Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

whistle - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb whistle pronunciation in American English /ˈwɪs(ə)l/whistle pronunciation in American English /ˈhwɪs(ə)l/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlewhistling
past tensewhistled
past participlewhistled
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to make a tune or musical notes by forcing air through your mouth

    I wish you’d stop whistling that tune!

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to make a high sound by forcing air through your mouth in order to get someone’s attention, or to show that you like or dislike something
      whistle to:

      She whistled softly to her friends.

    2. b.
      [intransitive] if a machine, train, or boat whistles, a piece of equipment on it makes a loud high sound
    3. c.
      [intransitive] if the wind whistles around or through a place, it makes a high sound because it is blowing strongly
    4. d.
      [intransitive] to blow a whistle as a warning or to get someone’s attention

      The referee whistled for a time-out.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to move or to travel very quickly

    Her shot went whistling past the net.

phrasal verbs

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play