Webster's Dictionary, 1913

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Whewer noun [ Confer W. chwiwell a widgeon, chwiws widgeons, waterfowls; or confer English whew , intransitive verb ] (Zoology) The European widgeon. [ Prov. Eng.]

Whey noun [ Anglo-Saxon hwæg ; confer Dutch wei , hui , Fries. weye , LG. wey , waje . ] The serum, or watery part, of milk, separated from the more thick or coagulable part, esp. in the process of making cheese. In this process, the thick part is called curd , and the thin part whey .

Whey cure Treatment with whey as a drink and in baths.

Whey-faced adjective Having a pale or white face, as from fright. " Whey-faced cavaliers." Aytoun.

Wheyey adjective Of the nature of, or containing, whey; resembling whey; wheyish. Bacon.

Wheyface noun One who is pale, as from fear.

Wheyish adjective Somewhat like whey; wheyey. J. Philips. -- Whey"ish*ness , noun

Which pron. [ Middle English which , whilk , Anglo-Saxon hwilc , hwylc , hwelc , from the root of hwā who + līc body; hence properly, of what sort or kind; akin to Old Saxon hwilik which, OFries. hwelik , Dutch welk , German welch , Old High German welīh , hwelīh , Icelandic hvīlīkr , Dan. & Swedish hvilken , Goth. hwileiks , hw ... leiks ; confer Latin qualis . ............. See Who , and Like , adjective , and confer Such .]


1. Of what sort or kind; what; what a; who. [ Obsolete]

And which they weren and of what degree.
Chaucer.

2. A interrogative pronoun, used both substantively and adjectively, and in direct and indirect questions, to ask for, or refer to, an individual person or thing among several of a class; as, which man is it? which woman was it? which is the house? he asked which route he should take; which is best, to live or to die? See the Note under What , pron. , 1.

Which of you convinceth me of sin?
John viii. 46.

3. A relative pronoun, used esp. in referring to an antecedent noun or clause, but sometimes with reference to what is specified or implied in a sentence, or to a following noun or clause (generally involving a reference, however, to something which has preceded). It is used in all numbers and genders, and was formerly used of persons.

And when thou fail'st -- as God forbid the hour! --
Must Edward fall, which peril heaven forfend!
Shak.

God . . . rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
Gen. ii. 2.

Our Father, which art in heaven.
Matt. vi. 9.

The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
1 Cor. iii. 17.

4. A compound relative or indefinite pronoun, standing for any one which , whichever , that which , those which , the . . . which , and the like; as, take which you will.

» The which was formerly often used for which . The expressions which that , which as , were also sometimes used by way of emphasis.

Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
James ii. 7.

» Which , referring to a series of preceding sentences, or members of a sentence, may have all joined to it adjectively. "All which , as a method of a proclamation, is very convenient." Carlyle.

Whichever, Whichsoever pron. & adjective Whether one or another; whether one or the other; which; that one (of two or more) which; as, whichever road you take, it will lead you to town.

Whidah bird (Zoology) Any one of several species of finchlike birds belonging to the genus Vidua , native of Asia and Africa. In the breeding season the male has very long, drooping tail feathers. Called also vida finch , whidah finch , whydah bird , whydah finch , widow bird , and widow finch .

» Some of the species are often kept as cage birds, especially Vidua paradisea , which is dark brownish above, pale buff beneath, with a reddish collar around the neck.

Whider adverb Whither. [ Obsolete] Chaucer.

Whiff noun [ Middle English weffe vapor, whiff, probably of imitative origin; confer Danish vift a puff, gust, W. chwiff a whiff, puff.]


1. A sudden expulsion of air from the mouth; a quick puff or slight gust, as of air or smoke.

But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
The unnerved father falls.
Shak.

The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Longfellow.

2. A glimpse; a hasty view. [ Prov. Eng.]

3. (Zoology) The marysole, or sail fluke.

Whiff transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Whiffed ; present participle & verbal noun Whiffing .]


1. To throw out in whiffs; to consume in whiffs; to puff.

2. To carry or convey by a whiff, or as by a whiff; to puff or blow away.

Old Empedocles, . . . who, when he leaped into Etna, having a dry, sear body, and light, the smoke took him, and whiffed him up into the moon.
B. Jonson.

Whiff intransitive verb To emit whiffs, as of smoke; to puff.

Whiffet noun A little whiff or puff.

Whiffing noun


1. The act of one who, or that which, whiffs.

2. A mode of fishing with a hand line for pollack, mackerel, and the like.

Whiffle intransitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Whiffled ; present participle & verbal noun Whiffling .] [ Freq. of whiff to puff, perhaps influenced by Dutch weifelen to waver.]


