Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To sharpen (a knife, for example); hone.
  • transitive v. To make more keen; stimulate: The frying bacon whetted my appetite.
  • n. The act of whetting.
  • n. Something that whets.
  • n. Informal An appetizer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To hone or rub on with some substance, as a piece of stone, for the purpose of sharpening – see whetstone.
  • v. To stimulate or make more keen.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To rub or on with some substance, as a piece of stone, for the purpose of sharpening; to sharpen by attrition.
  • transitive v. To make sharp, keen, or eager; to excite; to stimulate.
  • n. The act of whetting.
  • n. That which whets or sharpens; esp., an appetizer.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make sharp; sharpen (an edged or pointed tool or weapon) by rubbing it on a stone, or with an implement of stone or other material.
  • To make sharp, keen, or eager; excite; stimulate: as, to whet the appetite.
  • To rub; scratch.
  • To prune or preen; trim.
  • To cut with a knife.
  • n. The act of sharp-ening by friction; hence, something that provokes or stimulates; especially, something that whets the appetite, as a dram.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. sharpen by rubbing, as on a whetstone
  • v. make keen or more acute

Etymologies

Middle English whetten, from Old English hwettan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English whetten, from Old English hwettan ("to whet, sharpen, incite, encourage"), from Proto-Germanic *hwatjanan (“to incite, sharpen”), from Proto-Indo-European *kʷēd- (“sharp”). Cognate with Dutch wetten ("to whet, sharpen"), German wetzen ("to whet, sharpen"), Danish dialectal hvæde ("to whet"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They're not "wet stones" but rather "whetstones" as in "whet: to make keen or more acute;" whet my appetite "; to sharpen by rubbing, as on a whetstone"

    Learn To Sharpen Good Knives With Water Stones | Lifehacker Australia

  • Theres a pair of imbeciles around here called whet (nee sven) and ashie for perfect examples of such stupidity.

    Army Rumour Service

  • Do you think this had kind of whet your appetite for more animation?

    Buzzine » Angelina Jolie

  • For the first time, a Government of independent Sri Lanka has appointed a military censor to "whet" and "cut" media reports relating to sensitive material on the war.

    Kottu

  • I would like to nominate "whet" and "bobthedog" purely on the fact they are both tree hugging PC fu-cktards, who would rather fight for the rights of fugees than they would for the rights of the people who actually deserve it.

    Army Rumour Service

  • 'But then when I heard about the players who were going to play in the league, it kind of whet my appetite to want to try it again.'

    Home | Mail Online

  • Mademoiselle Presle does not seem to have taken part in 'Don Quichotte;' but she was well known as 'première danseuse' in 'La Belle Laitière, La Fête Chinoise,' and other ballets.]] [Footnote 97: For "whet" Editions 1-5 read "raise."

    Byron's Poetical Works, Volume 1

  • I can promise you that all the wonderful "lobsterology" contained in these books will only serve to whet your appetite for the main course.

    Reconsidering the Lobster

  • A few of these -- "Only the Rest of My Life." sung by York and David Burnham, and "The Measure of Love," sung by Sally Mayes and Howard McGillin -- whet one's appetite for the show itself, identified in the program simply as N.

    Howard Kissel: The Best Is Yet to Come

  • Critics, who often noted that Virginia ranks third in the number of current and retired federal employees, suggested that the bills were meant to mainly whet the appetites of tea party voters.

    Virginia's General Assembly pushes bills designed for the polls

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.