Meaning of whammy in English:



  • 1An event with a powerful and unpleasant effect; a blow.

    ‘the third whammy was the degradation of the financial system’
    See also double whammy
    • ‘Mr Denham's departure was the third blow of a triple whammy that saw Leader of the House Robin Cook and two junior ministers, including Mr Denham, quit their jobs.’
    • ‘He said: ‘This is very much a triple whammy for the motorist and even a quadruple whammy if you happen to drive a diesel-powered vehicle.’’
    • ‘The dinosaurs, they say, were killed not by a lone asteroid strike but by the quadruple whammy of global climate change, massive volcanism, and not one but two gigantic collisions.’
    • ‘The quadruple whammy is hitting winemakers like a 10-ton barrel.’
    • ‘But there can't be recovery if we triple and quadruple whammy these reefs.’
    • ‘Discrete little chunks of Thursday, that weren't goo-worthy in themselves, seem to have joined forces in the night and put the goo whammy on me this morning.’
    • ‘Scottish Natural Heritage is facing a triple whammy of objections which are to be lodged with the Scottish parliament calling for an investigation into the activities of the conservation quango.’
    • ‘This extremely talkative Plateau-born downtown resident has been putting the hypnosis whammy on people for over 50 years now.’
    • ‘The final whammy is the twisted bowel operation.’
    • ‘The triple whammy of destruction greatly increases chances of developing an ‘age-related’ eye disease.’
    • ‘So this week I've had the triple whammy of being busy, edgy and suddenly noticing a few people around seem to be looking unexpectedly good.’
    • ‘But then the organisers came in with a whammy that left the undefeated team and its supporters scratching their heads!’
    • ‘York Wasps suffered a triple whammy yesterday as the big winter freeze put paid to the New Year's Day clash against Swinton Lions.’
    • ‘They have to think of one policy package and strategy to stop the triple whammy of falling stocks, bonds and the yen.’
    • ‘Our economy suffered a triple whammy this year - we were hit by Sars, the Iraq war, and then the world economic downturn.’
    • ‘Maumere Bay is slowly recovering from a triple whammy: earthquake, tidal waves and a cyclone.’
    • ‘‘When you have people who have a diet that's very high in animal fat, they get the full whammy of the contaminants,’ said David Carpenter, who supervised the St. Lawrence Island studies.’
    • ‘It had a triple whammy of problems: poor content, latencies and content not suitable for the format, as well as a bad UI.’
    shock, surprise, bombshell, bolt from the blue, bolt out of the blue, thunderbolt, jolt, rude awakening
  • 2US An evil or unlucky influence.

    ‘I've come to put the whammy on them’
    • ‘Using 11 ‘magical crystals’ and a giant crystal ‘to receive and transmit positive thoughts,’ Geller put the whammy on the opposition.’


1940s from the noun wham+ -y; associated from the 1950s with the cartoon strip Li'l Abner, in which the hillbilly Evil-Eye Fleegle could ‘shoot a whammy’ (to put a curse on somebody) by pointing a finger with one eye open, and a ‘double whammy’ with both eyes open.