A Word A Day : Whet

Wednesday, 26th March 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Verb & Noun )

Pronunciation : wet & hwet


Past and past participle : whetted
Present participle : whetting
3rd person present singular : whets

1. to make a feeling, sense or desire more keen or intense

2. to sharpen the cutting edge or blade of a tool or weapon, usually by rubbing it on a stone

3. to make more keen

4. an act of sharpening, intensifying or stimulating something

5. something that sharpens a cutting edge

6. something that stimulates a feeling, sense or desire, especially a small amount that makes somebody want more ( informal )

NOTE : Another word that sounds similar to whet is wet which means to be moist.


Old English - hwettan - sharpen - Germanic - sharp


edge, file, finish, grind, hone, sharpen, strop, animate, awaken, challenge, enhance, excite, hone, incite, increase, kindle, pique, provoke, quicken, rally, rouse, stimulate, stir, wake, waken

Provoke means to stir up or arouse - or to incite to anger or resentment.

Evoke means to call forth or call to mind emotions, feelings and responses.


blunt, dull, dampen, dishearten, quell

Contextual Examples:

• The frying bacon whetted my appetite.

• The delicious smells coming from the kitchen served to whet our appetites for dinner.

• These fragments of nourishment served only to whet my hunger.

• Still calmly, though my heart was going pitapat, I pulled out Louis's dirk and began to whet it on the stone.

• The thought of easy money whetted my enthusiasm for the undertaking.

• Maurice Huret in his famous article gave an outline of Charles Strickland's life which was well calculated to whetted the appetites of the inquiring.

Related Words:

whetter : Noun

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