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.

Thesaurus diagram

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 British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlewhistling
past tensewhistled
past participlewhistled
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive]Sound effect 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] to blow a whistle as a warning or to get someone’s attention
    3. c.
      [intransitive] if a machine, train, or boat whistles, a piece of equipment on it makes a loud high sound
    4. d.
      [intransitive] if the wind whistles around or through a place, it makes a high sound because it is blowing strongly
  2. 2
    [intransitive] to move or to travel very quickly

    Her shot went whistling past the goalpost.

phrasal verbs

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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