Definition of whim in US English:

whim

noun

  • 1A sudden desire or change of mind, especially one that is unusual or unexplained.

    ‘she bought it on a whim’
    ‘he appeared and disappeared at whim’
    • ‘It's absurd to suggest that decisions like these can be taken on a whim by the Home Secretary.’
    • ‘The assumption that Her Excellency just spent money on a whim is just plain wrong.’
    • ‘On a whim, I responded to one of them, asking whether she ever comes into Center City.’
    • ‘Do I renew those two domain names that I bought on a whim when they seemed like a good idea?’
    • ‘He opened the door on a whim, expecting nothing, but instead, he was faced with four sets of eyes.’
    • ‘Apparently on a whim, Wonka suddenly decides to reopen his doors to five children.’
    • ‘Recorded in 1987 and conceived on a whim, it was a source of irritation to the band themselves.’
    • ‘I guess we shouldn't be so surprised that Tizard leaves meetings on a whim.’
    • ‘This one was bought on a whim one bright Sunday afternoon in 1997, from Clone Zone on Old Compton Street.’
    • ‘On a whim I pulled up the posters that lined the bottom of the cupboard.’
    • ‘I don't just go flying around the country on a whim, dammit, I'm a penniless student!’
    • ‘Regulations seem to be introduced, on a whim or a supposition, without any thought about how they are going to be enforced.’
    • ‘She did it on a whim when the opportunity presented itself, and she died four days later.’
    • ‘But the lesson Ken must learn from this is not to even consider spending so much of the council's money on a whim.’
    • ‘One of my ancestors could have got really fed up with the weather in the middle of a dull March in 1700 and moved off to Wisconsin on a whim.’
    • ‘When I started this weblog last October, it was more or less on a whim.’
    • ‘I suppose one of the plus sides to being single now is that if I fancy take-out I can order it on a whim.’
    • ‘Typically the new apparel has been purchased on a whim since the user is aware that the existing pant selection is starting to show its age.’
    • ‘After the war Doohan on a whim enrolled in a drama class in Toronto.’
    • ‘A player who is selected on a whim could just as easily be dropped on a whim.’
    impulse, urge, notion, fancy, whimsy, foible, idea, caprice, conceit, vagary, kink, megrim, crotchet, craze, fad, passion, inclination, bent
    capriciousness, whimsy, caprice, volatility, fickleness, idiosyncrasy, eccentricity, unpredictability
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic A windlass for raising ore or water from a mine.

    • ‘Work was soon hampered by an inflow of large volumes of underground water in several shafts, keeping the whims occupied day and night.’

Origin

Late 17th century: of unknown origin. whim (sense 2) (mid 18th century) is a transferred use.

Pronunciation

whim

/(h)wim//(h)wɪm/