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May 20 2010   9:41PM GMT

Whet your appetite or wet your appetite?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

Which is correct?
Some proponents hope that Peppermint will ____ the mainstream appetite for cloud computing.
a. whet
b. wet


Answer: a.

Explanation:
To whet is to sharpen. To wet is — well, you know what it is. To moisten, soak, etc. So not really applicable to your appetite.

Something could dampen your appetite but that means to suppress or decrease, not to increase. In that context, dampen is not a synonym for moisten but related to the noun damper, as a restraint or device that suppresses something — such as the flow of air to a fire, or the sound coming from a musical instrument.

And then there’s “wet your whistle” in which “wet” means “wet” (but not dampen, as in the sense seen above). Phrases.org traces this saying back to the 14th century.

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