Whiffler

whiffler

1. One who whiffles, or frequently changes his opinion or course; one who uses shifts and evasions in argument; hence, a trifler. Every whiffler in a laced coat who frequents the chocolate house shall talk of the constitution. (swift)

2. One who plays on a whiffle; a fifer or piper.

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. Which like a mighty whiffler 'fore the king, Seems to prepare his way. (Shak)

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.

4. (Science: zoology) The golden-eye.

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