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Whiny, Whiney, Whinny—What’s the Difference?

  • Whiny means annoyingly complaining, especially in a high-pitched voice.
  • Whiney means the same as whiny, but it’s an uncommon alternative spelling.
  • Whinny is the low or gentle neighing of a horse.

Words that differ by only a letter or two are sometimes difficult to tell apart. However, you can master whiny, whiney, and whinny with ease. Find out how!

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Whiny, Whiney, Whinny—What's the Difference? gif

Whiny Definition

Have you ever heard someone whine? Whiny describes someone who annoyingly complains or frets about something, especially in a high-pitched voice. Here are some sentences to help you understand how to use whiny. The alternate spelling whiney derives from adding a -y ending to the verb whine, but this spelling is not even half as popular as whiny. As with all rare spellings, writers sometimes encounter criticism from readers who think that it’s a misspelling.

Feeding a dog table scraps might make him whiny .

Kevin played music to drown out his friend’s whiney voice.

Whinny Definition

To whinny means to neigh softly. The noise is characteristic of horses. Notice how the verb is used in these two sentences.

The pony whinnies each time someone passes his stable door.

The young boy whinnied at the horses to see if they would approach him.

Examples

Star bolted with an excited whinny and sped into the woods as fast as he could, determined to outrun anyone chasing him.

For most of American history, we’ve managed this discomfiture by acting like adults, being civil and avoiding whiney , entitled moral preening.

In light of the argument, Farrah. . . tells Sophia that she’s not very nice because Sophia is whiny .

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