Meaning of whistle


Pronunciation: (hwis'ul, wis'-), [key]
— v., n. -tled, -tling,
  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.
  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.
  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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