Definition of whammy in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈ(h)wamē/

noun (plural whammies)

1An event with a powerful and unpleasant effect; a blow: the third whammy was the degradation of the financial system See also double whammy.
More example sentences
  • Mr Denham's departure was the third blow of a triple whammy that saw Leader of the House Robin Cook and two junior ministers, including Mr Denham, quit their jobs.
  • He said: ‘This is very much a triple whammy for the motorist and even a quadruple whammy if you happen to drive a diesel-powered vehicle.’
  • Playing the what-if game, the U.S. could face a quadruple whammy if OPEC stops cheating and Venezuela doesn't get its act together and a war disrupts Middle Eastern oil and we get a very cold winter.
1.1chiefly US An evil or unlucky influence: I’ve come to put the whammy on them
More example sentences
  • Using 11 ‘magical crystals’ and a giant crystal ‘to receive and transmit positive thoughts,’ Geller put the whammy on the opposition.


1940s: from the noun wham + -y1; associated from the 1950s with the comic strip Li'l Abner, in which the hillbilly Evil-Eye Fleagle could “shoot a whammy” (put a curse on somebody) by pointing a finger with one eye open, and a 'double whammy' with both eyes open.

  • A whammy is an evil influence or hex ( see hag), formed from wham, which itself is an imitation of the sound of a forcible impact and has only been around since the 1920s. Whammy has been used since the 1940s but is particularly associated with the 1950s cartoon strip ‘Li'l Abner’, in which the hillbilly Evil-Eye Fleegle could shoot a single whammy to put a curse on somebody by pointing a finger with one eye open, and a double whammy with both eyes open.

Words that rhyme with whammy

chamois, clammy, gammy, Grammy, hammy, jammy, mammae, mammee, Miami, ramie, rammy, Sammy, shammy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wham·my

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