Definition of whammy in English:

whammy

Line breaks: whammy
Pronunciation: /ˈwami
 
/

noun (plural whammies)

informal
  • 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.
  • 2chiefly 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.

Origin

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

More definitions of whammy

Definition of whammy in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmeɪlstrəm
noun
a powerful whirlpool in the sea