\ ˈhwet How to pronounce whet (audio) , 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:
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, stone, 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

An omelette also doesn't hold the same appetite-whetting qualities that the other dishes do. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "Edwins serves fine French dishes with a cause (review, photos)," 15 Aug. 2019 And if that didn’t whet the appetite of the Gamecocks’ fanbase for much more, what’s happening across the state at Clemson is surely doing it now. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "At SEC media days, Will Muschamp says this is his best football team yet at South Carolina," 17 July 2019 In response, the White House will no doubt accuse Beijing of whetting its currency as a weapon in the trade war. The Economist, "Why a weakening yuan is rattling markets," 5 Aug. 2019 That rapid asset accrual has whetted the appetite of others. Kristine Owram, BostonGlobe.com, "Cannabis ETFs face a ‘day of reckoning’ that even 30 percent gains can’t avert," 9 July 2019 Well positioned sky-watchers will also get a chance to see both a lunar and solar eclipse, while a sprinkle of shooting stars will whet the appetites of meteor hunters looking ahead to the Northern Hemisphere’s best summer sky show. Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic, "Saturn at its best, and more top stargazing events in July," 1 July 2019 Indeed, the prospect of linking up a talented flair player with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil is almost certain to whet the appetite of Arsenal supporters. SI.com, "Everton Soares Absent From Gremio Training as Rumours of Arsenal Move Continue," 23 July 2019 And, if that isn’t enough to whet one’s appetite, St Andrews is still comfortably within driving distance of Glasgow. Glasgow, USA TODAY, "Glasgow, Gateway to Scotland: Explore the city’s rich golf history," 19 July 2019 Laura Dern also whetted our appetite with ten (!!) snapshots taken throughout the filming of the movie. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Greta Gerwig's Little Women: Everything You Need to Know," 20 June 2019

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

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with whet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for whet

Spanish Central: Translation of whet

Nglish: Translation of whet for Spanish Speakers

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).


concealment of treason or felony

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