Definition of whimper in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈ(h)wimpər/


[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
More example sentences
  • Afraid for the first time of the darkness, he began to whimper in fear.
  • Suddenly, she heard something that sounded like a child whimpering to her right.
  • Just then we heard the courthouse doors open and the sound of a dog whimpering.
1.1 [with 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
More example sentences
  • The disembodied voices were most striking - patients' miserable repeated calls for help, muted protests, inarticulate moans, and whimpers.
  • He whines, whimpers and barks at anything that dares enter our garden, even if it's only birds doing a fly over.
  • Her voice once light and melodic now deep and whispery, whimpers and moans sounding out into the night to join the other sounds.
1.1 (a whimper) A feeble or anticlimactic tone or ending: their first appearance in the top flight ended with a whimper rather than a bang
With allusion to T. S. Eliot's “This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper” (Hollow Men, 1925)
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • They have to know they were lucky to get out of Miami with Kerry having scored a whimper rather than a bang.
  • This insight goes a long way to explain why the war ended as it did, with a whimper rather than a bang.



Pronunciation: /ˈ(h)wimp(ə)rər/
Example sentences
  • You can listen to the whimperers all the day long, crying loud cries and prayers, and professing with great tears that they love God.
  • Likewise, the whimperers are only a minority of the American people, but they're even more plugged in - in the media, in politics, in the academy.
  • No whimperers have complained about being the victims of injustice.


Example sentences
  • I took a tablet, drained another bottle of water, and retreated whimperingly to my bed.
  • One of the detectives who arrested him testified that the bootlegger, white & shaky from an exchange of gunfire, had whimperingly offered two detectives $50 apiece to let him go.
  • Drink however oiled the locks on his prison door and enabled him to wittily or whimperingly pick his way out of the cell.


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

  • wimp from [1920s]:

    Wimp seems to have originated in the USA in the 1920s, although it was not really used much until the 1960s. There was an earlier slang term wimp which meant ‘woman’, used at Oxford University in the early years of the 20th century: this could be the origin, or wimp could simply be an alteration of whimper. Like bonk, drum, and hoot, whimper is another of those words suggested by the sound it represents. ‘This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper’ is from ‘The Hollow Men’ (1925) by T. S. Eliot.

Words that rhyme with whimper

crimper, shrimper, simper, Whymper

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: whim·per

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