Green’s Dictionary of Slang

wet adj.1

1. [late 17C; late 19C+] of a woman, sexually excited, ‘secreting lech-water’.

2. with ref. to alcohol.

(a) [early 18C+] drunk; sometimes all wet.

(b) [mid-19C–1920s] drunken; often as wet night.

(c) [mid-19C+] (US) permitting the sale of alcohol; thus a wet state.

(d) [1900s] (US Und.) of alcohol, diluted.

(e) containing alcohol.

3. in fig. senses.

(a) [1920s+] (usu. upper-middle-/upper-class) weak, spineless; thus wetness n., weakness, ineffectuality, spinelessness.

(b) [1920s+] incorrect, mistaken, no good; usu. as all wet

4. (US Black / Und.) covered in blood (usu. from a gunshot or knife wound); thus get one’s hands wet, to commit a murder.

Pertaining to alcohol

In compounds

wet bargain (n.)

[early 19C] a deal concluded over drinks.

wetbrain (n.) [note SE water on the brain, encephalitis]

[late 19C+] a state of stupidity induced by alcoholism; thus an alcoholic; in general use, a fool.

wet food (n.)

[1900s] (US) alcohol.

wet goods (n.) [opposite of SE dry goods, groceries etc.]

[late 18C; mid-19C–1940s] alcohol; also attrib.

wet hand (n.)

[late 19C] a drunkard, a heavy drinker.

wet one (n.) [sense 1]

1. [early 19C] a drinker.

2. [1980s] (US drugs, also wet daddy) a cigarette saturated with phencyclidine; thus wetted-up adj., intoxicated with phencyclidine.

wet parson (n.)

[late 18C–early 19C] a parson with a taste for liquor.

wet Quaker (n.) (also wet Christian)

1. [late 17C–mid-19C] one who pretends to be religious and abjure alcohol, but in fact drinks regularly in secret.

2. one who drinks weak or diluted spirits.

3. in fig. use, any hypocritical person.

wet-see-through (n.)

[early 19C] gin.

wet soul (n.)

[early 19C] a regular, and reasonably heavy drinker.

wetworks (n.)

[1900s] (US) a bar.

In phrases

get wet (v.)

1. [1960s] (US) to have a drink.

2. see also general phrases below.

3. see also SE phrases below.

Pertaining to sex

In compounds

wet check (n.)

[1990s+] (Aus.) a contraceptive sheath, a condom.

wet deck (n.) [the accumulation of sexual fluids]

1. [late 19C+] (Can./US) a woman or prostitute who performs serial sex acts.

2. [1970s] ejaculation without penetration, e.g. after mutual male masturbation.

wet hen (n.) [? hen n. (1)]

[late 19C] (US) a prostitute.

wet suit (n.)

[1990s+] (Aus.) a contraceptive sheath, a condom.

In phrases

get it wet (v.) (also get one’s dick wet)

1. [1950s+] (also get wet) of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

2. [1960s] to be fellated.

leave it wet for (v.)

[1990s+] (US black) to have sexual intercourse; the idea being with someone else’s partner.

General uses

In compounds

wet goose (n.) [goose n.4 (1)]

[late 19C] a foolish, naïve person.

wet smack (n.) [fig. use of SE smack]

1. [1920s+] (US) a weakling, an ineffectual person; a disappointment.

2. a drinker.

wet work (n.) (also wet arts, wet job, wet one) [trans. KGB sl. Mokryye Dela, the department of wet affairs]

[1960s+] murder; assassination, esp. as carried out by secret services; also attrib.

In phrases

all wet (adj.) [1910s+]

1. (orig. US) silly, foolish.

2. (orig. US black) useless, worthless, wrong.

3. [1940s] (US Black) infatuated (with).

get one’s nose wet (v.)

to have a drink.

get wet (v.) [the blood that, figuratively at least, gets on one’s hands; thus KGB, CIA, MI6 jargon get wet, to kill] [1970s+]

1. to murder, to kill.

2. to be wounded, to be stabbed.

3. see also alcohol phrs. above.

4. see also SE phrs. below.

SE in slang uses

In compounds


see separate entries.

wet bottom (n.)

see separate entry.

wet dream (n.)

see separate entry.

wet foot (n.)

[1970s] a naïve, inexperienced, innocent person; also as adj.

wethead (n.) [SE wet + -head sfx (1)]

[1970s+] (US black) a simpleton, an innocent, a novice.

wet leg (n.) [? they are fig. urinating down their own leg]

[1920s–30s] a self-pitying person.

wet-nosed (adj.) (also wet-nose)

[1960s] (US) innocent, naïve.

wet rag (n.) [1940s+]

an emotional, sentimental person.

wet sack (n.)

[1910s] a stupid person.

wet smack (int.)

[1920s] [US] a failure, a second-rate individual.

wet ’un (n.)

see separate entries.

wet ’uns (n.)

[late 19C] tears.

wet week (n.) (also wet day) [? being wet it ‘shrinks’]

[20C+] (Irish) a short time.

In phrases

wet arse and no fish (also wet feet and no fish, wet pants...)

[20C+] (Aus./NZ) orig. angling use, a waste of time; the expenditure of fruitless effort.

get someone wet (v.) [the image of dunking them in water]

[1920+] (N.Z.) to gain an advantage over someone.

get wet (v.) [? one gets wet with sweat]

1. [late 19C–1950s] (Aus.) to lose one’s temper, to become angry.

2. [1900s–40s] (Aus./N.Z.) to gain the upper hand over, to have at one’s mercy.

3. see also alcohol phrs. above.

4. see also general phrs. above.