From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Whiffler \Whif"fler\, n.
   [1913 Webster]
   1. One who whiffles, or frequently changes his opinion or
      course; one who uses shifts and evasions in argument;
      hence, a trifler.
      [1913 Webster]

            Every whiffler in a laced coat who frequents the
            chocolate house shall talk of the constitution.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. One who plays on a whiffle; a fifer or piper. [Obs.]
      [1913 Webster]

   3. An officer who went before procession to clear the way by
      blowing a horn, or otherwise; hence, any person who
      marched at the head of a procession; a harbinger.
      [1913 Webster]

            Which like a mighty whiffler 'fore the king,
            Seems to prepare his way.             --Shak.
      [1913 Webster]
      [1913 Webster]

   Note: "Whifflers, or fifers, generally went first in a
         procession, from which circumstance the name was
         transferred to other persons who succeeded to that
         office, and at length was given to those who went
         forward merely to clear the way for the procession. . .
         . In the city of London, young freemen, who march at
         the head of their proper companies on the Lord Mayor's
         day, sometimes with flags, were called whifflers, or
         bachelor whifflers, not because they cleared the way,
         but because they went first, as whifflers did."
         [1913 Webster]

   4. (Zool.) The golden-eye. [Local, U. S.]
      [1913 Webster]
Feedback Form