Whippet or wippet?

Some folks here are opening a new pub. Which they’re calling “The Wippet”.

Now you and I know that it’s really “whippet” for the dog breed. But before I go and jeer at them (they are not native English speakers) is wippet an allowable spelling or are they just wrong?

10 thoughts on “Whippet or wippet?”

  1. The OED has

    Also 6 wepit, whippett, 9 whippit, wippet.

    †1.1 ? Some light wine. Obs.

       c 1500 Blowbol’s Test. 50 (MS. Rawl. C. 86 lf. 107 b) Good drynke he louyd better than he did wepit.    Ibid. 337. 112 Malmasyes, Tires, and Rumneys,‥Whippett and Pyngmedo.

    2.2 A lively young woman; a light wench; now dial. a nimble, diminutive, or puny person.

       1550 Crowley Epigr. 1331 All modeste matrons I truste wyll take my parte, As for nice whippets, wordes Shall not come nye my hert.    1596 Nashe Saffron Walden Wks. (Grosart) III. 158 Those worthlesse Whippets and Iack Strawes hee could get, he would seeme to enable and compare with the highest.    1597 Breton Wit’s Trenchmour Wks. (Grosart) II. 15/1 Why, quoth this Whippet, if I should tell you I loue you [etc.].

    †3.3 A sudden brisk movement. Obs. rare—1.

       a 1603 T. Cartwright Confut. Rhem. N.T. (1618) 431 As soone as ever [the dog] seeth [the rost] taken from the fire, he giveth a whippet from his wheele.

    4. a.4.a A small breed of dog; now spec. a cross between a greyhound and a terrier or spaniel, used for coursing and racing, esp. in the north of England.
       With the earliest examples cf. whappet.

       a 1610 Healey Theophrastus (1616) 75 If a little dog or whippet of his dye, ô hee makes him a tombe.    c 1615 W. Goddard Mastiff Whelp G 3, Too loude thou barkest Whelpe, I must haue whippets now, that doe but yelpe.    1630 J. Taylor (Water P.) Dogge of Warre Wks. ii. 232 The little Curre, Whippet, or House-dogge.    1645 Milton Colast. 26 If a man cannot peaceably walk into the world, but must bee infested‥with bauling whippets, and shin-barkers.    1665 in Sporting Mag. XLII. 10 To seize‥all such greyhounds, beagles, or whipperts [sic].    1841 Hartshorne Salopia Antiqua 614 Whippet, a dog bred betwixt a greyhound and a spaniel.    1884 St. James’s Gaz. 18 Oct. 6/2, I found a man training a wiry racing-dog.‥ The ‘whippet’ strode along with great earnestness.

    attrib. and Comb.    1885 Bazaar 30 Mar. 1260/3 Fawn whippet bitch for sale.    1894 F. Lloyd Whippet & Race-Dog viii. 45 The National Whippet-racing Club.    Ibid. xi. 73 A most important personage on the Whippet-track is the clerk of the scales.

    b.4.b transf. Mil. The Medium Mark A ‘tank’, a light kind of ‘tank’ used in the war of 1914–18. Also called chaser. Usually attrib. as whippet tank.

       1918 Times 15 Aug. 7/6 The‥capture of Morlancourt, where light Tanks or whippets were used.    1918 E. W. Farrow Dict. Mil. Terms 664 Whippet tank, an English armored car equipped with caterpillar treads.    1920 J. F. C. Fuller Tanks in Gt. War 176 March 26 [1918] is an interesting date in the history of the Tank Corps, for, on the afternoon of this day, the Whippet Tanks made their debut.    1938 G. Greene in Spectator 22 July 139/2 Whippet tanks—camouflaged as in war.    1946 New Yorker 9 Mar. 83/1 Solid city blocks of whippet and giant tanks.

    †5.5 A little whip. Obs. rare—1.

       1616 Surfl. & Markh. Country Farm i. xxviii. 132 He shall not vse anie thing else to ride him [sc. horse] with, saue onely his whippet and trench.

    †6.6 ‘A short light petticoat’ (Forby). dial. Obs.

    Hence whippeˈteer, ˈwhippeter, a person who keeps a whippet (sense 4); ˈwhippeting, n. the breeding, training, etc. of whippets; a. engaged in this.

       1894 Sir J. D. Astley Fifty Yrs. Life II. 337 The principal whippeteers are colliers in Lancashire.    1894 F. Lloyd Whippet & Race-Dog vii. 44 Everything connected with Whippeting.    Ibid. ix. 58 Some Whippeting people.    Ibid. xxiv. 174 Common names have been given by Whippeters to the dogs.

  2. Whippet, and only whippet.

    Just because all Englishmen drop their aitches on occasion is no reason to humour them.

  3. I’d keep a straight face, claim TMB’s 2.2 and the vagaries of the ballistic approach at spelling in middle-english, and make sure the wait staff fits the bill.

    Might actually draw a crowd… 😉

  4. Correct response to a new opening: Whippet Inn, Whip it out and wipe it.

    Is this in fact called the Whippet Inn? That would provide a rationale.

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