AskDefine | Define whip

The Collaborative Dictionary

Whip \Whip\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Whipped; p. pr. & vb. n. Whipping.] [OE. whippen to overlay, as a cord, with other cords, probably akin to G. & D. wippen to shake, to move up and down, Sw. vippa, Dan. vippe to swing to and fro, to shake, to toss up, and L. vibrare to shake. Cf. Vibrate.] [1913 Webster]
To strike with a lash, a cord, a rod, or anything slender and lithe; to lash; to beat; as, to whip a horse, or a carpet. [1913 Webster]
To drive with lashes or strokes of a whip; to cause to rotate by lashing with a cord; as, to whip a top. [1913 Webster]
To punish with a whip, scourge, or rod; to flog; to beat; as, to whip a vagrant; to whip one with thirty nine lashes; to whip a perverse boy. [1913 Webster] Who, for false quantities, was whipped at school. --Dryden. [1913 Webster]
To apply that which hurts keenly to; to lash, as with sarcasm, abuse, or the like; to apply cutting language to. [1913 Webster] They would whip me with their fine wits. --Shak. [1913 Webster]
To thrash; to beat out, as grain, by striking; as, to whip wheat. [1913 Webster]
To beat (eggs, cream, or the like) into a froth, as with a whisk, fork, or the like. [1913 Webster]
To conquer; to defeat, as in a contest or game; to beat; to surpass. [Slang, U. S.] [1913 Webster]
To overlay (a cord, rope, or the like) with other cords going round and round it; to overcast, as the edge of a seam; to wrap; -- often with about, around, or over. [1913 Webster] Its string is firmly whipped about with small gut. --Moxon. [1913 Webster]
To sew lightly; specifically, to form (a fabric) into gathers by loosely overcasting the rolled edge and drawing up the thread; as, to whip a ruffle. [1913 Webster] In half-whipped muslin needles useless lie. --Gay. [1913 Webster]
To take or move by a sudden motion; to jerk; to snatch; -- with into, out, up, off, and the like. [1913 Webster] She, in a hurry, whips up her darling under her arm. --L'Estrange. [1913 Webster] He whips out his pocketbook every moment, and writes descriptions of everything he sees. --Walpole. [1913 Webster]
(Naut.) (a) To hoist or purchase by means of a whip. (b) To secure the end of (a rope, or the like) from untwisting by overcasting it with small stuff. [1913 Webster]
To fish (a body of water) with a rod and artificial fly, the motion being that employed in using a whip. [1913 Webster] Whipping their rough surface for a trout. --Emerson. [1913 Webster] To whip in, to drive in, or keep from scattering, as hounds in a hurt; hence, to collect, or to keep together, as member of a party, or the like. To whip the cat. (a) To practice extreme parsimony. [Prov. Eng.] --Forby. (b) To go from house to house working by the day, as itinerant tailors and carpenters do. [Prov. & U. S.] [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster]
Whip \Whip\, v. i. To move nimbly; to start or turn suddenly and do something; to whisk; as, he whipped around the corner. [1913 Webster] With speed from thence he whipped. --Sackville. [1913 Webster] Two friends, traveling, met a bear upon the way; the one whips up a tree, and the other throws himself flat upon the ground. --L'Estrange. [1913 Webster]
Whip \Whip\, n. [OE. whippe. See Whip, v. t.] [1913 Webster]
An instrument or driving horses or other animals, or for correction, consisting usually of a lash attached to a handle, or of a handle and lash so combined as to form a flexible rod. "[A] whip's lash." --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] In his right hand he holds a whip, with which he is supposed to drive the horses of the sun. --Addison. [1913 Webster]
A coachman; a driver of a carriage; as, a good whip. --Beaconsfield. [1913 Webster]
(Mach.) (a) One of the arms or frames of a windmill, on which the sails are spread. (b) The length of the arm reckoned from the shaft. [1913 Webster]
(Naut.) (a) A small tackle with a single rope, used to hoist light bodies. (b) The long pennant. See Pennant (a) [1913 Webster]
A huntsman who whips in the hounds; whipper-in. [1913 Webster]
(Eng. Politics) (a) A person (as a member of Parliament) appointed to enforce party discipline, and secure the attendance of the members of a Parliament party at any important session, especially when their votes are needed. (b) A call made upon members of a Parliament party to be in their places at a given time, as when a vote is to be taken. [1913 Webster]
A whipping motion; a thrashing about; as, the whip of a tense rope or wire which has suddenly parted; also, the quality of being whiplike or flexible; flexibility; suppleness, as of the shaft of a golf club. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]
(Mech.) Any of various pieces that operate with a quick vibratory motion, as a spring in certain electrical devices for making a circuit, or a rocking certain piano actions. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] Whip and spur, with the utmost haste. Whip crane, or Whip purchase, a simple form of crane having a small drum from which the load is suspended, turned by pulling on a rope wound around larger drum on the same axle. Whip gin. See Gin block, under 5th Gin. Whip grafting. See under Grafting. Whip hand, the hand with which the whip is used; hence, advantage; mastery; as, to have or get the whip hand of a person. --Dryden. Whip ray (Zool.), the European eagle ray. See under Ray. Whip roll (Weaving), a roll or bar, behind the reeds in a loom, on which the warp threads rest. Whip scorpion (Zool.), any one of numerous species of arachnids belonging to Thelyphonus and allied genera. They somewhat resemble true scorpions, but have a long, slender bristle, or lashlike organ, at the end of the body, instead of a sting. Whip snake (Zool.), any one of various species of slender snakes. Specifically: (a) A bright green South American tree snake (Philodryas viridissimus) having a long and slender body. It is not venomous. Called also emerald whip snake. (b) The coachwhip snake. [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 an instrument with a handle and a flexible lash that is used for whipping
2 a legislator appointed by the party to enforce discipline [syn: party whip]
3 a dessert made of sugar and stiffly beaten egg whites or cream and usually flavored with fruit
4 (golf) the flexibility of the shaft of a golf club
5 a quick blow with a whip [syn: lash, whiplash]


