What does the idiom "whet sb\'s appetite" mean?

whet sb\'s appetite is an idiom used by many writers. When idioms are used in the right place, they open the doors of effective communication and increase your descriptive power. In this way, you will be better understood. The meaning of the expression whet sb\'s appetite is also remarkable in this respect.

Meaning of "whet sb\'s appetite"


The idiom "whet someone's appetite" is used to describe an experience, activity or event that is pleasurable or stimulating in some way, and which increases the enthusiasm or interest of the person for that experience, activity or event.


The phrase "whet someone's appetite" can be traced back to the 16th century and has its origin in the Latin word seta, which means "an iron for whetting blades or scythes." This word was later anglicized to whet and was used in English, particularly in the context of sharpening tools. The expression was eventually expanded to include the figurative sense of "sharpening" someone’s interest in something.


The expression is used to describe an experience, activity or event that piques the interest of the person involved. This can be a physical activity, such as skateboarding or playing a sport, or an abstract concept, such as reading a book or learning a new skill. The expression can also be used to describe a pleasurable experience, such as a delicious meal or a beautiful view, or a stimulating event, such as attending a concert or going to a movie.

Example Sentences

  • The delicious smell of freshly baked bread from the local bakery always seems to whet my appetite.
  • The anticipation of what our holiday destination would be like certainly whetted our appetites for the journey.
  • The instructor's enthusiasm for the subject certainly whetted our appetite for learning.

The meanings of the words in the "whet sb\'s appetite" idiom

From Shakespeare to Social Media: The Evolution of English Idioms

English idioms have been around for centuries, with many originating from sources like literature, mythology, and everyday life. Shakespeare, for example, coined many phrases that are still used today, such as "break the ice" and "heart of gold." Over time, new idioms have emerged, with social media and popular culture providing rich sources of inspiration. For instance, the phrase "throwing shade" came into use in the 1990s thanks to ball culture, but has since been popularized by social media.


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