[ hwet, wet ]
See synonyms for whet on Thesaurus.com
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.

  1. the act of whetting.

  2. something that whets; appetizer or drink.

  1. Chiefly Southern U.S.

    • a spell of work.

    • 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

Other words from whet

  • whet·ter, noun
  • un·whet·ted, adjective

Words that may be confused with whet

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use whet in a sentence

  • Provocatives of drink were called "shoeing horses," "whetters," "drawers off and pullers on."

    The Art of Entertaining | M. E. W. Sherwood

British Dictionary definitions for whet


/ (wɛt) /

verbwhets, whetting or whetted (tr)
  1. to sharpen, as by grinding or friction

  2. to increase or enhance (the appetite, desire, etc); stimulate

  1. the act of whetting

  2. a person or thing that whets

Origin of whet

Old English hwettan; related to hvæt sharp, Old High German hwezzen, Old Norse hvetja, Gothic hvatjan

Derived forms of whet

  • whetter, noun

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