- to sharpen (a knife, tool, etc.) by grinding or friction.
- to make keen or eager; stimulate: to whet the appetite; to whet the curiosity.
- the act of whetting.
- something that whets; appetizer or drink.
- Chiefly Southern U.S.
- a spell of work.
- a while: to talk a whet.
Origin of whet
Examples from the Web for whets
She takes her breasts out of her sark and whets the sword on them.In Northern Mists (Volume 1 of 2)
The hourly sight of it whets the appetite, and sharpens it to avarice.Twelve Causes of Dishonesty
Henry Ward Beecher
We take a pipe of consolation, but it only whets our appetites.The Lands of the Saracen
It whets the assassin's dagger, and pours poison into the cup of the suicide.Woman: Man's Equal
But hunger torments and whets his appetite, so that the bread tasted to him like sauce.Four Arthurian Romances
- to sharpen, as by grinding or friction
- to increase or enhance (the appetite, desire, etc); stimulate
- the act of whetting
- a person or thing that whets
Word Origin and History for whets
Old English hwettan, from Proto-Germanic *khwatjanan (cf. Old Norse hvetja "to sharpen, encourage," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wetten, Old High German wezzan, German wetzen "to sharpen," Gothic ga-hvatjan "to sharpen, incite"), from an adjective represented by Old English hwæt "brave, bold," Old Saxon hwat "sharp," from Proto-Germanic *khwataz, from PIE root *qwed- "sharp" (cf. Sanskrit codati "incites," literally "sharpens"). Figurative sense was in Old English.