1. with ref. to liquids.
(a) (also whet) a (measure of) alcohol, often as take a w(h)et, to have a drink; thus wet stuff, alcohol.
|Squire of Alsatia II ii: Let’s whet; bring some wine. Come on; I love a whet.|
|Woman’s Wit I i: Let’s you and I take a Whet of racy Canary.|
|A Comical View of London and Westminster in Works (1760) I 151: Barristers [...] take a whet at the Dog, or a slice of roast beef at Heaven.|
|in Pills to Purge Melancholy V 125: At noon he gets up for a wet and to Dine.|
|Authentick Memoirs of Sally Salisbury 48: They had guzzled down Three or Four Bottles by way of Whet.|
|Newcastle Courant 1 Dec. 1/2: This fits him for t’other Pipe, and that for a Whet at the Rose.|
|Midas I iii: Our Gammer, sure, has tipt her whet of stingo!|
|Spleen II i: He [...] takes a whet at mother Redcap’s.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Whet, a morning’s draught, commonly white wine, supposed to whet or sharpen the appetite.|
|Sporting Mag. Feb. XIII 271/1: Justice Guzzle called for a dram by way of whet.|
|Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].|
|Adventures of Johnny Newcome III 167: Tongue and fowls, and lots of Wet.|
|London Guide 226: He had taken a whet (of gin) in Spitalfields market.|
|Life in London (1869) 385: The Racket-Players have just called in for a whet.|
|Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 219: Numerous dragsmen taking their morning whets.|
|‘Her Muns with a Grin’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 50: All moonshine to stash — is the young lightning’s flash / [...] / that is got a by a smash, / At the vendor of vet.|
|‘Going Out A-Shooting’ Dublin Comic Songster 232: We had cigars, and just a wet, / Before we went a-shooting.|
|Stray Subjects (1848) 107: I gin her cords of peanuts, / And a apple and a ‘wet.’.|
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 26 Feb. 1/4: Let’s get a vet.|
|Fast Man 8:1 n.p.: [H]e’d see them all blowed if he’d go on without a wet of gatter.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 51/2: There was quite a ‘push’ inside, made up mostly of those who had left the Globe, and who yet lingered for another ‘wet.’.|
|Launceston Wkly News 1 Sept. 3/2: ‘Ain’t had no wet for four days!’.|
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 10 Jan. 14/1: She [...] said she didn’t mind if she did have a wet of gin.|
|Life in the Ranks 71: This shrine of Bacchus is certainly well patronised by our ‘bright boys,’ who are hereby enabled to indulge in ‘wets’ to their hearts’ content.|
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 30 Nov. 6/2: ‘I say, mister, are you going to have a wet?’.|
|Truth (Sydney) 7 Jan. 3/3: Friendly ‘Argus’ reporters [...] were always sure of a ‘wet’.|
|Fifty Years (2nd edn) II 197: After a lot of talk and a certain amount of ‘wet,’ he and I made three matches.|
|[perf. Vesta Tilley] The Daily Male [lyrics] He knows the taste of all kinds of wet / Calls ev’ry barmaid he meets ‘My pet’ .|
|Sporting Times 7 Jan. 1/4: Handing over the ‘wet’ / For his lush-loving pal to imbibe.‘Mother’s Duplicate’|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 8 Apr. 4/8: There was enough tucker an’ wet stuff left over to see us through another picnic.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 24 July 2nd sect. 10/6: He suggested a drink and the little group adjourned [...] for a ‘wet’.|
|B.E.F. Times 1 Dec. (2006) 128/1: Though the beer may be rotten it still is a ‘wet.’.|
|Black Gang 382: Draw up Peter, old lad [...] and put your nose inside a wet.|
|Green Ice (1988) 29: He was taking graft without splitting – on the wet stuff.|
|They Drive by Night 154: Have a drink first, they’d be bound to hold him for hours questioning. No, if he had a wet they were stone ginger to smell it.|
|Caught (2001) 126: Nothing was said to Arthur if he went to get a wet or a wine off Richard.|
|Absolute Beginners 130: ‘Have a wet with me?’ said Dad.|
|I’m a Jack, All Right 22: Here, buy yourself a couple of wets.|
|Pagan Game (1969) 165: The proper form and ceremony after having a few wets was to have a binder.|
(b) (US) an anti-Prohibitionist, who wants alcohol to remain legal.
|Chicago Record 11 Feb. 6/5: Even though there might be some precints where the ‘wets’ outnumbered the ‘drys’ — yet the whole country would go dry [DA].|
|Coconino Sun (Flagstaff, AZ) 9 July 4/2: It is claimed that the ‘wets’ put one over on the ‘drys’ at the christening of the battleship Arizona.|
|AS II:3 138: The war on liquor gave birth and currency to ‘prohibition,’ ‘bootlegging,’ ‘drys,’ ‘wets.’.‘American Political Cant’ in|
|Old-Time Saloon 3: Nothing will be said or done with the intent of giving offense to the extreme Drys or the extreme Wets or that inbetween population which may be classed as Slightly Moist.|
|Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 565: So recently as 1929 the Encyclopaedia Britannica listed bootlegger, speakeasy, dry, wet, [...] as American slang terms.|
(c) the act of urination.
|Little Sister 124: One of the boxers [...] made a wet on the marble seat.|
|How to Talk Dirty 99: Everybody’s doing, making wet in here.|
|Zimmer’s Essay 47: The last chat, sitting in his own wet, did not move.|
(d) (US campus) a drinking party.
2. (mainly UK juv., also wet end, wetso) an ineffectual, weak, foolish person.
|Gilt Kid 79: Why you poor wet you couldn’t hurt nobody. You’re not a man.|
|None But the Lonely Heart 268: You big wet end, you.|
|Otterbury Incident 142: Don’t be a wet. We’ll get off all right.|
|Complete Molesworth (1985) 322: Wot of it, o weedy wet?|
|Saved Scene x: I don’t care what bleedin’ wet started it. You can stop it!|
|Different Seasons (1995) 475: Most of them were real wets.|
|It (1987) 343: Well, why did you want to go and put your hand in there, you wet end?|
|Scotland on Sunday mag. 7 Nov. 5: But they called me ‘dweeb’ and ‘wetso.’.|
3. see wetback n.
4. (US black / drugs) phencyclidine.
|‘Velveeta’ [lyrics] Goin’ off wet and marijuana.|
|‘Got Wet’ [lyrics] Wet so savage you smell it through two layers of cabbage.|
money for the purchase of drink.
|(con. 1860s) Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 101: I knew he did the low halls and was paid what we called ‘wet money.’.|
|Jack Randall’s Diary 19: The light-wet, that now shines in each glass Of the Soakers that sit in sweet Chancery lane.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|