- 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
Related Wordshone, sharpen, pique, incite, stimulate, kindle, file, edge, finish, grind, strop, awaken, waken, provoke, challenge, increase, wake, rally, enhance, animate
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.