Definition of whet in English:



  • 1Sharpen the blade of (a tool or weapon)

    ‘she took out her dagger and began to whet its blade in even, rhythmic strokes’
    • ‘Timothy whetted the knife he used to butcher the goats.’
    • ‘Using the clear water from the pool, Mo Ye and Gan Jiang whetted swords on this stone to hone their cutting-edges.’
    sharpen, hone, put an edge on, strop, grind, file
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    1. 1.1 Excite or stimulate (someone's desire, interest, or appetite)
      ‘here's an extract to whet your appetite’
      • ‘There is a range of inspired burger variations, but anyone who recoils from a slab of red meat will find plenty to whet the tastebuds from the fish, chicken and vegetarian selections.’
      • ‘All right, here's something else to whet your whistle, low-carb, low-calorie drinks, you're seeing a lot more new versions of these.’
      • ‘To show off his intelligence, and to whet his ego.’
      • ‘Another way to whet the knowledge of students on medical quiz.’
      • ‘After whetting the whistle at the pub, many will go on to dance at one of London's countless dance clubs.’
      • ‘They whet the palate by forcing you to tune into subtleties in flavouring and the natural tastes of the very fresh ingredients.’
      • ‘The ingredients are fresh and tasty, and it's a nice way to whet your palate for the flavours to come.’
      • ‘That daily hour and a half of repetitious activity is necessary to whet the fine edge of our skills to razor sharpness.’
      • ‘Just to whet our appetites, and to make us more appreciative of history in the making.’
      • ‘I hope I've whetted your appetite without giving away too many details, so that you will consider picking up this book yourself - after all, it's out in paperback at the beginning of February.’
      • ‘A house suited for quiet family life but within an hour of Dublin whets the appetite of country loving commuters.’
      • ‘It also whet the tastebuds of an unfriendly adder - Britain's only poisonous snake species.’
      • ‘Workers went through massive upheaval and militant struggle during the First World War and their radicalism was whetted by news of the Russian Revolution.’
      • ‘The first thing brought to the table is a bowl of fresh, lightly salted peas in their pods, to whet the palate for more beer - serving the same purpose as salty popcorn in local drinking holes.’
      • ‘If both of these dishes were meant to whet the palate for something more flavourful, they certainly did the trick.’
      • ‘The elements in this dish could work well together, but the overall effect just isn't subtle enough to whet your palate for more.’
      • ‘Apart from the gig guaranteeing a great way to bring in the New Year, it should also whet fans' palates for the release of their new album early next year.’
      • ‘Fish and prawn kababs in mint and garlic chutney and squid fritters in hot garlic sauce whet the palate for the sumptuous spread.’
      • ‘It should be a platform for all film-makers to exchange their ideas and whet their skills.’
      • ‘For people living in an oppressed or corrupt society, the truth can whet demand for change.’
      stimulate, excite, arouse, rouse, kindle, trigger, spark, quicken, waken, stir, inspire, animate, fan, fuel, fire, activate, incite, titillate, tempt, galvanize, prompt, strengthen, intensify
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  • A thing that stimulates appetite or desire.

    ‘he swallowed his two dozen oysters as a whet’


Old English hwettan, of Germanic origin; related to German wetzen, based on an adjective meaning ‘sharp’.