Definition of whip in English:

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Pronunciation: /wɪp/


1A strip of leather or length of cord fastened to a handle, used for flogging or beating a person or for urging on an animal.
Example sentences
  • I wouldn't be surprised if they walked around their office wearing tight leather and vinyl with whips and riding crops at their sides.
  • He makes handmade leather belts, whips and other items.
  • Some teachers also punish students by flogging them with whips made of rubber (from strips of old car tires), with heavier canes, or simply by slapping, kicking, or pinching them.
lash, scourge, thong, strap, belt;
crop, switch, birch, cane
historical cat-o'-nine-tails, cat, knout
1.1A blow with a whip or similar implement.
Example sentences
  • What my father didn't know was that my brother would look after me; if I got the whip, when my dad had left, Jonathan would always clean the blood off my back.
  • The slaves received the whip with more certainty and regularity than they received their food.
1.2Used to refer to something causing pain or acting as a stimulus to action: the team management had decided to crack the whip on player indiscipline
More example sentences
  • It also wants all broadcasters to provide news content for kids - and if this doesn't happen, it wants the regulator to crack the whip over dumbed-down channels.
  • With local authorities falling behind, the Scottish Executive must crack the whip and get things back on track.
  • I would crack the whip and get the band all together.
2An official of a political party appointed to maintain parliamentary discipline among its members, especially so as to ensure attendance and voting in debates.
Example sentences
  • It is almost certain that a government with a decent Parliamentary majority will win this as the bill represents what that government wants and the party whips will ensure that a smooth vote takes place.
  • Alex Johnstone, the parliamentary whip, said MSPs had only discussed a ‘broad position’.
  • Furthermore, the Prime Minister has had no difficulty in finding Parliamentary whips to organise majorities even for the most contentious legislation.
2.1British A written notice from a whip requesting attendance for voting. See also three-line whip.
Example sentences
  • One in seven Labour MPs defied the whip by voting against or abstaining.
  • Despite the party whip, 36 Labour MPs voted against the 42-day detention bill.
  • For the ANC, this has allowed us to prepare a one-page Weekly Whip for our Members, informing us exactly when each debate is to take place and whether there is a two or three-line whip.
2.2 (the whip) British Membership of the group of MPs that form the official, elected representation of a particular political party, together with the duties or rights associated with such membership: he resigned the Tory whip in protest at mine closures
More example sentences
  • The party's ruling council has been convened to debate disciplinary action against three MPs who have defied party policy and have resigned the whip at Westminster.
  • The MPs angered the party leadership in June by resigning the whip at Westminster in a row over policy.
  • The unions say the rebels should be ‘honest enough to resign the whip.’
3 [mass noun] A dessert consisting of cream or eggs beaten into a light fluffy mass with fruit, chocolate, or other ingredients.
Example sentences
  • The fritters and walnut whip are now ready to be enjoyed.
  • Learn how to make lemon whip by following this easy recipe.
4 short for whipper-in.
Example sentences
  • The ‘whips’ must not allow the hounds to go onto land where hunting is not permitted.
  • The whips go to the covert (a thicket or section of woods where the fox is supposed to be) and watch for the fox to go away, and then they signal the fox's escape from the covert.
5A slender, unbranched shoot or plant.
Example sentences
  • Each spring, bunches of whips grow out of these branches and away from the wall toward the sun.
6 [with modifier] North American A scythe for cutting specified crops: a grass whip
More example sentences
  • Help! My grass is out of control and I will need a grass whip to cut some places that I can't drive my lawn mower.
  • Today I’d like to spend a few minutes discussing what is commonly known as a weed whip or grass trimmer.
7A rope-and-pulley hoisting apparatus.
Example sentences
  • You can shorten the pulley whip down to 350mm although most that I know of go to about 400.
  • These whips are exceptionally strong and will not obstruct your waterfront view.
8US informal A car: I just got new wheels for my whip
More example sentences
  • He parks his whip right in his old neighborhood.
  • This song will sound ill in my whip this summer.
  • He appears to be driving her new whip, as he posted a picture of himself sitting on the Porsche.

verb (whips, whipping, whipped)

