wet market


plural wet markets
: a market that sells perishable items (such as fresh meat and produce) and sometimes live animals which are often slaughtered on-site
But wet markets, as opposed to dry markets, which sell non-perishable goods such as grain or household products, are simply places that offer a wide range of fresh produce. Some, but not all, also sell live animals.Ben Westcott and Serenitie Wang
Experts fear a similar regulatory failure may have enabled the coronavirus outbreak: the longstanding inability to clean up so-called wet markets, which are stuffed with livestock living and dead, domesticated and wild.Max Fisher

Examples of wet market in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Among the first places where COVID was discovered was a wet market in Wuhan where exotic species were on sales. Sophia Sun, Variety, 6 Nov. 2023 These wet markets facilitated the emergence of SARS-CoV-1 in bats, civet cats, and humans in 2002 and, some speculate, the novel coronavirus in 2019. Sonia Shah, Foreign Affairs, 17 Apr. 2020 On February 17, one post accused Wang of flouting the biosafety rules and selling laboratory animals to wet markets for profit. Yanzhong Huang, Foreign Affairs, 5 Mar. 2020 The facilities to be surveyed include restaurants, wet markets, biomedical supply facilities, zoos and breeding facilities. Fox News, 13 Apr. 2023 The Huanan wet market in Wuhan has long been viewed as a potential early epicenter of the pandemic -- the place where an animal disease jumped to humans. Sasha Pezenik, ABC News, 18 Apr. 2023 China is not participating in a United Nations project to survey Asian wet markets and other facilities at high risk of spreading infectious diseases from wild animals to humans, despite long-running talks with Beijing, a UN official told Reuters. Fox News, 13 Apr. 2023 Missing Tattoo Artist Found Dead in N.Y.C. Near Where He Was Last Seen 6 Months Ago: 'There the Whole Time' Although the sale of poisonous foods, including pufferfish, is prohibited in Malaysia, experts said it is still sold at some wet markets, according to CNN. Maria Pasquini, Peoplemag, 10 Apr. 2023 Despite the dangers, poisonous pufferfish are sold at many Malaysian wet markets, experts said. Heather Chen, CNN, 10 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wet market.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


allegedly so called from the wet floors of such markets, due to the melting of ice used to keep seafood fresh and the frequent hosing down of stalls

First Known Use

1978, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of wet market was in 1978

Dictionary Entries Near wet market

Cite this Entry

“Wet market.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wet%20market. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!