wet, whet

The words wet, whet sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. Why do wet, whet sound the same even though they are completely different words?

The answer is simple: wet, whet are homophones of the English language.

  1. :: adjective

    Covered or soaked with a liquid, such as water.

  2. :: adjective

    Not yet dry or firm: wet paint.

  3. :: adjective

    Stored or preserved in liquid.

  4. :: adjective

    Used or prepared with water or other liquids.

  1. :: verb-transitive

    To sharpen (a knife, for example); hone.

  2. :: verb-transitive

    To make more keen; stimulate: The frying bacon whetted my appetite.

  3. :: noun

    The act of whetting.

  4. :: noun

    Something that whets.

Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition and Wordnik.

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About Homophones

Homophones (literally "same sound") are usually defined as words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of how they are spelled.

If they are spelled the same then they are also homographs (and homonyms); if they are spelled differently then they are also heterographs (literally "different writing").