wet work

variants: or less commonly wetwork

Definition of wet work

1 : work involving water or wet substances All wet work, such as concrete, masonry, plaster, drywall and paint must be complete and dry.— Daniel Boone, Floor Covering Installer, 1 May 2010 It is a frequent problem among individuals who perform “wet work” such as homemakers, bartenders, hairdressers, dental workers, and health care workers; repetitive wetting and drying of the hands leads to dryness and redness.— Deborah A. Kedrowski and Erin M. Warshaw, Dermatology Nursing, 1 Feb. 2008
2 : work involving murder or assassination used euphemistically … the intelligence service became infamous as a subcontractor for the K.G.B. and earned a grim reputation for its particular expertise in “wet work,” the assassination of enemies.— Andrew Higgins, New York Times, 25 Dec. 2013… if you do wet work for the CIA … you probably don't want to drive to the job site in this huge, thinly veiled military vehicle.— Al Haas, Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 June 1998

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of wet work

1731, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About wet work

Time Traveler for wet work

Time Traveler

The first known use of wet work was in 1731

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near wet work


wet work


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for wet work

Cite this Entry

“Wet work.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wet%20work. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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