1. To waver, or shake, as if moved by gusts of wind; to shift, turn, or veer about. D...mpier.

2. To change from one opinion or course to another; to use evasions; to prevaricate; to be fickle.

A person of whiffing and unsteady turn of mind can not keep close to a point of controversy.
I. Watts.

Whiffle transitive verb


1. To disperse with, or as with, a whiff, or puff; to scatter. [ Obsolete] Dr. H. More.

2. To wave or shake quickly; to cause to whiffle.

Whiffle noun A fife or small flute. [ Obsolete] Douce.

Whiffler noun


1. One who whiffles, or frequently changes his opinion or course; one who uses shifts and evasions in argument; hence, a trifler.

Every whiffler in a laced coat who frequents the chocolate house shall talk of the constitution.
Swift.

2. One who plays on a whiffle; a fifer or piper. [ Obsolete]

3. An officer who went before procession to clear the way by blowing a horn, or otherwise; hence, any person who marched at the head of a procession; a harbinger.

Which like a mighty whiffler 'fore the king,
Seems to prepare his way.
Shak.

» " Whifflers , or fifers, generally went first in a procession, from which circumstance the name was transferred to other persons who succeeded to that office, and at length was given to those who went forward merely to clear the way for the procession. . . . In the city of London, young freemen, who march at the head of their proper companies on the Lord Mayor's day, sometimes with flags, were called whifflers , or bachelor whifflers , not because they cleared the way, but because they went first, as whifflers did." Nares.

4. (Zoöl) The golden-eye. [ Local, U. S.]

Whiffletree noun Same as Whippletree .

Whig noun [ See Whey .] Acidulated whey, sometimes mixed with buttermilk and sweet herbs, used as a cooling beverage. [ Obsolete or Prov. Eng.]

Whig noun [ Said to be from whiggam , a term used in Scotland in driving horses, whiggamore one who drives horses (a term applied to some western Scotchmen), contracted to whig . In 1648, a party of these people marched to Edinburgh to oppose the king and the duke of Hamilton (the Whiggamore raid), and hence the name of Whig was given to the party opposed to the court. Confer Scot. whig to go quickly.]


1. (Eng. Politics) One of a political party which grew up in England in the seventeenth century, in the reigns of Charles I. and II., when great contests existed respecting the royal prerogatives and the rights of the people. Those who supported the king in his high claims were called Tories , and the advocates of popular rights, of parliamentary power over the crown, and of toleration to Dissenters, were, after 1679, called Whigs . The terms Liberal and Radical have now generally superseded Whig in English politics. See the note under Tory .

2. (Amer. Hist.) (a) A friend and supporter of the American Revolution; -- opposed to Tory , and Royalist . (b) One of the political party in the United States from about 1829 to 1856, opposed in politics to the Democratic party.

Whig adjective Of or pertaining to the Whigs.

Whiggamore noun [ See Whig .] A Whig; -- a cant term applied in contempt to Scotch Presbyterians. [ Scot.] Sir W. Scott.

Whiggarchy noun [ Whig + - archy .] Government by Whigs. [ Cont] Swift.

Whiggery noun The principles or practices of the Whigs; Whiggism.

Whiggish adjective Of or pertaining to Whigs; partaking of, or characterized by, the principles of Whigs.

Whiggishly adverb In a Whiggish manner.

Whiggism noun The principles of the Whigs.

Whigling noun A petty or inferior Whig; -- used in contempt. Spectator.

While noun [ Anglo-Saxon hwīl ; akin to Old Saxon hwīl , hwīla , OFries. hwīle , Dutch wigl , German weile , Old High German wīla , hwīla , hwīl , Icelandic hvīla a bed, hvīld rest, Swedish hvila , Danish hvile , Goth. hweila a time, and probably to Latin quietus quiet, and perhaps to Greek ... the proper time of season. √20. Confer Quiet , Whilom .]
1. Space of time, or continued duration, esp. when short; a time; as, one while we thought him innocent. "All this while ." Shak.

This mighty queen may no while endure.
Chaucer.

[ Some guest that] hath outside his welcome while ,
And tells the jest without the smile.
Coleridge.

I will go forth and breathe the air a while .
Longfellow.

2. That which requires time; labor; pains. [ Obsolete]

Satan . . . cast him how he might quite her while .
Chaucer.

At whiles , at times; at intervals.

And so on us at whiles it falls, to claim
Powers that we dread.
J. H. Newman.