1 beat severely with a whip or rod; "The teacher often flogged the students"; "The children were severely trounced" [syn: flog, welt, lather, lash, slash, strap, trounce]
2 defeat thoroughly; "He mopped up the floor with his opponents" [syn: worst, pip, mop up, rack up]
3 thrash about flexibly in the manner of a whiplash; "The tall grass whipped in the wind"
4 strike as if by whipping; "The curtain whipped her face" [syn: lash]
5 whip with or as if with a wire whisk; "whisk the eggs" [syn: whisk]
6 subject to harsh criticism; "The Senator blistered the administration in his speech on Friday"; "the professor scaled the students"; "your invectives scorched the community" [syn: blister, scald] [also: whipping, whipped]

Moby Thesaurus

Ferris wheel, Jehu, MP, Member of Congress, Member of Parliament, accelerate, aerate, agitate, alderman, assemblyman, avert, bang, baste, bastinado, batter, beat, beat all hollow, beat hollow, beat up, belabor, belt, best, birch, blast, bludgeon, bowl down, box, buffet, bullwhacker, bundle, bustle, cabby, cabdriver, cabman, cage, cameleer, cane, carousel, carter, cartman, charioteer, chosen freeholder, churn, churn up, chute-the-chutes, chutes, city father, clabber, clobber, clot, club, coachman, coachy, coagulate, cocher, cochero, colloid, colloidize, congressman, congresswoman, conquer, convulse, cool, corral, councilman, cowhide, cream, crowd, cudgel, cuff, curdle, curry, cut, defeat, deflect, destroy, disarrange, discompose, dispatch, disquiet, disturb, divert, do in, drayman, drive, drive on, driver, drove, drub, dust, elephant driver, emulsify, emulsionize, excite, expedite, ferment, fix, flagellate, flail, flap, flog, floor leader, flurry, flying horses, foam, forward, fret, froth, fustigate, gad, gadfly, gharry-wallah, give a whipping, give the stick, goad, hack, hackman, hacky, hammer, harness racer, haste, hasten, hasten on, herd, hide, hie on, hors de combat, horsewhip, hurry, hurry along, hurry on, hurry up, hustle, hustle up, incrassate, inspissate, jell, jellify, jelly, knock, knout, lace, lambaste, larrup, lash, lather, lawgiver, lawmaker, lay on, legislator, lick, lopper, mahout, majority leader, mantle, maul, merry-go-round, minority leader, mop up, mule skinner, muleteer, needle, nudge, outclass, outdo, outfight, outgeneral, outmaneuver, outpoint, outrun, outsail, outshine, overcome, overrun, overwhelm, oxgoad, paddle, party whip, paste, patter, pelt, perturb, perturbate, pistol-whip, pivot, poke, pommel, pound, precipitate, press, prick, prod, pulverize, pummel, punch cattle, push, push on, push through, put, quicken, quirt, railroad through, rap, rawhide, reinsman, representative, ride herd on, rile, ripple, roil, roller coaster, roughen, round up, roundabout, rout, rowel, ruffle, ruin, rumple, rush, rush along, scourge, scum, seesaw, senator, settle, shake, shake up, sheer, shellac, shepherd, skin, skin alive, skinner, skunk, slap, sledgehammer, smack, smear, smite, smother, solon, spank, speed, speed along, speed up, spume, spur, stage coachman, stampede, state senator, steamroller, sting, stir, stir up, strap, stripe, subdue, sud, suds, swing, swinge, swirl, switch, teamster, teeter-totter, thicken, thrash, thresh, thump, trim, triumph over, trouble, trounce, truckman, truncheon, undo, upend, upset, urge, vanquish, veer, vetturino, voiturier, volte-face, wagoner, wagonman, wallop, wear out, whale, wheel, whip along, whip up, whiplash, whirl, whirligig, whisk, whomp, whop, work up, worst, wrangle, yerk



