a whim

a sudden change of mind


eine spontane Idee aus dem Impuls heraus; Laune (Einfall), Marotte (Verrücktheit); wunderlicher Einfall —— passing whim = vorübergehende Laune —— at (a) whim = nach Lust und Laune, aus Jux und Tollerei —— to indulge somebody's every whim = jdm. jeden Wunsch erfüllen —— whim of fate = Spiel des Zufalls, Laune des Schicksals —— purely on a whim = etw. aus einer Laune heraus tun



“Buying lockdown dogs on a WHIM can lead to trouble, says RSPCA*.”

Amelia Hill - The Guardian

RSPCA = The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Did you


- a sudden wish or idea, especially one that cannot be reasonably explained

- a capricious or eccentric and often sudden idea or turn of the mind

- a sudden desire or change of mind, especially one that is unusual or unexplained 

- a wish to do or have something which seems to have no serious reason or purpose behind it, and often occurs suddenly

Cambridge Dictionary / Merriam-Webster / Dictionary dot com / Collins Dictionary


"Whimsical" and the related nouns "whim" and "whimsy" all ultimately derive from whim-wham, a noun from the early 16th century that originally referred to an ornamental object or trinket.

Later whim-wham, with its fun sound, came to refer to a fantastic notion or odd fancy. The word’s origin isn’t clear, but it’s worth noting that the similar-sounding flimflam had, in its earliest use, a similar meaning referring to an odd or nonsensical idea or tale.

Whim naturally came about as a shortened form of whim-wham, and whimsy and whimsical eventually followed. Whimsical now describes more than just decisions made impulsively, but things resulting from an unrestrained imagination, as in “whimsical children’s book characters”.


One day during the production of “I Wanted Wings”, actor Ray Milland went up with a pilot to test a plane for filming. On a WHIM, Milland, a passionate amateur parachutist, decided to do an impromptu jump.

As he planned to jump, however, the plane’s engine began to cut out - the pilot explained that they were running low on gas and suggested that he postpone his jump…

Having landed safely and returned to the hanger, Milland casually mentioned his aborted jump - and was promptly informed by a costume designer that the parachute which he had taken in the plane was “just a prop*”.

*prop = eine Requisite


caprice, eccentricity, fancy, feeling, flight of fancy hunch, kookiness, impulse, inclination, outlandishness, passing thought, penchant, sudden idea/inclination/notion, thing, unorthodoxness, waywardness, WHIM, whimsy

SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“Back in the days, I traveled to Munich on A WHIM,… and that changed everything.”

THANKS to Markus for suggesting today’s word.

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:


Paul Smith

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