What does whistle mean?

Definitions for whistle
ˈʰwɪs əl, ˈwɪs-whis·tle

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word whistle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. whistle, whistlingnoun

    the sound made by something moving rapidly or by steam coming out of a small aperture

  2. whistle, whistlingnoun

    the act of signalling (e.g., summoning) by whistling or blowing a whistle

    "the whistle signalled the end of the game"

  3. whistlenoun

    a small wind instrument that produces a whistling sound by blowing into it

  4. whistlenoun

    acoustic device that forces air or steam against an edge or into a cavity and so produces a loud shrill sound

  5. pennywhistle, tin whistle, whistleverb

    an inexpensive fipple flute

  6. whistleverb

    make whistling sounds

    "He lay there, snoring and whistling"

  7. whistleverb

    move with, or as with, a whistling sound

    "The bullets whistled past him"

  8. whistleverb

    utter or express by whistling

    "She whistled a melody"

  9. whistleverb

    move, send, or bring as if by whistling

    "Her optimism whistled away these worries"

  10. whistle, singverb

    make a whining, ringing, or whistling sound

    "the kettle was singing"; "the bullet sang past his ear"

  11. whistleverb

    give a signal by whistling

    "She whistled for her maid"


  1. whistlenoun

    A device designed to be placed in the mouth in order to make a whistling sound.

  2. whistlenoun

    An act of whistling.

  3. whistlenoun

    A shrill, high-pitched sound made by whistling.

  4. whistlenoun

    Any high-pitched sound similar to the sound made by whistling.

  5. whistlenoun

    A suit (from whistle and flute).

  6. whistleverb

    To make a shrill, high-pitched sound by forcing air through the mouth. To produce a whistling sound, restrictions to the flow of air are created using the teeth, tongue and lips.

  7. whistleverb

    To move in such a way as to create a whistling sound.

    A bullet whistled past.

  8. Etymology: whistlen; hwistlan.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Whistlenoun

    Etymology: hwistle , Saxon.

    My fire in caves constrains the wind,
    Can with a breath their clam’rous rage appease;
    They fear his whistle, and forsake the seas. Dryden.

    Let’s drink the other cup to wet our whistles, and so sing away all sad thoughts. Izaak Walton, Angler.

    The masters and pilots were so astonished that they knew not how to direct; and if they knew, they could scarcely, when they directed, hear their own whistle. Philip Sidney.

    Upon the hempen tackle shipboys climbing;
    Hear the shrill whistle, which doth order give
    To sounds confus’d. William Shakespeare, Henry V.

    Small whistles, or shepherds oaten pipes, give a sound, because of their extreme slenderness, whereby the air is more pent than in a wider pipe. Francis Bacon, Natural History.

    Her infant grandame’s whistle next it grew,
    The bells she gingl’d, and the whistle blew. Alexander Pope.

    Madam, here comes my lord.
    —— I have been worth the whistle. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    The knight, pursuing this epistle,
    Believ’d he’d brought her to his whistle. Hudibras.

  2. To Whistleverb

    To call by a whistle.

    Whistle them backwards and forwards, ’till he is weary. Robert South, Sermons.

    He chanced to miss his dog: we stood still ’till he had whistled him up. Addison.

    When simple pride for flatt’ry makes demands,
    May dunce by dunce be whistled off my hands! Alexander Pope.

  3. To WHISTLEverb

    Etymology: hwistlan , Saxon; sistulo, Latin.

    I’ve watch’d and travell’d hard:
    Some time I shall sleep out, the rest I’ll whistle. William Shakespeare.

    His big manly voice
    Changing again toward childish treble pipes,
    He whistles in his sound. William Shakespeare.

    Let one whistle at the one end of a trunk, and hold your ear at the other, and the sound shall strike so sharp as you can scarce endure it. Francis Bacon, Natural History.

    While the plowman near at hand
    Whistles o’er the furrow’d land. John Milton.