From hwippen or whippen. Middle low German and Middle Dutch wippen, Possibly from a , although such word has not yet been found written. Perhaps also from vibare, akin to the Sanskrit root |. (See Swedish vippa and Danish vippe).


  • , /wɪp/, /wIp/
  • :Rhymes with: -ɪp
  • , /ʍɪp/, /WIp/


  1. A rod or rope used to punish or torture victims by hitting them.
  2. A member of a political party who is in charge of enforcing the party's policies in votes.
  3. A purchase in which one block is used to gain a 2:1 mechanical advantage.
  4. A car.


Derived terms


party policy enforcer


  1. To hit with a whip.
  2. By extension, to hit with any flexible object.
  3. To defeat.
  4. To mix in a rapid aerating fashion, especially food.
  5. To urge into action. (He whipped the department into shape.)
  6. transitive nautical To bind the end of a rope with twine or other small stuff to prevent its unlaying.
  7. To throw an object at a high velocity (Typically used in New England. He whipped the ball at me.)
  8. To fish a body of water especially by making repeated casts.
  9. To snap back and forth like a whip. (The pennants whipped in the wind.)
  10. To move very fast. (The wind whipped through the valley.)


to hit with a whip
by extension, to hit with any flexible object
  • Finnish: ruoskia, piiskata
  • German: peitschen
to defeat
  • Finnish: piestä
  • German: schlagen
to mix food in a rapid aerating fashion
  • Finnish: vatkata, vispata
  • German: schlagen
to urge into action
The word whip describes two basic types of tools:
A long stick-like device, usually slightly flexible, with a small bit of leather or cord, called a "popper", on the end. Depending on length and flexibility, this type is often called a riding whip, riding crop or "bat". It is also sometimes called a "horsewhip" or "horse whip". The other type of whip is a long tapered flexible length of single-strand or plaited (braided) material (usually leather) with a stiff handle. Some whips of this type include the bullwhip and the stockwhip. Each design has many variations and lengths for different purposes, often with different names.
As well as these traditional whip types designed for use on animals, there are whip designs that had historic uses for inflicting pain on humans, such as the "cat o' nine tails" and others. These devices are used as flogging instruments, a means of control, corporal punishment or torture.
Whips today are used primarily in animal training for three main purposes:
  • As an extension of the human arm to give commands to animals by tapping them.
  • To make a loud sharp sound, to provide direction and command to animals.
  • To inflict pain. (However, this is considered incorrect use and can be considered animal cruelty in some jurisdictions.)
When a bullwhip handle is rapidly and properly moved, the tip of the whip can exceed 340 m/s (760 mph) producing a small sonic boom described as a "crack". Whips were the first man-made implements to break the sound barrier. This loud noise is commonly used to drive or direct livestock or teams of harnessed animals, such as oxen or mules.
Most horse whips can be used to give commands by touch and can cause pain, but cannot make a "crack". These may include riding crops, dressage whips, and carriage or buggy whips. The exception is the Longe whip, which due to its long lash, can be made to crack as well as be used to touch the animal.
Another far less common and more modern way to create a crackable whip involves "weaving" metal rings together and typically welding the rings closed in various rope-like chain mail patterns.

