From Middle English whestone, whetston, whetesston, from Old English hwetstān, from Proto-West Germanic *hwattjastain (“whetstone”). Equivalent to whet (“to sharpen”) + stone.
whetstone (plural whetstones)
- A sharpening stone; a hard stone or piece of synthetically bonded hard minerals that has been formed with at least one flat surface, used to sharpen or hone an edged tool.
c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii], line 192:
[T]he dullness of the fool is the whetstone of the wits.
- 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room, Vintage Classics, paperback edition, page 88-89
- It was as if a stone were ground to dust; as if white sparks flew from a livid whetstone, which was his spine; as if the switchback railway, having swooped to the depths, fell, fell, fell.
- (computing) A benchmark for evaluating the power and performance of a computer.
- (figuratively) A stimulant.
whetstone (third-person singular simple present whetstones, present participle whetstoning, simple past and past participle whetstoned)
- (transitive) To sharpen with a whetstone.