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Meaning of whistle

whis•tle

Pronunciation: (hwis'ul, wis'-), [key]
— v., n. -tled, -tling,
—v.i.
  1. to make a clear musical sound, a series of such sounds, or a high-pitched, warbling sound by the forcible expulsion of the breath through a small opening formed by contracting the lips, or through the teeth, with the aid of the tongue.
  2. to make such a sound or series of sounds otherwise, as by blowing on some device.
  3. to emit similar sounds from the mouth, as birds do.
  4. (of a device) to produce a similar sound when actuated by steam or the like: This teakettle whistles when it boils.
  5. to move, go, pass, etc., with a whistling or whizzing sound, as a bullet or the wind.
—v.t.
  1. to produce by whistling: to whistle a tune.
  2. to call, direct, or signal by or as by whistling: He whistled his dog over.
  3. to send with a whistling or whizzing sound.
  4. to demand or expect without success: After promising to pay, he told us we could whistle for our money.
  5. to attempt to summon up one's courage or optimism in a difficult situation: He says his business will improve next year, but he's probably just whistling in the dark.
—n.
  1. an instrument for producing whistling sounds by means of the breath, steam, etc., as a small wooden or tin tube, a pipe, or a similar device with an air chamber containing a small ball that oscillates when air is forced through an opening, producing a high-pitched, warbling tone.
  2. a sound produced by whistling: a prolonged whistle of astonishment.
  3. a simple fipple flute.
  4. to expose the existence of mischief or wrongdoing: The agent was taking bribes until someone finally blew the whistle.
  5. Congress has blown the whistle on all unnecessary expenditures for the program.
    1. to bring a stop to; halt:Congress has blown the whistle on all unnecessary expenditures for the program.
    2. to expose (wrongdoing or wrongdoers):to blow the whistle on corruption in high places.
  6. to take a drink.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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