    Should Bertran sound his trumpets,
    And Torrismond but whistle through his fingers,
    He draws his army off. John Dryden, Spanish Fryar.

    He whistl’d as he went for want of thought. Dryden.

    The ploughman leaves the task of day,
    And trudging homeward whistles on the way. John Gay.

    Soft whispers run along the leafy woods,
    And mountains whistle to the murm’ring floods. Dryden.

    Rhætus from the hearth a burning brand
    Selects, and whirling waves; ’till from his hand
    The fire took flame, then dash’d it from the right
    On fair Charaxus’ temples, near the sight
    Then whistling past came on. Dryden.

    When winged deaths in whistling arrows fly,
    Wilt thou, though wounded, yet undaunted stay,
    Perform thy part, and share the dangerous day? Matthew Prior.

    The wild winds whistle, and the billows roar,
    The splitting raft the furious tempest tore. Alexander Pope.


  1. Whistle

    A whistle is an instrument which produces sound from a stream of gas, most commonly air. It may be mouth-operated, or powered by air pressure, steam, or other means. Whistles vary in size from a small slide whistle or nose flute type to a large multi-piped church organ. Whistles have been since early humans first carved out a gourd or branch and found they could make sound with it. In prehistoric Egypt, small shells were used as whistles. Many present day wind instruments are inheritors of these early whistles. With the rise of more mechanical power, other forms of whistles have been developed. One characteristic of a whistle is that it creates a pure, or nearly pure, tone. The conversion of flow energy to sound comes from an interaction between a solid material and a fluid stream. The forces in some whistles are sufficient to set the solid material in motion. Classic examples are Aeolian tones that result in galloping power lines, or the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (the so-called "Galloping Gertie" of popular media). Other examples are circular disks set into vibration.Depending on the geometry, there are two basic types of whistles: those that generate sound through oscillations of fluid mass flow, and those that generate sound through oscillations of the force applied to the surrounding medium.


  1. whistle

    A whistle is a small device or instrument that produces a high-pitched sound when blown into, often used as a signaling, warning, or refereeing tool in various sports or activities. It can also refer to the act of producing a similar high-pitched sound through one's mouth by forcing air through a small gap.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Whistleverb

    to make a kind of musical sound, or series of sounds, by forcing the breath through a small orifice formed by contracting the lips; also, to emit a similar sound, or series of notes, from the mouth or beak, as birds

  2. Whistleverb

    to make a shrill sound with a wind or steam instrument, somewhat like that made with the lips; to blow a sharp, shrill tone

  3. Whistleverb

    to sound shrill, or like a pipe; to make a sharp, shrill sound; as, a bullet whistles through the air

  4. Whistleverb

    to form, utter, or modulate by whistling; as, to whistle a tune or an air

  5. Whistleverb

    to send, signal, or call by a whistle

  6. Whistleverb

    a sharp, shrill, more or less musical sound, made by forcing the breath through a small orifice of the lips, or through or instrument which gives a similar sound; the sound used by a sportsman in calling his dogs; the shrill note of a bird; as, the sharp whistle of a boy, or of a boatswain's pipe; the blackbird's mellow whistle

  7. Whistleverb

    the shrill sound made by wind passing among trees or through crevices, or that made by bullet, or the like, passing rapidly through the air; the shrill noise (much used as a signal, etc.) made by steam or gas escaping through a small orifice, or impinging against the edge of a metallic bell or cup

  8. Whistleverb

    an instrument in which gas or steam forced into a cavity, or against a thin edge, produces a sound more or less like that made by one who whistles through the compressed lips; as, a child's whistle; a boatswain's whistle; a steam whistle (see Steam whistle, under Steam)

  9. Whistleverb

    the mouth and throat; -- so called as being the organs of whistling

  10. Etymology: [AS. hwistlian; akin to Sw. hvissla, Dan. hvisle, Icel. hvsla to whisper, and E. whisper. 43. See Whisper.]


