\ ˈ(h)wet How to pronounce whet (audio) \
whetted; whetting

Definition of whet

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to sharpen by rubbing on or with something (such as a stone) whet a knife
2 : to make keen or more acute : excite, stimulate whet the appetite whetted her curiosity



Definition of whet (Entry 2 of 2)

1 dialect
a : a spell of work done with a scythe between the time it is sharpened and the time it needs to be sharpened again
b : time, while
2 : something that sharpens or makes keen:
b : appetizer also : a drink of liquor

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Other Words from whet


whetter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for whet

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of whet in a Sentence

Verb We had some wine to whet our appetites. The ads are trying to whet booksellers' interest.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These early voyages revealed how dangerous exploration of northern waters could be but whetted explorers’ appetite for discovery. National Geographic, "Arctic obsession drove explorers to seek the North Pole," 24 Jan. 2020 Consider the 3:40 video to be Baylor’s version of a teaser trailer, whetting the appetite for Monday morning’s introductory news conference at McLane Stadium. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "Once on the short list of elite defensive coordinators, is Dave Aranda the perfect fit for Baylor?," 18 Jan. 2020 If anything, the 11-day gap has served only to build up the anticipation of a first World Cup appearance for six of the 23, and whet the appetite of the rest. San Diego Union-Tribune, "All Blacks ready for World Cup spotlight after 11-day break," 30 Sep. 2019 His involvement in the University Senate whetted his appetite for administration, and in 1970 he was elected dean of the law school. Richard Sandomir, BostonGlobe.com, "Michael I. Sovern, who led Columbia in eventful era," 24 Jan. 2020 Like an appetizer before the main course, the show whetted the appetites of SuperM’s audience, eager to see more of what the seven men can offer the world, both as a whole and through their individual artistry. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "At SuperM's Stunning MSG Show, New York Learns the Meaning of K-Pop 'Supergroup'," 20 Nov. 2019 My decidedly spoiler-free review generally praised the film, with some quibbles, while whetting my appetite for such high-profile reviewing assignments once out of college, a job that would formally elude me for nearly 20 years. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'The Rise of Skywalker' wraps up the 'Star Wars' journey of a lifetime," 6 Dec. 2019 The stalks blend remarkably well in a fresher, more vegetal take on potato-leek soup, bright and light enough to simply whet the appetite. The New York Times News Service Syndicate, The Denver Post, "Celery: Behold the heart of Thanksgiving," 27 Nov. 2019 And if the savory dishes didn't whet your appetite, then the desserts surely will. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jennifer Lawrence and Cooke Maroney Hosted a Clambake for Their Wedding Rehearsal Dinner," 19 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The bird ecology program has a partial classroom lesson, albeit with examples of woodpeckers, red tailed hawks, saw whet owls, and other birds on permanent display. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "A Lesson Plan For The Birds," 4 Nov. 2019 Threatened and Endangered Raptors: Wednesday, April 11, at 6:30 p.m. Meet an American kestrel, a peregrine falcon, a whet owl and an eagle and learn what causes raptors to be threatened and endangered, with Horizon Wings. Courant Community, "Community News For The Enfield Edition," 3 Apr. 2018 The list includes three reds, five whites and four whet-your-palate 2017 pinks. Anne Schamberg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A dozen irresistible warm-weather wines for $20 or less - available in Milwaukee-area stores," 26 Apr. 2018 Your appetite is whet by watching the chef masterly slicing the succulent pork right off the spit; the resulting taco does not disappoint. Olivia Abel, Country Living, "Weekend Getaway Guide: What to Do In Columbus, Ohio," 22 June 2017 And a tiny northern saw-whet owl, blind in one eye after crashing into a window, will begin training to be an educational bird. Colorado Springs Gazette, The Denver Post, "Raptor center gives Colorado birds of prey a second chance at survival," 21 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'whet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of whet


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for whet


Middle English whetten, from Old English hwettan; akin to Old High German wezzen to whet, waz sharp

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Time Traveler for whet

Time Traveler

The first known use of whet was before the 12th century

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Statistics for whet

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whet. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for whet


How to pronounce whet (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of whet

: to make (something, such as a person's appetite or curiosity) sharper or stronger


\ ˈhwet How to pronounce whet (audio) , ˈwet \
whetted; whetting

Kids Definition of whet

1 : to sharpen the edge of by rubbing on or with a stone
2 : to make (as the appetite) stronger

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More from Merriam-Webster on whet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whet

Spanish Central: Translation of whet

Nglish: Translation of whet for Spanish Speakers

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