Etymology
Advertisement
whet (v.)
Old English hwettan "to whet, sharpen," figuratively "incite, encourage," from Proto-Germanic *hwatjan (source also of Old Norse hvetja "to sharpen, encourage," Middle Low German, Middle Dutch wetten, Old High German wezzan, German wetzen "to sharpen," Gothic ga-hvatjan "to sharpen, incite"), from PIE root *kwed- "to sharpen" (source also of Sanskrit codati "incites," literally "sharpens;" Old English hwæt "brave, bold," Old Saxon hwat "sharp").
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
whetstone (n.)
Old English hwetstan; see whet + stone (n.).
Related entries & more 
appetizer (n.)
"something taken to whet the appetite," 1820, agent noun from appetize.
Related entries & more 
antipasto (n.)
1929, from Italian antipasto, from anti- "before" (from Latin ante; see ante-) + pasto "food," from Latin pascere "to feed," from PIE root *pa- "to feed." Earlier Englished as antepast "something taken before a meal to whet the appetite" (1580s).
Related entries & more 
xyster (n.)
"surgical instrument for scraping bones," 1680s, from Greek xyster "a graving tool," from xyein "to scrape." Beekes compare Sanskrit ksnauti "to grind, whet, rub," Lithuanian skusti "to shave, plane." Perhaps from a PIE *kes- "to scrape."
Related entries & more 
Advertisement
hone (n.)
Old English han "a stone, rock, (boundary) stone," from Proto-Germanic *haino (source also of Old Norse hein "hone"), from PIE *ko- "to sharpen, whet." The specific sense "whetstone, stone used for sharpening tools that require a delicate edge" emerged in Middle English (early 14c.). "A hone differs from a whetstone in being of finer grit and more compact texture" [Century Dictionary].
Related entries & more 
paragon (n.)

"a model or pattern of special excellence or perfection; a person of supreme merit or excellence," 1540s, from French paragon "a model, pattern of excellence" (15c., Modern French parangon), from Italian paragone, originally "touchstone to test gold" (early 14c.), from paragonare "to test on a touchstone, compare," from Greek parakonan "to sharpen, whet," from para- "on the side" (see para- (1)) + akonē "whetstone" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce").

Related entries & more 
whether (conj.)
Old English hwæðer, hweðer "which of two, whether," from Proto-Germanic *gihwatharaz (cognates Old Saxon hwedar, Old Norse hvarr, Gothic huaþar, Old High German hwedar "which of the two," German weder "neither"), from interrogative base *khwa- "who" (from PIE root *kwo-, stem of relative and interrogative pronouns) + comparative suffix *-theraz (cognate compounds in Sanskrit katarah, Avestan katara-, Greek poteros, Latin uter "which of the two, either of two," Lithuanian katras "which of the two," Old Church Slavonic koteru "which"). Its comparative form is either. Also in Old English as a pronoun and adjective. Phrase whether or not (also whether or no) recorded from 1650s.
Related entries & more 
contempt (n.)

late 14c., "open disregard or disobedience" (of authority, the law, etc.); general sense of "act of despising, scorn for what is mean, vile, or worthless" is from c. 1400; from Old French contempt, contemps, and directly Latin contemptus "scorn," from past participle of contemnere "to scorn, despise," from assimilated form of com-, here perhaps an intensive prefix (see com-), + *temnere "to slight, scorn, despise," which is of uncertain origin.

De Vaan has it from PIE *tmn(e)- "to cut," with cognates in Middle Irish tamnaid "cuts," Greek tamno (Attic temno) "to cut;" Lithuanian tinti "to whet," colloquially to beat;" archaic Russian tjat' "to beat." He adds, "The compound contemnere is the older verb, from which temnere has been backformed more recently. The etymology is disputed: the meaning 'scorn' has probably developed from a more concrete meaning ...."

Latin also had contemptrix "she who despises." Phrase contempt of court "open disregard or disrespect for the rules, orders, or process of judicial authority" is attested by 1719, but the idea is in the earliest uses of contempt.

Related entries & more