Meaning of wisp in English:


Pronunciation /wɪsp/

See synonyms for wisp

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  • 1A small thin or twisted bunch, piece, or amount of something.

    ‘ wisps of smoke rose into the air’
    • ‘She suggests the goggles' straps with abbreviated wisps of graphite that twist and whip about the page.’
    • ‘Her hair was up in a French twist with a few wisps of hair framing her face.’
    • ‘Other pieces offer the barest wisps of melody, relying on the group's ability to generate structure spontaneously.’
    • ‘Outside it is cold, and thin wisps of fog are unwinding along the damp length of Baker Street.’
    • ‘She noticed long ears protruding from the thin wisps of hair.’
    • ‘A small fire crackled in the fireplace, thin wisps of smoke curling up the sturdy brick chimney.’
    • ‘I looked out the open door and saw the thin wisps of gas just floating around in mid-air.’
    • ‘Her red hair was pulled backward into a bun, and two thin wisps of hair dangled near her eyes.’
    • ‘They consist of complex cross-bedded sands commonly enclosing thin wisps of muddy sediment.’
    • ‘His are fantasies with hanging beads and wisps of feathers and leather straps as thin as ribbon.’
    • ‘He wore a thin metal belt on his head that allowed wisps of his blond hair to part in the middle.’
    • ‘For the main course, having opted not to have a starter, Paula chose the Chinese-style beef fillet which arrived garnished with wisps of potato and noodles.’
    • ‘We woke to a calm and crisp morning with a light frost on our sleeping bags, below a beautiful blue sky with wisps of cloud streaking above the lake, which lay as a blue sea below us.’
    • ‘I could tell because there were a couple of wisps of purplish smoke wafting around the light fixtures a minute after I said it.’
    • ‘Above the red tile roofs, wisps of smoke drifted from the chimneys.’
    • ‘As the aircraft continues to teeter absurdly on the edge of the sky, little pain-flavoured wisps of memories will start to taunt him.’
    • ‘The mistakes I made could have happened with any recipe, so these wisps of wisdom should come in handy even when not cooking meatloaf.’
    • ‘She nearly leaps with joy feeling a faint wisp of his breath upon her sensitive skin.’
    • ‘They only let out a faint wisp of their emotion.’
    • ‘Dreams came to me, like wisps of fog in the night sky.’
    strand, tendril, lock
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A small bunch of hay or straw used for drying or grooming a horse.
    2. 1.2A small, thin person, typically a child.
      ‘a fourteen-year-old wisp of a girl’
      • ‘It was hilarious to see how hard the boy was trying to intimidate a small wisp of a girl and failing miserably.’
      • ‘Turning, she saw the voice's owner, a thin wisp of a man in strange white clothing.’
      • ‘Ash Beck, a thin wisp of a person, pushed through the crowd and ran to where Ian lay.’
      • ‘The wisp of a girl would pass the final set of tests.’
      • ‘Grace was crouched in front of a small wisp of a girl.’
      • ‘She's just a young wisp of a girl, and very sensitive to boot: Scold her in the slightest, and she dissolves into hysterics.’
      • ‘Standing quickly, the nurse steadied the wisp of a girl with a strong hand.’
      • ‘He pointed to a dark wisp of a girl who watched the boat-boy from a shady spot under the olives.’
      • ‘She saw a mass of copper hair on a tiny wisp of a girl with the palest skin she had ever seen.’
      • ‘Edouard Collin is a tall wisp of a French teenager, all well-tanned Parisian sinew with a sharp-angled, warmly expressive face born to be placed in front of a camera.’
      • ‘A skinny wisp of a young woman entered the room, timidly opening the door to the side to allow her entrance.’
      • ‘My grandma, after whom I am named, was said to be a cheerfully energetic thin wisp of a woman.’
      • ‘‘I don't know, Rifka,’ I whispered, hugging the little blond wisp of a child close to me.’
      • ‘Then while gazing at her tear streaked face he saw her chin quiver and his heart was charmed by this small wisp of a lass, until, that is, he looked at what she held in her hands.’
  • 2 rare A flock of snipe.

    ‘ a wisp of snipe utter their well-known cry’
    • ‘As soon as a wisp of snipes arrive, off starts our mercury with the glad tidings.’
    • ‘I never saw but two ducks and one wild wisp of snipes.’
    • ‘If a man hears of a wisp of snipe in any particular place, he must be off at once.’
    • ‘Suddenly, up got such a wisp of snipe, under my very feet, that I am bound to say I missed both barrels’
    • ‘We unexpectedly flushed a wisp of snipe.’


Middle English origin uncertain; perhaps related to whisk.