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Wolf-whistling or finger whistling is a type of whistling in which fingers are inserted in the mouth to produce a louder and more penetrating tone.
A wolf-whistle is a two-toned sound (like 'whip-woo') commonly made using the above technique to show high interest or approval of something or someone (originally a young girl or woman thought to be physically or sexually attractive).
The wolf-whistle originates from the navy General Call made with a boatswain's pipe. The general call is made on a ship to get the attention of all hands for an announcement. Sailors in harbour would whistle the general call when seeing a pretty woman to draw fellow sailors' attention to her. It was eventually picked up by passers-by, not knowing the real meaning of the whistle, and passed on. Today, in English-speaking countries, wolf-whistling is considered a form of sexual harassment.
Although the "wolf-whistle" or "wolf-call" sound can be produced using a conventional whistling technique, a louder and more effective form is usually used. To produce a wolf-whistle, one or more fingers are inserted into the mouth to shape the opening, allowing a forceful stream of air to be blown through.
Generally, the more air forced through the mouth, the louder the whistle.
- "Wolf-whistling is just the start – harassment is not harmless". The Guardian. March 8, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "Wolf-whistling "could be made illegal" under new European convention". The Daily Telegraph. March 8, 2012. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
- "'Wolf-whistling isn't fun, it's humiliating': Hollaback! campaign aims to end street harassment". Hull Daily Mail. June 17, 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
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