whereon (adv.) Look up whereon at Dictionary.com
c.1200, from where + on (adv.).
whereupon (conj.) Look up whereupon at Dictionary.com
c.1300, from where + upon.
wherever (adv.) Look up wherever at Dictionary.com
late 13c., ware euere, from where + ever. Originally an emphatic extension of where. Meaning "at any place, at some place or another" is from 1660s.
wherewith (adv.) Look up wherewith at Dictionary.com
c.1200, from where + with.
wherewithal (adv.) Look up wherewithal at Dictionary.com
"means by which," 1530s, from where + withal. The noun is first recorded 1809.
wherry (n.) Look up wherry at Dictionary.com
"light, shallow rowboat," mid-15c., of unknown origin.
whet (v.) Look up whet at Dictionary.com
Old English hwettan "to whet, sharpen," figuratively "incite, encourage," from Proto-Germanic *hwatjan (cognates: Old Norse hvetja "to sharpen, encourage," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wetten, Old High German wezzan, German wetzen "to sharpen," Gothic ga-hvatjan "to sharpen, incite"), from PIE root *kwed- "to sharpen" (cognates: Sanskrit codati "incites," literally "sharpens;" Old English hwæt "brave, bold," Old Saxon hwat "sharp").
whether (conj.) Look up whether at Dictionary.com
Old English hwæðer, hweðer "which of two, whether," from Proto-Germanic *gihwatharaz (cognates Old Saxon hwedar, Old Norse hvarr, Gothic huaþar, Old High German hwedar "which of the two," German weder "neither"), from interrogative base *khwa- "who" (see who) + comparative suffix *-theraz (cognate compounds in Sanskrit katarah, Avestan katara-, Greek poteros, Latin uter "which of the two, either of two," Lithuanian katras "which of the two," Old Church Slavonic koteru "which"). Its comparative form is either. Also in Old English as a pronoun and adjective. Phrase whether or not (also whether or no) recorded from 1650s.
whetstone (n.) Look up whetstone at Dictionary.com
Old English hwetstan; see whet + stone (n.).
whew Look up whew at Dictionary.com
exclamation of astonishment, etc., early 15c., a whistling sound, of imitative origin.
whey (n.) Look up whey at Dictionary.com
Old English hwæg "whey," from Proto-Germanic *hwaja- (cognates: Middle Dutch wey, Dutch wei), of unknown origin.
which (pron.) Look up which at Dictionary.com
Old English hwilc (West Saxon, Anglian), hwælc (Northumbrian) "which," short for hwi-lic "of what form," from Proto-Germanic *hwa-lik- (cognates: Old Saxon hwilik, Old Norse hvelikr, Swedish vilken, Old Frisian hwelik, Middle Dutch wilk, Dutch welk, Old High German hwelich, German welch, Gothic hvileiks "which"), from *hwi- "who" (see who) + *likan "body, form" (cognates: Old English lic "body;" see like (adj.)). In Middle English used as a relative pronoun where Modern English would use who, as still in the Lord's Prayer. Old English also had parallel forms hwelc and hwylc, which disappeared 15c.
whichever (pron.) Look up whichever at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from which + ever. Emphatic extended form whichsoever attested from mid-15c.
whicker (v.) Look up whicker at Dictionary.com
1650s, "snigger," imitative (compare snicker). As imitative of a sound made by a horse, from 1753. As the sound of something beating the air, from 1920. Related: Whickered; whickering.
whiff (n.) Look up whiff at Dictionary.com
13c., weffe "foul scent or odor," of imitative origin. Modern form became popular late 16c. with tobacco smoking, probably influenced by whiffle "blow in gusts or puffs" (1560s). The verb in the baseball slang sense "to swing at a ball and miss" first recorded 1913.
whiffle (v.) Look up whiffle at Dictionary.com
"flicker or flutter as if blown by the wind," 1660s; see whiff. The noun meaning "something light or insignificant" (1670s) is preserved in whiffle-ball (1931).
Whig Look up Whig at Dictionary.com
British political party, 1657, in part perhaps a disparaging use of whigg "a country bumpkin" (1640s); but mainly a shortened form of Whiggamore (1649) "one of the adherents of the Presbyterian cause in western Scotland who marched on Edinburgh in 1648 to oppose Charles I." Perhaps originally "a horse drover," from dialectal verb whig "to urge forward" + mare. In 1689 the name was first used in reference to members of the British political party that opposed the Tories. American Revolution sense of "colonist who opposes Crown policies" is from 1768. Later it was applied to opponents of Andrew Jackson (as early as 1825), and taken as the name of a political party (1834) that merged into the Republican Party in 1854-56.