Stock whips

Stock whips, including bullwhips and the Australian stockwhip are a type of single-tailed leather whip with a very long lash but a short handle. Stock whips are primarily used to make a loud cracking sound to move livestock (cattle, sheep, horses, etc.) away from the sound. It is generally not used to actually strike an animal, as it would inflict severe pain and is difficult to be applied with precision.

Australian stockwhip

The Australian Stockwhip is often said to have originated in the English hunting whip, but it has since become a distinct type of whip. Today, it is used primarily by Australian stockmen. Unlike the short, embedded handle of a bullwhip, the stock whip handle is not fitted inside the lash and is usually longer. A stock whip's handle is connected to the thong by a joint typically made of a few strands of thick leather (which is called a keeper). This allows the whip to hang across a stockman's arm when not being used. The handles are normally longer than those of a bullwhip, being between 15 and 21 inches. The thong can be from 3 feet to 10 feet long. Stock whips are also almost exclusively made from tanned kangaroo hide.
Australia's John Brady is an internationally renowned exponent of the art of whipcracking (an expertise he demonstrated during the live musical production The Man from Snowy River: Arena Spectacular). The Australian stockwhip was shown internationally when lone rider Steve Jefferys reared his Australian Stock Horse and cracked the stockwhip to commence the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

The Bullwhip

A bullwhip consists of a handle between eight and 12 inches in length, and a lash composed of a braided thong between three and 20 feet long. Some whips have an exposed wooden grip, others have an intricately braided leather covered handle. Unlike the Australian stock whip, the thong connects in line with the handle (rather than with a joint), or even engulfs the handle entirely. At the end of the lash is the "fall" and cracker or popper. The fall is a single piece of leather between 10 and 30 inches in length. During trick shots or target work, the fall is usually the portion of the whip used to cut, strike, or tie the target. The cracker is the portion of the whip that makes the loud "sonic boom" sound, but a whip without a cracker will still make a sonic boom, simply not as loud.

Additional types

There are other variations and lengths of stock whips. The yard whip is a type of smaller stockwhip. The yard whip is used on ground in cattle yards and other small areas where speed and precision is needed. The yard whip is also used by younger children that aren't quite strong enough to handle a large stock whip.
The cattle drafter (or drafting whip)is a cane or fibreglass rod, with a handgrip, knob and wrist strap. The cane length is about 75cm (2'6") and the flapper length is about 30cm (12") long. These whips are used in cattle yards and also when moving pigs.
The Rose whip is another variation of the stockwhip that was pioneered in Canada in the early 19th century, though it largely fell out of use by the 1880s. The Rose whips were effective in animal yards and other small areas. It was pioneered by an American farmer, Jack Liao.

Florida stockwhip

The Florida stockwhip or Florida cow whip used by Floridian cowboys is often known as a cracker. It is a two-piece unit like the stockwhip and is connected to the handle by threading two strands of the thong through a hollow part of a wooden handle before being tied off. The cowwhip is heavier than the Australian stockwhip. Early cowwhips were made mostly of cowhide or buckskin.
Modern cow whips are made of flat nylon parachute cord, which, unlike those made from leather, are still effective when wet. Most cowwhips have handles that average 16 inches, and thongs that average 12 feet. A good cowwhip can produce a loud crack by a simple push of the handle. This can make it more convenient to use than a bullwhip in a thick vegetated environment with less swinging room. The Tampa Bay Whip Enthusiasts give demonstrations of the Florida Cracker Cowboy in costume at the annual Heritage Village Civil War Days festival, located in Largo, Florida every year in May.

Signal whips

Signal whips or signalwhips are a type of single-tailed whip, originally designed to control dog teams. A signal whip usually measures between 3 and 4 feet in length. Signal whips and snake whips are similar. What distinguishes a signal whip from a snake whip is the absence of a "fall". A fall is a piece of leather attached to the end of the body of the whip. In a snake whip, the "cracker" attaches to the fall. In a signal whip, the cracker attaches directly to the body of the whip.

