whet

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

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), Icelandic hvetja (to whet, encourage, catalyze), dialectal Danish hvæde (to whet).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

whet (third-person singular simple present whets, present participle whetting, simple past and past participle whetted or whet)

  1. (transitive) To hone or rub on with some substance, as a piece of stone, for the purpose of sharpening – see whetstone.
    • c. 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV scene i[1]:
      Why dost thou whet thy knife so earnestly?
    • (Can we date this quote by John Milton and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      The mower whets his scythe.
    • (Can we date this quote by Byron and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      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
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To preen.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

whet (plural whets)

  1. The act of whetting something.
  2. That which whets or sharpens; especially, an appetizer.
    • (Can we date this quote by Spectator and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      sips, drams, and whets

Anagrams[edit]