Nearby words

  1. whisperous,
  2. whisperously,
  3. whispery,
  4. whist,
  5. whist drive,
  6. whistle dixie,
  7. whistle for,
  8. whistle in the dark,
  9. whistle pig,
  10. whistle stop


Origin of whistle

before 950; (v.) Middle English whistlen, Old English hwistlian; akin to Old Norse hvīsla to whistle, hviskra to whisper; see whine; (noun) Middle English; Old English hwistle instrument, akin to the v.

Related formswhis·tle·a·ble, adjectivein·ter·whis·tle, verb (used with object), in·ter·whis·tled, in·ter·whis·tling.un·whis·tled, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for wet one's whistle


/ (ˈwɪsəl) /



Word Origin for whistle

Old English hwistlian; related to Old Norse hvīsla

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 wet one's whistle
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wet one's whistle

wet one's whistle

Have a drink, as in I'm just going to wet my whistle before I go out on the tennis court. This expression uses whistle in the sense of “mouth” and may allude to the fact that it is very hard to whistle with dry lips. [Late 1300s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with whistle

  • whistle Dixie
  • whistle for
  • whistle in the dark

also see:

  • blow the whistle on
  • clean as a whistle
  • slick as a whistle
  • wet one's whistle
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.