47, issue 1, page 47