Merriam-Webster has been defining words since 1828 and is, in the main, a dictionary of American-English. Although aimed squarely at our Colonial Cousins it contains a range of words rarely heard outside Britain. I’m pleased to report that whinge, although rarely heard outside Britain is featured:
Definition – to complain fretfully: whine
Intransitive verb – British
Whinge and whine may look like simple variants, but the two words are fairly distinct, with meanings and histories that are independent. Whinge comes from an Old English word, hwinsian, meaning “to wail or moan discontentedly,” whereas whine comes from the Old English hwinan (“to make a humming or whirring sound”). Whinge, in use since the 12th century, has always had a meaning related to complaining; whine, on the other hand, did not begin to have its now-familiar meaning until the 16th century.
O it is a sweet thing ay to be whinging, and crying, and seeking about Christ’s Pantry Doors, and to hold ay an Eye upon Christ when he goes into the House of Wine, into His Fathers fair Luckie Wine-Celler where there are many Wines, and bout in at Christ’s back. — Samuel Rutherford, Christs Napkin, 1660
2 thoughts on “Merriam-Webster on whingeing”
I love having a good whinge. It always make me feel better. But I never whine, at least I don’t think I do. 🙂
Whinging is what we ‘oldies’ do, whining is for young children.
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