adjective, wet·ter, wet·test.

  1. moistened, covered, or soaked with water or some other liquid: wet hands.
  2. in a liquid form or state: wet paint.
  3. characterized by the presence or use of water or other liquid.
  4. moistened or dampened with rain; rainy: Wet streets make driving hazardous.
  5. allowing or favoring the sale of alcoholic beverages: a wet town.
  6. characterized by frequent rain, mist, etc.: the wet season.
  7. laden with a comparatively high percent of moisture or vapor, especially water vapor: There was a wet breeze from the west.
  8. Informal.
    1. intoxicated.
    2. marked by drinking: a wet night.
  9. using water or done under or in water, as certain chemical, mining, and manufacturing processes.


  1. something that is or makes wet, as water or other liquid; moisture: The wet from the earth had made the basement unlivable.
  2. damp weather; rain: Stay out of the wet as much as possible.
  3. a person in favor of allowing the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.
  4. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. wetback.

verb (used with object), wet or wet·ted, wet·ting.

  1. to make (something) wet, as by moistening or soaking (sometimes followed by through or down): Wet your hands before soaping them.
  2. to urinate on or in: The dog had wet the carpet.

verb (used without object), wet or wet·ted, wet·ting.

  1. to become wet (sometimes followed by through or down): Dampness may cause plastered walls to wet. My jacket has wet through.
  2. (of animals and children) to urinate.
  1. all wet, Informal. completely mistaken; in error: He insisted that our assumptions were all wet.
  2. wet behind the ears, immature; naive; green: She was too wet behind the ears to bear such responsibilities.
  3. wet one’s whistle. whistle(def 15).
  4. wet out, to treat (fabric) with a wetting agent to increase its absorbency.

adjective wetter or wettest

  1. moistened, covered, saturated, etc, with water or some other liquid
  2. not yet dry or solidwet varnish
  3. rainy, foggy, misty, or humidwet weather
  4. employing a liquid, usually watera wet method of chemical analysis
  5. mainly US and Canadian characterized by or permitting the free sale of alcoholic beveragesa wet state
  6. British informal feeble or foolish
  7. wet behind the ears informal immature or inexperienced; naive


  1. wetness or moisture
  2. damp or rainy weather
  3. British informal a Conservative politician who is considered not to be a hard-linerCompare dry (def. 21)
  4. British informal a feeble or foolish person
  5. mainly US and Canadian a person who advocates free sale of alcoholic beverages
  6. the wet Australian (in northern and central Australia) the rainy season

verb wets, wetting, wet or wetted

  1. to make or become wet
  2. to urinate on (something)
  3. (tr) dialect to prepare (tea) by boiling or infusing
  4. wet one’s whistle informal to take an alcoholic drink

Old English wætan “to be wet;” see wet (adj.). Related: Wetted; wetting.


Old English wæt “moist, liquid,” from Proto-Germanic *wætaz (cf. Old Frisian wet ). Also from the Old Norse form, vatr. All related to water (n.1).

Wet blanket “person who has a dispiriting effect” is recorded from 1879, from use of blankets drenched in water to smother fires (the phrase is attested in this literal sense from 1660s). All wet “in the wrong” is recorded from 1923, American English; earlier simply wet “ineffectual,” and perhaps ultimately from slang meaning “drunken” (c.1700). Wet-nurse is from 1610s. Wet dream is from 1851; in the same sense Middle English had ludificacioun “an erotic dream.”

He knew som tyme a man of religion, þat gaff hym gretelie vnto chastitie bothe of his harte & of his body noghtwithstondyng he was tempid with grete ludificacions on þe nyght. [“Alphabet of Tales,” c.1450]

In addition to the idioms beginning with wet

  • wet behind the ears
  • wet blanket
  • wet one’s whistle

also see:

  • all wet
  • get one’s feet wet
  • like (wet as) a drowned rat
  • mad as a hornet (wet hen)

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