[I]n the spring of 1834 Jackson's opponents adopted the name Whig, traditional term for critics of executive usurpations. James Watson Webb, editor of the New York Courier and Enquirer, encouraged use of the name. [Henry] Clay gave it national currency in a speech on April 14, 1834, likening "the whigs of the present day" to those who had resisted George III, and by summer it was official. [Daniel Walker Howe, "What Hath God Wrought," 2007, p.390]
Whig historian is recorded from 1924. Whig history is "the tendency in many historians ... to emphasise certain principles of progress in the past and to produce a story which is the ratification if not the glorification of the present." [Herbert Butterfield, "The Whig Interpretation of History," 1931]
Whiggery (n.) Look up Whiggery at Dictionary.com
"principles or practices of the Whigs," 1680s, from Whig + -ery.
Whiggish (adj.) Look up Whiggish at Dictionary.com
1670s, from Whig + -ish.
while (n.) Look up while at Dictionary.com
Old English hwile, accusative of hwil "a space of time," from Proto-Germanic *hwilo (cognates: Old Saxon hwil, Old Frisian hwile, Old High German hwila, German Weile, Gothic hveila "space of time, while"), originally "rest" (compare Old Norse hvila "bed," hvild "rest"), from PIE *kwi-lo-, suffixed form of root *kweie- (2) "to rest" (cognates: Avestan shaitish "joy," Old Persian šiyatish "joy," Latin quies "rest, repose, quiet," Old Church Slavonic po-koji "rest"). Notion of "period of rest" became in Germanic "period of time."

Now largely superseded by time except in formulaic constructions (such as all the while). Middle English sense of "short space of time spent in doing something" now only preserved in worthwhile and phrases such as worth (one's) while. As a conjunction, "during or in the time that; as long as" (late Old English), it represents Old English þa hwile þe, literally "the while that." Form whiles is recorded from early 13c.; whilst is from late 14c., with excrescent -st as in amongst, amidst. Service while-you-wait is attested from 1911.
while (v.) Look up while at Dictionary.com
"to cause (time) to pass (without dullness)," 1630s, earlier "to occupy or engage (someone or something) for a period of time" (c.1600), new formation from while (n.), not considered to be from Middle English hwulen "to have leisure," which is from a Germanic verb form of while (n.) (compare German weilen "to stay, linger"). An association with phrases such as Shakespearean beguile the day, Latin diem decipere, French tromper le temps "has led to the substitution of WILE v by some modern writers" [OED] (see wile (v.)).
whilom (adv.) Look up whilom at Dictionary.com
"at time past" (archaic), c.1200, from Old English hwilum "at times," dative case of while (q.v.). As a conjunction from 1610s. Similar formation in German weiland "formerly."
whilst (adv.) Look up whilst at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from while (q.v.) with adverbial genitive -s-, and excrescent -t- (as in amongst, amidst, betwixt).
whim (n.) Look up whim at Dictionary.com
1640s, "play on words, pun," shortened from whimwham "fanciful object" (q.v.). Meaning "caprice, fancy, sudden turn or inclination of the mind" first recorded 1690s, probably a shortened form of whimsy.
whimper (v.) Look up whimper at Dictionary.com
1510s, probably of imitative origin, or from German wimmern "to whimper, moan." Related: Whimpered; whimpering. The noun is first recorded c.1700.
whimsical (adj.) Look up whimsical at Dictionary.com
1650s, from whimsy + -ical. Related: Whimsically.
whimsy (n.) Look up whimsy at Dictionary.com
c.1600, probably related to whimwham.
whimwham (n.) Look up whimwham at Dictionary.com
"whimsical device, trifle," 1520s, of unknown origin; perhaps from Scandinavian (compare Old Norse hvima "to let the eyes wander," Norwegian kvima "to flutter"), or else an arbitrary native formation (compare flim-flam).
whine (v.) Look up whine at Dictionary.com
Old English hwinan "to whiz, hiss, or whistle through the air" (only of arrows), also hwinsian "to whine" (of dogs), ultimately of imitative origin (compare Old Norse hvina "to whiz," German wiehern "to neigh"). Meaning "to complain in a feeble way" is first recorded 1520s. Related: Whined; whining.
whine (n.) Look up whine at Dictionary.com
1630s, from whine (v.).
whiney (adj.) Look up whiney at Dictionary.com
also whiny, from whine + -y (2).
whinge (v.) Look up whinge at Dictionary.com
"to complain peevishly," British, informal or dialectal, ultimately from the northern form of Old English hwinsian, from Proto-Germanic *hwinison (cognates: Old High German winison, German winseln), from root of Old English hwinan "to whine" (see whine (v.)). Related: Whinged; whinging.
whinner (v.) Look up whinner at Dictionary.com
"to whine feebly," c.1700, frequentative of whine. Related: Whinnered; whinnering.
whinny (v.) Look up whinny at Dictionary.com
1520s, probably related to whine and ultimately imitative (compare Latin hinnire).
