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50 Mistreated Words and Desecrated Phrases: Wet Your Appetite

I hate to throw a wet blanket on a popular expression, but this one is misused far too often. It really isn’t possible to wet one’s appetite. That phrase simply doesn’t hold water.

The word “whet” actually means “to sharpen.” Think of sharpening a knife, using a whetstone. When you whet your appetite, you are sharpening it, in a sense. Your appetite becomes more pronounced, making your desire to eat more obvious.

Sure, when you want to whet your appetite, it may help to wet your whistle first. But that is another matter altogether.

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