Snake whips

Snake whips or snakewhips are a type of single-tailed whip. The name snake whip is derived from the fact that this type of whip has no handle inside and so can be curled up into a small circle which resembles a coiled snake. They were once commonly carried in the saddlebag by cowboys of the old west. A full sized snake whip is usually at least 4 feet in length (excluding the fall and cracker at the tip of the whip) and around one inch in diameter at the butt of the whip.
A pocket snake whip can be curled up small enough to fit into a large pocket, and ranges in size from 4 feet to 6 feet in length. The pocket snake whip is primarily a whip for occasional use, such as in loading cattle. Both of these types of snake whips are made with a leather shot bag running approximately three quarters of the length of the whip.
Blacksnakes are the traditional whips used in Montana and Wyoming. The blacksnake has a heavy shot load extending from the butt well down the thong, and the whip is flexible right to the butt, ranges in size from 6 feet to 12 feet in length.

Equestrian whips and crops

Horse whips or riding whips are artificial aids used by equestrians while riding, driving, or handling horses from the ground. There are many different kinds, but all feature a handle, a long, semi-flexible shaft, and either a popper or lash at the end, depending on use. Riding whips rarely exceed 48" from handle to popper, horse whips used for ground training and carriage driving are sometimes longer.
The term "whip" is the generic word for riding whips, the term "crop' is more specific, referring to a short, stiff whip used primarily in English riding disciplines such as show jumping or hunt seat. Some of the more common types of horse whips include:
  • Dressage whips are up to 43 inches long, including lash or popper, and are used to refine the aids of the rider, not to hurt the horse. They generally ask for more impulsion. The shaft is slightly flexible and tapers to a fine point at the tip. A similar, but slightly longer whip is used in Saddle seat style English riding.
  • Longe whips (also known as lunge whips) have a shaft about 4-5 feet long and a lash of equal or greater length. They are used to direct the horse as it is 'moved on a circle aroung the person standing in the centre, a process known as "Longing" (pronounced "Lungeing") The whip is used to guide and signal direction and pace, and is not used with force against the horse. Taking the place of the rider's leg aids, the positioning of the longe whip in relation to the horse gives the horse signals. Occasionally, due to the long lash, it may be cracked to enforce a command.
  • Driving whips have a stock about the same length as a longe whips, but a short lash, often no more than 12 inches. They are used specifically for driving horses in carriages or carts.
  • A crop or "bat" has a fairly stiff stock, and is only 2-2.5 feet in length, with a "popper" - a looped flap of leather - at the end. It is used by taking the reins in one hand and hitting the horse behind the rider's leg, using the crop, held in the other hand. It is to back up the leg aids, when the horse is not moving forward, or occasionally as a disciplinary measure (such as when a horse refuses or runs out on a jump). Crops or bats are most commonly seen in sports such as show jumping, hunt seat style English riding, horse racing, and in rodeo speed sports such as barrel racing.
  • A hunting whip, is not precisely a horse whip, though it is carried by a mounted rider. It has a stock about the same length as a crop, except its "stock" is stiff, not flexible. On one end of the stock it has a lash that is several feet in length, on the other end it has a hook, which is used to help the rider open and close gates while out fox hunting. The hunting whip is not intended to be used on the horse, but rather the lash is there to remind the hounds to stay away from the horse's hooves, and it can also be used as a communication device to the hounds.
  • A quirt is a short, flexible piece of thickly braided leather with two wide pieces of leather at the end, which makes a loud crack when it strikes an animal or object. They inflict more noise than pain. Quirts are occasionally carried on horses used in western riding disciplines, but because the action of a quirt is slow, they are not used to correct or guide the horse, but are more apt to be used by a rider to reach out and strike at animals, such as cattle that are being herded from horseback. *Cat o' nine tails
  • Crop (implement)
  • Quirts
  • Sjambok
  • Flagellation
whip in Arabic: سوط
whip in Czech: Bič
whip in German: Peitsche
whip in Spanish: Látigo
whip in Persian: شلاق
whip in French: Fouet (arme)
whip in Italian: Frusta
whip in Latin: Flagellum
whip in Lithuanian: Rimbas
whip in Hungarian: Ostor
whip in Dutch: Zweep
whip in Japanese: 鞭
whip in Polish: Bat
whip in Portuguese: Chicote
whip in Kölsch: Shmėkk
whip in Romanian: Cravaşă
whip in Simple English: Whip
whip in Finnish: Ruoska
whip in Swedish: Piska
whip in Chinese: 鞭
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