whip (v.) Look up whip at Dictionary.com
mid-13c., wippen "flap violently," not in Old English, of uncertain origin, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *wipjan "to move back and forth" (cognates: Danish vippe "to raise with a swipe," Middle Dutch, Dutch wippen "to swing," Old High German wipf "swing, impetus"), from PIE *weip- "to turn, vacillate, tremble" (see vibrate). "The senses of both [noun and verb] no doubt represent several independent adoptions or formations" [OED]. The cookery sense is from 1670s. Related: Whipped; whipping. Whip snake first recorded 1774, so called for its shape.
whip (n.) Look up whip at Dictionary.com
"instrument for flagellating," early 14c., from whip (v.) and perhaps in part from Middle Low German wippe "quick movement." In parliamentary use from 1850 (the verb in this sense is recorded from 1742), from the sense in fox-hunting. The parliamentary whip's duty originally was to ensure the attendance of party members on important occasions.
whip-saw (n.) Look up whip-saw at Dictionary.com
also whipsaw, 1530s, from whip + saw (n.). As a verb from 1842. Related: Whip-sawed; whip-sawing.
whiplash (n.) Look up whiplash at Dictionary.com
1570s, "the lash of a whip," from whip (n.) + lash (n.). The injury caused by sudden head motion so called by 1955, in reference to the notion of moving to and fro like a cracking whip. The verb in this sense is recorded by 1971.
whipper-snapper (n.) Look up whipper-snapper at Dictionary.com
also whippersnapper, 1670s, apparently a "jingling extension" [OED] of *whip-snapper "a cracker of whips," or perhaps an alteration of snipper-snapper (1580s). Compare also late 16c. whipperginnie, a term of abuse for a woman.
whippet (n.) Look up whippet at Dictionary.com
small, fast type of dog, c.1600, probably from whip (v.) in the sense of "move quickly" + diminutive suffix -et. Used earlier (1540s) in reference to "a brisk, nimble woman."
whipping (n.) Look up whipping at Dictionary.com
1560s, "a beating with a whip," verbal noun from whip (v.). As "a defeat," 1835, American English colloquial. Also as a past participle adjective; hence whipping post (c.1600); whipping boy (1640s); whipping block (1877).
whippoorwill (n.) Look up whippoorwill at Dictionary.com
1709, imitative of its cry.
whir (v.) Look up whir at Dictionary.com
c.1400, Scottish, "fling, hurl," probably from Old Norse hvirfla, frequentative of hverfa "to turn" (see wharf). Compare Danish hvirvle, Dutch wervelen, German wirbeln "to whirl." Related: Whirred; whirring.
whirl (v.) Look up whirl at Dictionary.com
c.1300, probably from Old Norse hvirfla "to go round, spin," related to hvirfill "circle, ring, crown," and to Old English hweorfan "to turn" (see wharf). Related: Whirled; whirling. Whirlybird "helicopter" is from 1951.
whirl (n.) Look up whirl at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "flywheel of a spindle," from whirl (v.). The meaning "act of whirling" is recorded from late 15c.; figurative sense of "confused activity" is recorded from 1550s. Colloquial sense of "tentative attempt" is attested from 1884, American English.
whirligig (n.) Look up whirligig at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., a child's toy, from whirl (v.) + gig (see gig (n.1)). Meaning "anything in constant motion" is from 1580s; "fickle, flighty person" is from c.1600; as a type of water beetle, from 1713.
whirlpool (n.) Look up whirlpool at Dictionary.com
1520s, from whirl (v.) + pool (n.1). Old English had hwyrfepol and wirfelmere.
whirlwind (n.) Look up whirlwind at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from whirl (v.) + wind (n.), probably on model of Old Norse hvirfilvindr.
whisk (n.) Look up whisk at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "quick stroke, sweeping movement," probably from Old Norse visk "wisp of hay, something to sweep with," from Proto-Germanic *wisk- "move quickly" (cognates: Danish visk "broom," Middle Dutch wisch, Dutch wis, Old High German wisc, German wisch "wisp, brush"), from PIE root *weis- "to turn, twist" (cognates: Sanskrit veskah "noose," Czech vechet "a wisp of straw," Old English wiscian "to plait," weoxian "to clean" with a whisk or brush). Unetymological spelling with wh- is from 1570s. Meaning "implement for beating eggs, etc." first recorded 1660s.
whisk (v.) Look up whisk at Dictionary.com
late 15c., "move with a rapid sweeping motion" (intransitive), from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish viske "to wipe, rub, sponge," Norwegian, Swedish viska "wipe," also "wag the tail"), from the source of whisk (n.). Transitive sense is from 1510s; meaning "to brush or sweep (something) lightly over a surface" is from 1620s. Related: Whisked; whisking.