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2017 Word of the Year

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 of whet
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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for whetter
Historical Examples
  • Hannam, whetter and I were the only inhabitants of the Hut at the time.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • Caruso was brought inside, and, whilst whetter administered chloroform, McLean sewed up the wound.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • Boxes in which whetter used to carry ice for domestic requirements were as a rule short-lived.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • I awakened the others, and whetter and I got out, leaving Close inside to hang on to the bag.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • Hodgeman joined whetter and Bickerton in preparation for the air-tractor sledge's trip to the west.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • whetter would describe some delicate surgical operation, while I talked about machinery.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • As the weather was fine, Hodgeman and whetter went to investigate two odd-looking pyramids about five miles away.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • This proved to be Bickerton, Hodgeman and whetter returning from their trip along the west coast.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • Bickerton, Hodgeman and whetter had been out forty-three days to the west and had food for forty days only.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
  • There was whetter, who replenished the water-supply from the unfailing fountain-head of the glacier.

    The Home of the Blizzard Douglas Mawson
British Dictionary definitions for whetter

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
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Word Origin and History for whetter

whet

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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