Wet one’s whistle

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The idiom wet one’s whistle may be older than you think, over six hundred years. We will examine the definition of wet one’s whistle, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To wet one’s whistle means to drink something. In this expression, the word whistle is a slang term for one’s mouth and throat. It is a well-known fact that it is impossible to whistle when one’s mouth is too dry. The term wet one’s whistle is found in the Reeve’s story in the Canterbury Tales, written by Chaucer: “So was hir joly whistle wel y-wet.” However, it is safe to assume that the term is older than this. The origin story of the term wet one’s whistle which involves a whistle embedded in a pub cup, which was blown when the cup was empty, is entirely apocryphal.


You can now lift a glass to celebrate or just wet your whistle at Dragonfly, the farm-to-table restaurant that opened at 139 N. Main St. in late August. (The Las Cruces Sun-News)

With a wide variety of whiskies and a chic, industrial space, Truss and Twine specializes in classic cocktails as well as a few innovative originals — the perfect place to wet your whistle after a long day on the desert trails. (The Toronto Star)

Here’s an opportunity to wet your whistle and support the organization – the Nongame Fund (part of the Indiana DNR Fish & Wildlife) – responsible for the comeback of the peregrine falcon in Indiana. (The Indianapolis Star)