\ˈhwet, ˈwet\
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:

a : goad, incitement

b : appetizer also : a drink of liquor

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Other Words from whet


whetter noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for whet

Synonyms: Verb

edge, grind, hone, sharpen, strop

Antonyms: Verb

blunt, dull

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Examples of whet in a Sentence


We had some wine to whet our appetites. The ads are trying to whet booksellers' interest.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And, because beer is a way of life in Germany, the paper suggested visitors whet their palate at OTR institutions Rhinegeist and Taft's Ale House. Mallorie Sullivan, Cincinnati.com, "Wunderbar! German newspaper calls Oktoberfest Zinzinnati 'America's Oktoberfest'," 6 July 2018 Her clothes always seemed less about what men desired than what whet her creative appetite. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, "Shape-Shifting Art Tower Completes Prada’s City Within a City," 15 June 2018 And if a second season of Discovery and two more movies at Paramount weren't enough to whet your Trek appetite, the future of the franchise had potential major updates just this week. Sam Ferguson, Ars Technica, "A dozen years after near-death, Star Trek’s future may be stronger than ever," 19 May 2018 And the turf fighting seems to get nastier and more bitter as the chiefs’ selfish interests are whetted. WSJ, "Tribalism Threatens the Great Melting Pot," 13 May 2018 To whet the appetitate of gamers, EA Sports released the ratings for each player in the game this week. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Texans players' Madden 19 video game ratings," 12 July 2018 Prior to this year's 24 Hours Nürburgring race in May, the 919 Evo whetted our appetite by running some demonstration laps in formation with Bellof's 956. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Porsche shatters the Nürburgring record we thought was unbreakable," 30 June 2018 Speaking of games, here's a clip from the upcoming title Eve: Valkyrie to whet your appetite. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Here's Your First, Best Look At the Final Oculus Rift," 11 June 2015 Her jump into countless book clubs has whetted Ms. Rau’s reading appetite. Haley Velasco, WSJ, "Too Busy for a Book Club? Join an Online Version," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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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Statistics for whet

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for whet

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

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More Definitions for whet



English Language Learners Definition of whet

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


\ˈhwet, 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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Comments on whet

What made you want to look up whet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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