I heard the expression

whiffling and waffling all over the place

but can't find a definition for it. Maybe it's a misspelling. What does it mean?


2 Answers 2


To whiffle and to waffle both mean to vacillate between ideas or courses of action. A "waffler" is someone who can't make up his or her mind. Using the verbs together is just for emphasis.

  • That is a neat explanation, and so +1 :)
    – karthiks
    Sep 21, 2011 at 13:33

One of the OED’s definitions of ‘waffle’ is indeed ‘to waver; to vacillate or equivocate’, but the meaning of ‘waffle’ most familiar to me is to talk or write at great length without actually saying very much. The OED gives six defintions for ‘whiffle’, one of which is ‘to vacillate, to be variable or evasive’, so in some contexts the two words can mean the same thing.

  • Do people use "whiffle" in this context (to vacillate) without adding "waffle"? My impression is that "whiffle" is usually followed by "waffle" when it means "vacillate". In contrast, "waffle" is quite often used for this meaning by itself. Sep 21, 2011 at 13:36
  • 1
    The OED’s citations for this sense have ‘whiffle’ with nary a ‘waffle’. I’ve not previously come across ‘whiffle’, whether waffleless or otherwise, so cannot comment on current usage. Sep 21, 2011 at 15:45

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