\ 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 Prime Day enthusiasts, need a little something to whet your shopping appetites? Emily Ruane, refinery29.com, "We Combed Amazon’s Big Style Sale For The Best Fashion Deals," 23 June 2020 The stay-at-home orders due to the ongoing pandemic could also whet the appetites for games, experts say. Shannon Liao, CNN, "Sony's latest PlayStation 5 event is on Thursday. Here's what to expect," 10 June 2020 At the time, the test was seen as a reward for the New Zealander’s domination in Australia and to whet his desire to step into an Indy car, which the driver had made very public. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar teams react to strict testing limits for rest of 2020 season: 'May the best man win'," 4 June 2020 Night-train journeys both whet our appetite for adventure and develop our sense of scale. The New Yorker, "The Mail," 25 May 2020 If these shorter practices whet your appetite for uninterrupted hours of contemplation, consider visiting virtual versions of the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Rooms housed at the Rubin and the National Museum of Asian Art. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Unwind With These Free, Museum-Led Meditation and Mindfulness Sessions," 22 Apr. 2020 Their discussion may whet your appetite for Take Action With Citizen Science, a Saturday session on how you can get involved in these and other community research efforts. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "Earth Day’s Gone Digital. Here’s Where to Find It.," 21 Apr. 2020 And Americans’ taste for discount shopping, whetted during the last recession, will have deepened too. The Economist, "Closed The pandemic is a calamity for many American retailers," 20 Apr. 2020 Until that time, Fiori’s book provides an aperitif, of sorts, whetting readers’ desire for using their passports again, after the viral war. Washington Post, "Holiday magazine: The rise and fall of the glamorous mid-century travel publication," 9 Apr. 2020 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

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Whet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whet. Accessed 8 Aug. 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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