wham·my (wămē, hwămē)
n. pl. wham·mies
1. A supernatural spell for subduing an adversary; a hex: put the whammy on someone.
2. A serious or devastating setback: "The triple whammy: government cuts, declining corporate giving, and less favorable tax laws" (New York Times).
[Perhaps from WHAM.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.