where are the snows of those far-off days when, despite the evidence of this video, it didn't even occur to us to wonder if George Michael might be gay?
Anyway, wham. It's quite a new word, and it's basically an imitation of the sound of something hitting something else with what I suppose before the word wham was invented you would have called a forceful thump.
Whammy is wham's unlucky offspring. A whammy doesn't necessarily have any physical existence, but it has a forceful and usually bad effect. Whammies often come in groups of two or three: so, a double whammy might be a combination of a bad cold and being snowed in; and a triple whammy might involve a bad cold, being snowed in, and a visit from your cousin Herbert.
Interestingly for such a new word, a whammy also has the magical meaning of an evil spell or curse. He put a whammy on her.
Hmm...and I'd been telling myself that the history of this word was showing that we've been getting quite enlightened.
Word To Use Today: wham or whammy. Merriam-Webster gives the first use of this word as 1924.