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.’
      • ‘Another way to whet the knowledge of students on medical quiz.’
      • ‘If both of these dishes were meant to whet the palate for something more flavourful, they certainly did the trick.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They whet the palate by forcing you to tune into subtleties in flavouring and the natural tastes of the very fresh ingredients.’
      • ‘To show off his intelligence, and to whet his ego.’
      • ‘The ingredients are fresh and tasty, and it's a nice way to whet your palate for the flavours to come.’
      • ‘It should be a platform for all film-makers to exchange their ideas and whet their skills.’
      • ‘Fish and prawn kababs in mint and garlic chutney and squid fritters in hot garlic sauce whet the palate for the sumptuous spread.’
      • ‘Workers went through massive upheaval and militant struggle during the First World War and their radicalism was whetted by news of the Russian Revolution.’
      • ‘Just to whet our appetites, and to make us more appreciative of history in the making.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That daily hour and a half of repetitious activity is necessary to whet the fine edge of our skills to razor sharpness.’
      • ‘After whetting the whistle at the pub, many will go on to dance at one of London's countless dance clubs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For people living in an oppressed or corrupt society, the truth can whet demand for change.’
      • ‘The elements in this dish could work well together, but the overall effect just isn't subtle enough to whet your palate for more.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’.