whet
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /ˈwɛt/
    • (without wine–whine) IPA: /ˈʍɛt/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈwɛt/, [ˈwɛ(ʔ)t̚]
    • (without wine–whine) IPA: /ˈʍɛt/, [ˈʍɛ(ʔ)t̚]
Verb

whet (whets, present participle whetting; past and past participle whetted)

  1. (transitive) To hone or rub on with some substance, as a piece of stone, for the purpose of sharpening – see whetstone.
    • circa 1596-97 William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV scene i:
      Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
    • a. 1645, John Milton, “L'Allegro”, in Poems of Mr. John Milton, […] , London: Printed by Ruth Raworth for Humphrey Moſely,  […], published 1645, OCLC 606951673 ↗, page 33 ↗:
      And the Mower whets his scythe#English|ſithe,
    • Here roams the wolf, the eagle whets his beak.
  2. (transitive) To stimulate or make more keen.
    to whet one's appetite or one's courage
    • circa 1599 William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (play), Act II scene i:
      Since Cassius first did whet me against Caesar, / I have not slept.
    • 1925-29, Mahadev Desai (translator), Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, Part I, chapter xv:
      My faith in vegetarianism grew on me from day to day. Salt's book whetted my appetite for dietetic studies. I went in for all books available on vegetarianism and read them.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To preen.
Translations Translations Noun

whet (plural whets)

  1. The act of whetting something.
  2. That which whets or sharpens; especially, an appetizer.
    • sips, drams, and whets
    • 1769, Elizabeth Raffald, The Experienced English Housekeeper
      To make a nice Whet before Dinner […]



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