Green’s Dictionary of Slang

wet n.

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.

[UK]T. Shadwell Squire of Alsatia II ii: Let’s whet; bring some wine. Come on; I love a whet.
[UK]Cibber Woman’s Wit I i: Let’s you and I take a Whet of racy Canary.
[UK]T. Brown 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.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy V 125: At noon he gets up for a wet and to Dine.
[UK]C. Walker Authentick Memoirs of Sally Salisbury 48: They had guzzled down Three or Four Bottles by way of Whet.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 1 Dec. 1/2: This fits him for t’other Pipe, and that for a Whet at the Rose.
[Ire]K. O’Hara Midas I iii: Our Gammer, sure, has tipt her whet of stingo!
[UK]G. Colman Spleen II i: He [...] takes a whet at mother Redcap’s.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Whet, a morning’s draught, commonly white wine, supposed to whet or sharpen the appetite.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Feb. XIII 271/1: Justice Guzzle called for a dram by way of whet.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome III 167: Tongue and fowls, and lots of Wet.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 226: He had taken a whet (of gin) in Spitalfields market.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 385: The Racket-Players have just called in for a whet.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 219: Numerous dragsmen taking their morning whets.
[UK] ‘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.
[Ire] ‘Going Out A-Shooting’ Dublin Comic Songster 232: We had cigars, and just a wet, / Before we went a-shooting.
[US]Durivage & Burnham Stray Subjects (1848) 107: I gin her cords of peanuts, / And a apple and a ‘wet.’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 26 Feb. 1/4: Let’s get a vet.
[UK]Fast Man 8:1 n.p.: [H]e’d see them all blowed if he’d go on without a wet of gatter.
[UK]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!’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 10 Jan. 14/1: She [...] said she didn’t mind if she did have a wet of gin.
[UK]B. Patterson 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.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 30 Nov. 6/2: ‘I say, mister, are you going to have a wet?’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 7 Jan. 3/3: Friendly ‘Argus’ reporters [...] were always sure of a ‘wet’.
[UK]J. Astley Fifty Years (2nd edn) II 197: After a lot of talk and a certain amount of ‘wet,’ he and I made three matches.
[UK]E.W. Rogers [perf. Vesta Tilley] The Daily Male [lyrics] He knows the taste of all kinds of wet / Calls ev’ry barmaid he meets ‘My pet’ .
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Mother’s Duplicate’ Sporting Times 7 Jan. 1/4: Handing over the ‘wet’ / For his lush-loving pal to imbibe.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 Apr. 4/8: There was enough tucker an’ wet stuff left over to see us through another picnic.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 24 July 2nd sect. 10/6: He suggested a drink and the little group adjourned [...] for a ‘wet’.
[UK]B.E.F. Times 1 Dec. (2006) 128/1: Though the beer may be rotten it still is a ‘wet.’.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Black Gang 382: Draw up Peter, old lad [...] and put your nose inside a wet.
[US]R. Whitfield Green Ice (1988) 29: He was taking graft without splitting – on the wet stuff.
[UK]J. Curtis 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.
[UK]‘Henry Green’ Caught (2001) 126: Nothing was said to Arthur if he went to get a wet or a wine off Richard.
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 130: ‘Have a wet with me?’ said Dad.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 22: Here, buy yourself a couple of wets.
[NZ]G. Slatter 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.

[US]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].
[US]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.
[US]L.C. Wimberly ‘American Political Cant’ in AS II:3 138: The war on liquor gave birth and currency to ‘prohibition,’ ‘bootlegging,’ ‘drys,’ ‘wets.’.
[US]Ade 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.
[US]Mencken 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.

[US]R. Chandler Little Sister 124: One of the boxers [...] made a wet on the marble seat.
[US]L. Bruce How to Talk Dirty 99: Everybody’s doing, making wet in here.
[Aus]Adamson & Hanford Zimmer’s Essay 47: The last chat, sitting in his own wet, did not move.

(d) (US campus) a drinking party.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.

2. (mainly UK juv., also wet end, wetso) an ineffectual, weak, foolish person.

[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 79: Why you poor wet you couldn’t hurt nobody. You’re not a man.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 268: You big wet end, you.
[UK]C. Day Lewis Otterbury Incident 142: Don’t be a wet. We’ll get off all right.
[UK]Willans & Searle Complete Molesworth (1985) 322: Wot of it, o weedy wet?
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene x: I don’t care what bleedin’ wet started it. You can stop it!
[US]S. King Different Seasons (1995) 475: Most of them were real wets.
[US]S. King It (1987) 343: Well, why did you want to go and put your hand in there, you wet end?
[UK]Scotland on Sunday mag. 7 Nov. 5: But they called me ‘dweeb’ and ‘wetso.’.

3. see wetback n.

4. (US black / drugs) phencyclidine.

Esham ‘Velveeta’ [lyrics] Goin’ off wet and marijuana.
Leak Bros. ‘Got Wet’ [lyrics] Wet so savage you smell it through two layers of cabbage.

In compounds

In phrases