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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.
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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.
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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

Related Words

honesharpenpiqueincitestimulatekindlefileedgefinishgrindstropawakenwakenprovokechallengeincreasewakerallyenhanceanimate

Examples from the Web for whetted

Historical Examples

  • The little tastes of apple that he got only whetted his appetite.

    Johnny Bear

    E. T. Seton

  • Luella had elected him for her next; but he was away, and she whetted her wits on Eddie.

    In a Little Town

    Rupert Hughes

  • They waited for the hour to come, and whetted the knife before I took it in my hands.

    Debts of Honor

    Maurus Jkai

  • The more I examined the thing, the more it whetted my curiosity.

  • This only whetted the zeal and inquisitiveness of the inquisitors.

    Marion's Faith.

    Charles King


British Dictionary definitions for whetted

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
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noun
  1. the act of whetting
  2. a person or thing that whets
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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 whetted

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper