late 14c., "quick stroke, sweeping movement," probably from Old Norse visk "wisp of hay, something to sweep with," from Proto-Germanic *wisk- "move quickly" (source also of Danish visk "broom," Middle Dutch wisch, Dutch wis, Old High German wisc, German wisch "wisp, brush"), from PIE root *weis- "to turn, twist" (source also of Sanskrit veskah "noose," Czech vechet "a wisp of straw," Old English wiscian "to plait," weoxian "to clean" with a whisk or brush). Unetymological spelling with wh- is from 1570s. Meaning "implement for beating eggs, etc." first recorded 1660s.
late 15c., "move with a rapid sweeping motion" (intransitive), from a Scandinavian source (compare Danish viske "to wipe, rub, sponge," Norwegian, Swedish viska "wipe," also "wag the tail"), from the source of whisk (n.). Transitive sense is from 1510s; meaning "to brush or sweep (something) lightly over a surface" is from 1620s. Related: Whisked; whisking.
updated on April 07, 2014