follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

whet

[hwet, wet] /ʰwɛt, wɛt/
verb (used with object), whetted, whetting.
1.
to sharpen (a knife, tool, etc.) by grinding or friction.
2.
to make keen or eager; stimulate:
to whet the appetite; to whet the curiosity.
noun
3.
the act of whetting.
4.
something that whets; appetizer or drink.
5.
Chiefly Southern U.S.
  1. a spell of work.
  2. a while:
    to talk a whet.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English whetten (v.), Old English hwettan (derivative of hwæt bold); cognate with German wetzen, Old Norse hvetja, Gothic gahwatjan to incite
Related forms
whetter, noun
unwhetted, adjective
Can be confused
wet, whet.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for whet
  • Another swallower works underwater, in what may be a futile attempt to whet the blade.
  • They are conversation pieces that whet the imagination.
  • The media mogul and philanthropist aims to whet a public taste for the low-fat bison burger.
  • Purists have sought to revive the sound of wh, especially where confusion might result, as in whet contrasted with wet.
  • Anyway, that's a historical fillip to whet your attention.
  • When a wire edge forms on the full length of the blade, lightly whet the flat side to remove it.
British Dictionary definitions for whet

whet

/wɛt/
verb (transitive) whets, whetting, whetted
1.
to sharpen, as by grinding or friction
2.
to increase or enhance (the appetite, desire, etc); stimulate
noun
3.
the act of whetting
4.
a person or thing that whets
Derived Forms
whetter, noun
Word Origin
Old English hwettan; related to hvæt sharp, Old High German hwezzen, Old Norse hvetja, Gothic hvatjan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for whet
whet
O.E. hwettan, from P.Gmc. *khwatjanan (cf. O.N. hvetja "to sharpen, encourage," M.L.G., M.Du. wetten, O.H.G. wezzan, Ger. wetzen "to sharpen," Goth. ga-hvatjan "to sharpen, incite"), from an adj. represented by O.E. hwæt "brave, bold," O.S. hwat "sharp," from P.Gmc. *khwataz, from PIE base *qwed- "sharp" (cf. Skt. codati "incites," lit. "sharpens"). Fig. sense was in O.E.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for whet

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for whet

10
9
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with whet