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’
    • ‘Alla said children whimpered in fear, and all around there was screaming and crying.’
    • ‘She rushed over to the cradle where her infant daughter lay, whimpering in fear.’
    • ‘Just then we heard the courthouse doors open and the sound of a dog whimpering.’
    • ‘Afraid for the first time of the darkness, he began to whimper in fear.’
    • ‘They heard one last ear-piercing shriek and then the sound of the wolf whimpering as though it had been hurt.’
    • ‘My head began to throb violently, making me want to whimper in pain.’
    • ‘It would have been sort of amusing if I wasn't whimpering with pain and olfactory overload.’
    • ‘His protests do sound like whimpering, but that said, damn, can he ever pen a tune.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After that he just started whimpering and I began to feel sorry for him.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘The man on the table whimpered at the sound of the metal hook, clattering to the floor.’
    • ‘Suddenly, she heard something that sounded like a child whimpering to her right.’
    • ‘He whimpered, as the pain spread from his toes to his ankles and his arms to his barrel chest.’
    • ‘As she drove to Wythenshawe Hospital, she says, Flynn started to have difficulty breathing and was whimpering in pain.’
    • ‘She was still whimpering with pain when we arrived but incredibly we were confronted with a pay and display car park!’
    • ‘One of them planted a punch into his stomach, causing the Doctor to sink to his knees, whimpering in pain.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As planes full of holidaymakers thundered overhead, the whimpers of a three-month-old child abandoned by his mother and father went almost unnoticed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After a few minutes her sobs changed to whimpers.’
    • ‘Her voice once light and melodic now deep and whispery, whimpers and moans sounding out into the night to join the other sounds.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The disembodied voices were most striking - patients' miserable repeated calls for help, muted protests, inarticulate moans, and whimpers.’
    • ‘I didn't even slow down as she was bowled over sideways, crumbling into a foetal position of grass stains 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘They have to know they were lucky to get out of Miami with Kerry having scored a whimper rather than a bang.’
      • ‘The question is, will he go out with a whimper, or a bang?’
      • ‘Help my pledge drive go out with a bang, not 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.’
      • ‘How could he simply throw in the towel - not with a bang but a whimper - and in such an unseemly way?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It could make such a difference to your day when you started with a bang, not a whimper!’
      • ‘This conclusion comes with a bang, not a whimper and is the only possible finale for such a sizzling firework display of a book.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it finished the year with a whimper, not a bang.’
      • ‘While has been completely subsumed by the with a whimper not a bang bowing out of Belle de Jour.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As that arch-modernist T. S. Eliot predicted, ‘This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.’’
      • ‘This insight goes a long way to explain why the war ended as it did, with a whimper rather than a bang.’
      • ‘Contrary to every expectation, its advent has been greeted with more of a bang than a whimper.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The love affair between business and Labour is ending with a whimper, not a bang.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Maybe the guy who predicted that the world will end with a whimper instead of a bang was right.’


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