[with object]
1Beat (a person or animal) with a whip or similar instrument, especially as a punishment or to urge them on: Lewis whipped the boy twenty times
More example sentences
  • There they kicked us, beat us, whipped us with electric cables and shocked us with electricity!
  • Then he was dipped into a vat of water as he was whipped and beaten before being assaulted with an iron bar.
  • I went off to government boarding schools and there they used to whip you and beat you if you spoke your Indian language.
flog, scourge, flagellate, lash, birch, switch, tan, strap, belt, cane, thrash, beat, leather, tan/whip someone's hide, give someone a hiding, beat the living daylights out of
1.1(Of a flexible object or rain or wind) strike or beat violently: the wind whipped their faces
More example sentences
  • Out in the open sea, whipped by the wind, waves were bursting over the just-submerged reefs.
  • They're being whipped by winds of as much as 30 miles an hour.
  • Her blond hair was being whipped by the wind and behind her black clouds boiled and lightning flashed, or so it seemed to George and the woman.
1.2 informal (Of a player or team) defeat (a person or team) heavily in a sporting contest: he whipped the Brazilian 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
More example sentences
  • Playing soft in practice and hard in games is a lazy man's approach and you will get whipped by the teams that play hard in practice, too.
  • Look at our results this season and only two teams have whipped us, the Ospreys and Toulouse.
  • Promoters even brought Jim Jeffries out of retirement in 1910 in the expectation that he would whip Johnson.
2 [no object, with adverbial of direction] Move fast or suddenly in a specified direction: he whipped round to face them
More example sentences
  • He jerked upright, his head whipping around in her direction.
  • Shelby heard it, and her head whipped around in his direction.
  • I was startled, and my head whipped toward the direction of the voice.
2.1 [with object and adverbial of direction] Take out or move (something) fast or suddenly: he whipped out his revolver and shot him
More example sentences
  • He grabbed her arms suddenly and whipped her body around, moving her backwards until she was backed up against the wall, trapped.
  • The boys turned back to their bowling game, which as it turned out, was merely a contest to see who could whip the ball fastest down the lane.
  • She was suddenly aware of a presence beside her, and whipped her head about.
pull, whisk, snatch, pluck, tug, jerk, remove, take;
informal yank
3Beat (cream, eggs, or other food) into a froth.
Example sentences
  • You can whip melted chocolate like cream, the fat and the lecithin acting as a stabilizer for the foam.
  • Using the whipping attachments, whip the sugar and cream until medium stiff peaks are achieved.
  • Just before serving, gently whip the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla until it just starts to thicken.
whisk, beat, mix, stir
4British informal Steal (something): the escaper had whipped his overcoat
More example sentences
  • Christmas is special in many homes, but not when intruders whip four garden gnomes.
  • What's really annoying, from a sales assistant's point of view is when you look for something on the system and it says it's there, but you can't find it (probably because someone's whipped it) and the customer often then takes it out on you and you end up having a horrible day at work.
5Bind (something) with spirally wound twine: the side linings are whipped or hemmed
More example sentences
  • The edges are whipped with wool yarns.
5.1Sew or gather (something) with overcast stitches: she began whipping narrow lace along the top of the garment
More example sentences
  • Not only did they listen while they mixed cakes or whipped seams, but they often repeated in concert and memorized much of what was read to them.



when the whips are cracking

Australian /NZ When the action starts: snob he may be, but he’s always there when the whips are cracking
More example sentences
  • Potentially he could miss one or two weeks, but he'll certainly be available when the whips are cracking.
  • He is a class act and someone who will undoubtedly be there when the whips are cracking.
  • He said he would try to ensure they are there when the whips are cracking.

the whip hand

A position of power or control over someone: he had the whip hand over other members of the cabinet
More example sentences
  • He still has the whip hand, and concerns about his powers are spreading far beyond the elite of the Labour Party.
  • Other quoted car-dealer groups have also seen their values soar, buoyed by changes to regulations that once gave car makers the whip hand in their relationship with dealers, and by the strong British car market.
  • If they stick to their guns, to my mind great home cooks have the whip hand, delivering the most memorable, satisfying and delicious food you are ever likely to eat.
the upper hand, a commanding position, an/the edge, an advantage, a lead, a head start, ascendancy, superiority, supremacy, sway, control, predominance, power, mastery, dominance, command
rare prepotence, prepotency, paramountcy, prepollency

whips of

Australian /NZ Large quantities of: tea with whips of sugar
Late 19th century: from British English dialect whips 'lashings'

whip someone's ass

see ass2.

