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whet

[hwet, wet]
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verb (used with object), whet·ted, whet·ting.
  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
  1. the act of whetting.
  2. something that whets; appetizer or drink.
  3. Chiefly Southern U.S.
    1. a spell of work.
    2. a while: to talk a whet.

Origin of whet

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 formswhet·ter, nounun·whet·ted, adjective
Can be confusedwet whet
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for whetting

whet

verb whets, whetting or whetted (tr)
  1. to sharpen, as by grinding or friction
  2. to increase or enhance (the appetite, desire, etc); stimulate
noun
  1. the act of whetting
  2. a person or thing that whets
Derived Formswhetter, 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

Word Origin and History for whetting

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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