whetstone

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English[edit]

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A whetstone being used to sharpen a knife.

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English whestone, whetston, whetesston, from Old English hwetstān, from Proto-Germanic *hwatjastainaz (whetstone), equivalent to whet (to sharpen) +‎ stone. Cognate with Saterland Frisian Wätsteen (whetstone), West Frisian wetstien (whetstone), German Low German Wettsteen (whetstone), Dutch wetsteen (whetstone), German Wetzstein (whetstone), Danish hvættesten, hvætsten (whetstone).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

whetstone (plural whetstones)

  1. 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.
    • 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.
  2. (computing) A benchmark for evaluating the power and performance of a computer.
  3. (figuratively) A stimulant.

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