-- The while , The whiles , in or during the time that; meantime; while. Tennyson. -- Within a while , in a short time; soon. -- Worth while , worth the time which it requires; worth the time and pains; hence, worth the expense; as, it is not always worth while for a man to prosecute for small debts.

While transitive verb [ imperfect & past participle Whiled ; present participle & verbal noun Whiling .] To cause to pass away pleasantly or without irksomeness or disgust; to spend or pass; -- usually followed by away .

The lovely lady whiled the hours away.
Longfellow.

While intransitive verb To loiter. [ R.] Spectator.

While conj.
1. During the time that; as long as; whilst; at the same time that; as, while I write, you sleep. " While I have time and space." Chaucer.

Use your memory; you will sensibly experience a gradual improvement, while you take care not to overload it.
I. Watts.

2. Hence, under which circumstances; in which case; though; whereas.

While as , While that , during or at the time that. [ Obsolete]

While preposition Until; till. [ Obsolete or Prov. Eng. & Scot.]

I may be conveyed into your chamber;
I'll lie under your bed while midnight.
Beau. & Fl.

Whilere adverb [ While + ere ] A little while ago; recently; just now; erewhile. [ Obsolete]

Helpeth me now as I did you whilere .
Chaucer.

He who, with all heaven's heraldry, whilere
Entered the world.
Milton.

Whiles adverb [ See While , noun , and -wards .]
1. Meanwhile; meantime. [ R.]

The good knight whiles humming to himself the lay of some majored troubadour.
Sir. W. Scott.

2. sometimes; at times. [ Scot.] Sir W. Scott.

The whiles . See under While , noun

Whiles conj. During the time that; while. [ Archaic] Chaucer. Fuller.

Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.
Matt. v. 25.

Whilk noun [ See Whelk a mollusk.]


1. (Zoology) A kind of mollusk, a whelk. [ Prov. Eng.]

2. (Zoology) The scoter. [ Prov. Eng.]

Whilk pron. Which. [ Obsolete or Scot.]

» Whilk is sometimes used in Chaucer to represent the Northern dialect.

Whilom (hwī"lŭm) adverb [ Anglo-Saxon hwīlum , properly, at times, dative plural of hwīl ; akin to German weiland formerly, Old High German hwīlōm , See While , noun ] Formerly; once; of old; erewhile; at times. [ Obsolete or Poetic] Spenser.

Whilom , as olde stories tellen us,
There was a duke that highte Theseus.
Chaucer.

Whilst adverb [ From Whiles ; confer Amongst .] While. [ Archaic]

Whilst the emperor lay at Antioch.
Gibbon.

The whilst , in the meantime; while. [ Archaic.] Shak.

Whim noun [ Confer Whimbrel .] (Zoology) The European widgeon. [ Prov. Eng.]

Whim noun [ Confer Icelandic hwima to wander with the eyes, vim giddiness, Norw. kvima to whisk or flutter about, to trifle, Danish vimse to skip, whisk, jump from one thing to another, dial. Swedish hvimsa to be unsteady, dizzy, W. chwimio to move briskly.]


1. A sudden turn or start of the mind; a temporary eccentricity; a freak; a fancy; a capricious notion; a humor; a caprice.

Let every man enjoy his whim .
Churchill.

2. (Mining) A large capstan or vertical drum turned by horse power or steam power, for raising ore or water, etc., from mines, or for other purposes; -- called also whim gin , and whimsey .

Whim gin (Mining) , a whim. See Whim , 2. -- Whim shaft (Mining) , a shaft through which ore, water, etc., is raised from a mine by means of a whim.

Syn. -- Freak; caprice; whimsey; fancy. -- Whim , Freak , Caprice . Freak denotes an impulsive, inconsiderate change of mind, as by a child or a lunatic. Whim is a mental eccentricity due to peculiar processes or habits of thought. Caprice is closely allied in meaning to freak , but implies more definitely a quality of willfulness or wantonness.

Whim intransitive verb To be subject to, or indulge in, whims; to be whimsical, giddy, or freakish. [ R.] Congreve.

Whimbrel noun [ Confer Whimper .] (Zoöl) Any one of several species of small curlews, especially the European species ( Numenius phæopus ), called also Jack curlew , half curlew , stone curlew , and tang whaup . See Illustration in Appendix .

Hudsonian or, Eskimo , whimbreal , the Hudsonian curlew.

Whimling noun [ Whim + - ling .] One given to whims; hence, a weak, childish person; a child.

Go, whimling , and fetch two or three grating loaves.
Beau. & Fl.

Whimmy adjective Full of whims; whimsical.

The study of Rabbinical literature either finds a man whimmy or makes him so.
Coleridge.