Phrasal verbs


whip in

Act as whipper-in.
Example sentences
  • Judith Keating whipped in for many years and was very active in the breeding and training of the hounds.

whip someone into

Urge or rouse someone into (a specified state or position): the radio host whipped his listeners into a frenzy
More example sentences
  • With the help of his trainer Percy, Hilary manages to whip Eddie into decent shape and secures a big fight.
  • It merely serves as a pretext to whip the country into a war frenzy and to justify insertion of large numbers of troops into Mesopotamia.
  • He will have his hands full if he intends to whip it into an effective agency.
rouse, stir up, excite, galvanize, electrify, stimulate, inspire, move, fire up, fire the enthusiasm of, fire the imagination of, get someone going, inflame, agitate, goad, provoke;
incite, egg on, spur on;
North American  light a fire under
rare inspirit

whip someone up

Deliberately excite or provoke someone: Dad had managed to whip himself up into a fantastic rage
More example sentences
  • But as they spur each other on, it whips them up to believe it - and for one of them it ends in tragedy.
  • The news deliberately misled an uninformed public and whipped them up into a frenzy about it.
  • He tried to whip them up into a frenzy.

whip something up

1Stimulate a particular feeling in someone: we tried hard to whip up interest in the products
More example sentences
  • There's just a bunch of liberal activists whipping up needless hysteria.
  • But every time governments and the media have whipped up such hysteria it has boosted racism.
  • Historical personalities, like Shivaji, have also been used to whip up regional sentiments.
stimulate, rouse, arouse, stir up, work up, wake, waken, awaken, quicken, inspire, call forth, call/bring into being, draw forth, bring out, excite, evoke, whet, stir, provoke, spur, fire, inflame, trigger, prompt, induce, encourage, actuate, activate, touch off, spark off, set off, set going, incite, promote, engender, generate
literary enkindle
2Make or prepare something, typically food, very quickly: I joined my mother in the kitchen to whip up a batch of cakes
More example sentences
  • It's a busy kitchen where speed is of the essence and this creation was whipped up faster than you can say pan-seared fish with herb, garlic and cheese sauce!
  • Tell the executive chef your recipe and he whips it up for you.
  • ‘Sure,’ he answered, ‘point me to the kitchen, and I'll whip something up for us to eat.’



Example sentences
  • Rays and skates have a cartilaginous skeleton with wide depressed bodies, whip-like tails and well-developed pectoral fins that are fused to their head.
  • The tip of his long, whip-like tail flicked lazily beside him.
  • The whip-like snap of a small-caliber flintlock is a lovely sound.


Example sentences
  • At the press of a button, the heated water blends with the pre-mix and is stirred to the correct consistency by a mechanical whipper.


Middle English: probably from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch wippen 'swing, leap, dance', from a Germanic base meaning 'move quickly'. The noun is partly from the verb, reinforced by Middle Low German wippe 'quick movement'.

  • A word that came into English from old German and Dutch wippen ‘to swing, leap, dance’. The parliamentary whip, responsible for ensuring that party members turn up and vote in debates, was originally a whipper-in. This is a term in hunting, where the whipper-in uses his whip to keep the hounds from straying. The short form is first found in 1850. A whip-round, or collection of contributions of money, is related, coming in the 1860s from whip in the sense ‘a notice from a whip requiring MPs to attend a vote’. Since the late 17th century a whippersnapper has been a young person who is presumptuous or overconfident. It is literally ‘a person who cracks a whip’—the connection was probably making a lot of noise but achieving little. A whipping boy is a person who is blamed for the faults of others. Originally it was a boy who was educated with a young prince and, because it would not be right for a commoner to beat a royal person, punished instead of him.

Words that rhyme with whip

blip, chip, clip, dip, drip, equip, flip, grip, gyp, hip, kip, lip, nip, outstrip, pip, quip, rip, scrip, ship, sip, skip, slip, snip, strip, tip, toodle-pip, trip, yip, zip

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: whip

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