From Middle English whetten, from Old English hwettan (“to whet, sharpen, incite, encourage”), from Proto-Germanic *hwatjaną (“to incite, sharpen”), from Proto-Indo-European *kʷēd- (“sharp”). Cognate with Dutch wetten (“to whet, sharpen”), German wetzen (“to whet, sharpen”), Danish dialectal hvæde (“to whet”).
- IPA(key): /wɛt/
- IPA(key): /ʍɛt/ (in accents without the wine-whine merger)
- Rhymes: -ɛt
- Homophones: wet
- (transitive) To hone or rub on with some substance, as a piece of stone, for the purpose of sharpening – see whetstone.
- The mower whets his scythe.
- Here roams the wolf, the eagle whets his beak.
- (transitive) To stimulate or make more keen.
- to whet one's appetite or one's courage