Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
The other night I heard a guy say something about “getting [his] whistle wet” and I realized that he meant “wet my whistle”. I thought “I’ll post something to the Eggcorn Forum about this, because it’s supposed to be ‘whet my whistle’”. Then, upon doing some googling in preparation for this post, I realized that, while there are many thousands of google-hits each for both “whet my whistle” and “wet my whistle”, the “wet” version is apparently the acorn and the “whet” version the eggcorn—I’d had it turned around in my head.
The closest thing I found in the Eggcorn Database is “wet [one’s] appetite” for “whet [one’s] appetite”. Oddly, in the case of whistles, “wet” is the acorn and “whet” the eggcorn, while in the case of appetites it’s the other way around! That probably explains my confusion.
Last edited by Dixon Wragg (2011-06-28 23:40:31)
There is also the computer benchmark called Whetstone – the industry-standard floating point benchmark. Apparently, when some one decided to create an integer counterpart, he didn’t know what a whetstone was, and thought it was just a funny misspelling of “wet”. As a result, the integer counterpart of Whetstone is still to this day known as “Dhrystone”.
Last edited by .NetRolller 3D (2011-07-01 14:17:39)
he didn’t know what a whetstone was
Possibly. But think it more likely that “dhrystone” is an intentional pun.
I think my father—who was semi-literate—explained to me that a whetstone was called that because it works better when it’s wet. He did customarily wet his whetstone, sometimes by spitting on it, before using it to sharpen anything. As far as I can see, the only benefit to wetting your whetstone is to keep down the dust.
Yes, Dixon, that does explain your confusion.
You can’t whistle if your mouth is dry (such as after eating crackers), so you need to wet your whistle.
There’s no reason to lubricate your appetite, but a little food can sharpen (whet) it, as needed.