wet market

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"... derived from the markets' wet floors which are caused by the melting of ice used to ensure the freshness of seafood sold and by stall holders who routinely clean their stalls by spraying them with water. The term 'wet markets' came into common usage [in Singapore] in the early 1970s when the Singapore government used the term to distinguish these markets from air-conditioned 'supermarkets' that had become popular ...." Tan, Alvin (2013). Wet Markets. Singapore: National Heritage Board. Community Heritage Series II. P. 3.



wet market (plural wet markets)

  1. A market selling fresh meat, fish and produce.
    • 1978 July 13, “Frozen fish: Fear of profiteering at 'wet' markets”, in The Straits Times, Singapore:
      The Trade Department is reluctant to introduce the sale of frozen fish in 'wet' markets for fear of profiteering by hawkers. There is also fear that some hawkers may thaw the fish and sell it as fresh.

Usage notes


Often confused with wildlife markets to westerners, although most wet markets do not engage in wildlife trade.[1][2]





  1. ^ Verna Yu (2020 April 16) “What is a wet market?”, in The Guardian[1], retrieved 2021-06-11:In China and Asia, most do not trade in exotic or wild animals and should not be confused with ‘wildlife markets’
  2. ^ Dina Fine Maron (2020 April 15) “'Wet markets' likely launched the coronavirus. Here's what you need to know.”, in National Geographic[2], retrieved 2021-06-11:Although most wet markets don’t sell live wild animals, the terms “wet market” and “wildlife market” are often conflated, according to Aron White, a China specialist at the Environmental Investigation Agency, a London-based nonprofit.