from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To utter a plaintive, high-pitched, protracted sound, as in pain, fear, supplication, or complaint.
  • intransitive v. To complain or protest in a childish fashion.
  • intransitive v. To produce a sustained noise of relatively high pitch: jet engines whining.
  • transitive v. To utter with a whine.
  • n. The act of whining.
  • n. A whining sound.
  • n. A complaint uttered in a plaintive tone.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a long-drawn, high-pitched complaining cry or sound
  • n. a complaint or criticism
  • v. To utter a high-pitched cry.
  • v. To make a sound resembling such a cry.
  • v. To complain or protest with a whine or as if with a whine.
  • v. To move with a whining sound.
  • v. To utter with the sound of a whine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plaintive tone; the nasal, childish tone of mean complaint; mean or affected complaint.
  • intransitive v. To utter a plaintive cry, as some animals; to moan with a childish noise; to complain, or to tell of sorrow, distress, or the like, in a plaintive, nasal tone; hence, to complain or to beg in a mean, unmanly way; to moan basely.
  • transitive v. To utter or express plaintively, or in a mean, unmanly way.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To utter a plaintive protracted sound expressive of distress or complaint; moan as a dog, or in a childish fashion.
  • To complain in a puerile, feeble, or undignified way; bemoan one's self weakly.
  • To utter in a plaintive, querulous, drawling manner: usually with out.
  • n. A drawling, plaintive utterance or tone, as the whinny of a dog; also, the nasal puerile tone of mean complaint; mean or affected complaint.
  • n. In hunting, the noise made by an otter at rutting-time.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. complain whiningly
  • v. move with a whining sound
  • n. a complaint uttered in a plaintive whining way
  • v. make a high-pitched, screeching noise
  • v. talk in a tearful manner


Middle English whinen, from Old English hwīnan, to make a whizzing sound.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English hwinen, whinen, from Old English hwīnan ("to rush, to whizz, to squeal, to whine") from Proto-Germanic *hwīnanan. Cognate with Old Norse hvína, whence Icelandic hvína, Norwegian hvine, Swedish hvina and Danish hvine. (Wiktionary)


Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Sometimes, during the middle of the night, this one guy'd wake himself up and make himself whine just so he'd know he was still alive.
    --Jan Cox

    August 29, 2007