I'm looking for a definition of "to whiff on" a question


Does to “whiff on a question” as Jeb Bush seems to have done, mean to stumble on a question? I couldn’t find an answer to my question. I look forward to your feedback.

“Jeb Bush Was the Only GOP Candidate Who Whiffed on the Iraq Question”

It’s a batting metaphor, referring to the sound of swinging at and completely missing a pitch.

Agreed. It’s likely from baseball, and, in this context, would mean trying, and failing, to effectively answer a question, or by making himself look bad with the answer which he gave.

Agree with posters so far.

Going a bit further … in baseball a whiff is a clean miss. Unlike a foul tip where contact is made. In a non-baseball context “a whiff” is a failure that doesn’t even deserve partial credit. IOW, an especially ineffective failure at doing whatever was expected.

I heard the term “whiff” in golf, with the same context - swing and completely miss. Whiff sound more obvious in golf, but probably Gorsnak is right, it entered the popular language from baseball with a wider audience across the country for a longer time.