Definition of whet in English:



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