Definition of whimper in US English:



[no object]
  • 1(of a person or animal) make a series of low, feeble sounds expressive of fear, pain, or discontent.

    ‘a child in a bed nearby began to whimper’
    • ‘His protests do sound like whimpering, but that said, damn, can he ever pen a tune.’
    • ‘‘Right now all you do is try not to squint or whimper at the pain,’ he said as he began to walk behind her.’
    • ‘The little girl fell silent, whimpering in pain from the tight grip he had on her hair.’
    • ‘Just then we heard the courthouse doors open and the sound of a dog whimpering.’
    • ‘Janie was crying, whimpering in pain and the fact that she couldn't even try to bring her head back inside, such was her hurt.’
    • ‘Yesterday John lay in Sulaimania emergency hospital, whimpering with pain.’
    • ‘Gillian whimpers as the dull pain in her side turns into a sharp throbbing pain.’
    • ‘My head began to throb violently, making me want to whimper in pain.’
    • ‘Alla said children whimpered in fear, and all around there was screaming and crying.’
    • ‘One of them planted a punch into his stomach, causing the Doctor to sink to his knees, whimpering in pain.’
    • ‘They heard one last ear-piercing shriek and then the sound of the wolf whimpering as though it had been hurt.’
    • ‘After that he just started whimpering and I began to feel sorry for him.’
    • ‘Afraid for the first time of the darkness, he began to whimper in fear.’
    • ‘Suddenly, she heard something that sounded like a child whimpering to her right.’
    • ‘She rushed over to the cradle where her infant daughter lay, whimpering in fear.’
    • ‘It would have been sort of amusing if I wasn't whimpering with pain and olfactory overload.’
    • ‘As she drove to Wythenshawe Hospital, she says, Flynn started to have difficulty breathing and was whimpering in pain.’
    • ‘The man on the table whimpered at the sound of the metal hook, clattering to the floor.’
    • ‘She was still whimpering with pain when we arrived but incredibly we were confronted with a pay and display car park!’
    • ‘He whimpered, as the pain spread from his toes to his ankles and his arms to his barrel chest.’
    whine, cry, sniffle, snivel, sob, moan, bleat, mewl, wail, groan
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    1. 1.1with direct speech Say something in a low, feeble voice expressive of fear or pain.
      ‘“He's not dead, is he?” she whimpered’


  • 1A low, feeble sound expressive of fear or pain.

    ‘she gave a little whimper of protest’
    • ‘The disembodied voices were most striking - patients' miserable repeated calls for help, muted protests, inarticulate moans, and whimpers.’
    • ‘A soft whimper echoed through the cavern, and he stopped.’
    • ‘Maybe it was the tinny glint from the knife or the sound of her hoarse whimpers but something made him act.’
    • ‘We often hear some muffled whimpers in the background.’
    • ‘Her voice once light and melodic now deep and whispery, whimpers and moans sounding out into the night to join the other sounds.’
    • ‘If it wasn't about milk, I'd sit with her in the crook of my arm, holding her on my shoulder and rocking her until her shrill cries were reduced to whimpers.’
    • ‘He whines, whimpers and barks at anything that dares enter our garden, even if it's only birds doing a fly over.’
    • ‘They remained that way for quite some time, long after she was out of tears and just continued to let out dry whimpers.’
    • ‘But still, in my head, I can hear her little whimpers from last night, see her hands reaching out even in sleep for warmth and comfort.’
    • ‘After a few minutes her sobs changed to whimpers.’
    • ‘I didn't even slow down as she was bowled over sideways, crumbling into a foetal position of grass stains and whimpers.’
    • ‘There was something desperate about it, watching them wander away and out of sight and for ages I just stood where they had left me and let out small involuntary whimpers.’
    • ‘Michael slowly opened his eyes to the sound of a child's whimpers, for a moment he was completely confused, then he remembered: His children were home.’
    • ‘As planes full of holidaymakers thundered overhead, the whimpers of a three-month-old child abandoned by his mother and father went almost unnoticed.’
    whine, cry, sniffle, snivel, sob, moan, bleat, mewl, wail, groan
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1a whimper A feeble or anticlimactic tone or ending.
      ‘their first appearance in the top flight ended with a whimper rather than a bang’
      • ‘Contrary to every expectation, its advent has been greeted with more of a bang than a whimper.’
      • ‘This insight goes a long way to explain why the war ended as it did, with a whimper rather than a bang.’
      • ‘Help my pledge drive go out with a bang, not a whimper.’
      • ‘The question is, will he go out with a whimper, or a bang?’
      • ‘The love affair between business and Labour is ending with a whimper, not a bang.’
      • ‘They ended four hours and a couple hundred miles away in Virginia, succumbing to the normal internal tensions and apathy, the all-too-common whimper instead of a bang.’
      • ‘Well, to use the cliché, it ended with a whimper, not a bang.’
      • ‘It's sad to see such a provocative thinker go out with a whimper instead of a bang.’
      • ‘How could he simply throw in the towel - not with a bang but a whimper - and in such an unseemly way?’
      • ‘Maybe the guy who predicted that the world will end with a whimper instead of a bang was right.’
      • ‘Bonfire night celebrations in Middleton, near Pickering, may go off with a whimper rather than a bang this year after the village bonfire party was cancelled.’
      • ‘Announcing his retirement at this week's Christmas concert at Selby Abbey, he went out not with a whimper but a bang, and a departing salvo aimed at New Labour.’
      • ‘It seems unfair that a man of such vitality, intelligence, and formidable personality ended his public career with more of a whimper than a bang.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it finished the year with a whimper, not a bang.’
      • ‘This conclusion comes with a bang, not a whimper and is the only possible finale for such a sizzling firework display of a book.’
      • ‘While has been completely subsumed by the with a whimper not a bang bowing out of Belle de Jour.’
      • ‘As that arch-modernist T. S. Eliot predicted, ‘This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.’’
      • ‘This was foreseeable because of the spectacular shift to the right; the post-war consensus ended not with a whimper but with a bang.’
      • ‘It could make such a difference to your day when you started with a bang, not a whimper!’
      • ‘They have to know they were lucky to get out of Miami with Kerry having scored a whimper rather than a bang.’


Early 16th century: from dialect whimp ‘to whimper’, of imitative origin.