  1. whistle

    A whistle is a simple aerophone, an instrument which produces sound from a stream of forced air. It may be mouth-operated, or powered by air pressure, steam, or other means. Whistles vary in size from a small slide whistle or nose flute type to a large multi-piped church organ.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Whistle

    hwis′l, v.i. to make a shrill sound by forcing the breath through the lips contracted: to make a like sound with an instrument: to sound shrill: to inform by whistling, to become informer.—v.t. to form or utter by whistling: to call by a whistle.—n. the sound made in whistling: a small wind instrument: an instrument sounded by escaping steam, used for signalling on railway-engines, steamships, &c.—adj. Whis′tle-drunk (obs.), too drunk to whistle.—ns. Whis′tle-fish, a rockling; Whis′tler, one who, or that which, whistles: a kind of marmot: a broken-winded horse; Whis′tling.—adv. Whis′tlingly.—n. Whis′tling-shop (slang), a shebeen, the keeper being called a whistler.—Whistle down the wind, to talk to no purpose; Whistle for, to summon by whistling; Whistle for a wind, a superstitious practice of old sailors during a calm; Whistle off, to send off by a whistle: (Shak.) turn loose.—Go whistle (Shak.), to go to the deuce; Pay for one's whistle, to pay highly for one's caprice; Pigs and whistles, an exclamation equivalent to 'The deuce!' or the like—also in phrase, 'To make pigs and whistles of anything'=to make a sad mess of it; Wet one's whistle (coll.), to take a drink of liquor; Worth the whistle, worth the trouble of calling for. [A.S. hwistlian; Sw. hvissla; cf. Whisper.]


  1. Whistle

    Whistle is the world’s first technology company dedicated to helping pets live longer and healthier lives. Through intuitive devices and a large comparative database of pet health information, Whistle is creating a new standard for preventative care and fueling groundbreaking insights to transform veterinary medical research. The San Francisco-based company is led by animal-loving technologists, Ben Jacobs and Steven Eidelman and backed by DCM, other leading venture firms and executives across the pet, retail, and technology industries. Whistle’s flagship intelligent monitoring system features a sleek, wireless device that attaches directly to a dog’s collar and a mobile app that allows pet owners to know when their dog is walking, playing or resting. Whistle recommendations optimize the health of dogs based on breed, age and weight, informing owners and vets to key trends or behavior changes. Whistle has established a Vet Council to aide in their mission of helping pets to live the healthiest, longest lives possible. Whistle’s proprietary database is made available to veterinarians and researchers around the world, establishing the first set of comparative baselines, to help extend the lifespan of every pet.For more information and to order, visit Whistle at www.whistle.com, www.facebook.com/whistlelabs or www.twitter.com/whistlelabs.

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. whistle

    From the Ang.-Sax. wistl. (See CALL.)

Suggested Resources

  1. whistle

    Song lyrics by whistle -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by whistle on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Whistle is ranked #127494 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Whistle surname appeared 134 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Whistle.

    94.7% or 127 total occurrences were White.

How to pronounce whistle?

How to say whistle in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of whistle in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of whistle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of whistle in a Sentence

  1. Jamie Henn:

    Now that he's called TransCanada for delay of game, it's time for President Obama to blow the whistle and end this pipeline once and for all.

  2. Monique Lamoureux-Morando:

    It was offside, and she hit her right after the whistle or during the whistle, depending on who you talk to, i was on the ice and mayhem ensued.

  3. Devin Nunes:

    We heard from a lot of whistle-blowers and other informants who have given us information. And not just … related strictly to the latest allegations.

  4. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:

    From the first whistle, everything went wrong, i just want to apologize to the fans. They're the only people with the badge on today who can hold their head high, because we can't.

  5. Stacey Abrams:

    The notion of identity politics has been peddled for the last 10 years, and its been used as a dog whistle to say that we shouldnt pay too much attention to the new voices coming into progress.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for whistle

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"whistle." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/whistle>.

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    joint that forms a corner; usually both sides are bevelled at a 45-degree angle to form a 90-degree corner
    A crate
    B elan
    C mitre
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