Wet Blanket – Idiom, Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Have you ever been called a wet blanket or dealt with someone who’s a wet blanket? Wait, what does that even mean? It’s a silly idiom we use in the English language to describe someone who’s a bit of a drag. But there’s more to it than that. Let’s take a look at what a wet blanket really means and how you can work it into everyday convo and writing.

Wet Blanket Meaning Explained

Wet Blanket Idiom Origin Meaning

A “wet blanket” is someone who always discourages or dampens the mood or excitement of something. They can be a person, an event, or just a situation that spoils the mood or the fun for everyone involved.

This type of person is always complaining or always has something negative to say about people or situations. They never look on the bright side and are generally pretty pessimistic.

Is Wet Blanket an Idiom?

You bet! Since idioms are words and phrases we use that don’t have a literal meaning, “wet blanket” is considered an idiom because the person obviously isn’t an actual, physically wet blanket. They’re just a major buzz kill and all-around negative Nancy. (These are also synonyms for a wet blanket!)

Wet Blanket Origin

The root of this phrase comes from the idea of smothering a fire with a damp cloth or having to wear wet clothing.

One of the earliest published instances of the phrase was back in 1798, during the French invasion of Switzerland. An English newspaper called The Kentish Gazette wrote this excerpt, “There was no man so besotted as to not believe that the Swiss would heartily join in the cause if a general confederacy was formed on the Continent. But if this motion were to be adopted, we should throw a wet blanket on the fire, which was otherwise about to spread through Europe.”

Wet Blanket Synonyms

There are so many fun ways to say wet blanket and still express the same meaning. Try some of these synonyms for size.

  • Party pooper
  • Buzzkill
  • Killjoy
  • Spoilsport
  • Stick-in-the-mud
  • Debbie Downer
  • Negative Nancy

Using Wet Blanket: Examples in a Sentence

Wet Blanket Idiom Origin Meaning 1

If you’re unsure, the context of these sentences using the phrase “wet blanket” should help give you a clearer picture of incorporating it into conversations or writing.

  • Don’t invite Adam; he always complains and finds fault in everything we do. He’s such a wet blanket.
  • I was really excited about the camping trip, but the rain was a total wet blanket, and we had to stay inside the tent for most of the weekend.
  • Every time we plan a party or special event, my mother always has some excuse to cancel. She’s such a wet blanket on everything I do.
  • Sorry, but the boss rejected all our ideas for that new project you were excited about. I know, what a total wet blanket, right?
  • We were having an amazing time at the concert, dancing and singing, until the group in front of us started talking loudly and throwing their garbage around. They were a total wet blanket.

Don’t Be a Wet Blanket

Just remember, imagine the idea of an actual wet blanket smothering something. That’s the feeling you’re meant to put forth when using this as an idiom and accusing someone of being this way. Whether it’s a person, the weather, or anything in general, a wet blanket is always a bummer unless it’s literal and you’re on fire.

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered: