Definition of wisp in English:



  • 1A small thin or twisted bunch, piece, or amount of something.

    ‘wisps of smoke rose into the air’
    • ‘He wore a thin metal belt on his head that allowed wisps of his blond hair to part in the middle.’
    • ‘She suggests the goggles' straps with abbreviated wisps of graphite that twist and whip about the page.’
    • ‘Other pieces offer the barest wisps of melody, relying on the group's ability to generate structure spontaneously.’
    • ‘I looked out the open door and saw the thin wisps of gas just floating around in mid-air.’
    • ‘I could tell because there were a couple of wisps of purplish smoke wafting around the light fixtures a minute after I said it.’
    • ‘Above the red tile roofs, wisps of smoke drifted from the chimneys.’
    • ‘Outside it is cold, and thin wisps of fog are unwinding along the damp length of Baker Street.’
    • ‘We woke to a calm and crisp morning with a light frost on our sleeping bags, below a beautiful blue sky with wisps of cloud streaking above the lake, which lay as a blue sea below us.’
    • ‘For the main course, having opted not to have a starter, Paula chose the Chinese-style beef fillet which arrived garnished with wisps of potato and noodles.’
    • ‘She noticed long ears protruding from the thin wisps of hair.’
    • ‘They only let out a faint wisp of their emotion.’
    • ‘Her red hair was pulled backward into a bun, and two thin wisps of hair dangled near her eyes.’
    • ‘His are fantasies with hanging beads and wisps of feathers and leather straps as thin as ribbon.’
    • ‘A small fire crackled in the fireplace, thin wisps of smoke curling up the sturdy brick chimney.’
    • ‘The mistakes I made could have happened with any recipe, so these wisps of wisdom should come in handy even when not cooking meatloaf.’
    • ‘Her hair was up in a French twist with a few wisps of hair framing her face.’
    • ‘As the aircraft continues to teeter absurdly on the edge of the sky, little pain-flavoured wisps of memories will start to taunt him.’
    • ‘They consist of complex cross-bedded sands commonly enclosing thin wisps of muddy sediment.’
    • ‘Dreams came to me, like wisps of fog in the night sky.’
    • ‘She nearly leaps with joy feeling a faint wisp of his breath upon her sensitive skin.’
    strand, tendril, lock
    piece, scrap, shred, thread
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A small bunch of hay or straw used for drying or grooming a horse.
    2. 1.2A small, thin person, typically a child.
      ‘a fourteen-year-old wisp of a girl’
      • ‘It was hilarious to see how hard the boy was trying to intimidate a small wisp of a girl and failing miserably.’
      • ‘She saw a mass of copper hair on a tiny wisp of a girl with the palest skin she had ever seen.’
      • ‘He pointed to a dark wisp of a girl who watched the boat-boy from a shady spot under the olives.’
      • ‘Ash Beck, a thin wisp of a person, pushed through the crowd and ran to where Ian lay.’
      • ‘My grandma, after whom I am named, was said to be a cheerfully energetic thin wisp of a woman.’
      • ‘Standing quickly, the nurse steadied the wisp of a girl with a strong hand.’
      • ‘A skinny wisp of a young woman entered the room, timidly opening the door to the side to allow her entrance.’
      • ‘Then while gazing at her tear streaked face he saw her chin quiver and his heart was charmed by this small wisp of a lass, until, that is, he looked at what she held in her hands.’
      • ‘Edouard Collin is a tall wisp of a French teenager, all well-tanned Parisian sinew with a sharp-angled, warmly expressive face born to be placed in front of a camera.’
      • ‘The wisp of a girl would pass the final set of tests.’
      • ‘Grace was crouched in front of a small wisp of a girl.’
      • ‘She's just a young wisp of a girl, and very sensitive to boot: Scold her in the slightest, and she dissolves into hysterics.’
      • ‘Turning, she saw the voice's owner, a thin wisp of a man in strange white clothing.’
      • ‘‘I don't know, Rifka,’ I whispered, hugging the little blond wisp of a child close to me.’
  • 2rare A flock of snipe.

    ‘a wisp of snipe utter their well-known cry’
    • ‘I never saw but two ducks and one wild wisp of snipes.’
    • ‘If a man hears of a wisp of snipe in any particular place, he must be off at once.’
    • ‘As soon as a wisp of snipes arrive, off starts our mercury with the glad tidings.’
    • ‘We unexpectedly flushed a wisp of snipe.’
    • ‘Suddenly, up got such a wisp of snipe, under my very feet, that I am bound to say I missed both barrels’


Middle English: origin uncertain; perhaps related to whisk.