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In response to someone elsewhere eggcoining the phrase "whet one's whistle," I just found myself wanting to write that

An appetite is whetted until it is sharp; but a whistle is wetted until it is ____.

I feel like the word-to-go-in-the-blank is right on the tip of my tongue, but I can't quite place it.

What is it that a sip of water does to one's lips, either as a verb or as an adjective?

  • a whistle is wetted until it is damp?
  • a whistle is wetted until it is moist?
  • a whistle is wetted until it is moistened?
  • a whistle is wetted until it is satiated?
  • a whistle is wetted until it is quenched?
  • a whistle is wetted until it is wet?
  • a whistle is wetted until it is wetted?

I disqualify the last two on the grounds of tautology: "wetted until it is wet" doesn't work for me.

Besides not sounding quite right to the ear, neither "satiated" nor "quenched" works semantically — if you merely wet your whistle, you don't go all the way toward quenching your thirst.

"Damp" and "moist" both kinda work, but neither is very pleasant.

Is there a word for essentially "no longer bone-dry" that I'm missing?

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    I vote for quenched, since one of the definitions of the idiom is to quench one's thirst. If you want something pithy, I'd go with tuned to make a play on whistle and oppose sharp. – jxh Jun 27 '18 at 21:22
  • @JasonBassford: Maybe one of us is confused, but I think you're agreeing with what I wrote: "wet your whistle", "whet your appetite". I've already connected "whet" with "sharp" (i.e. "whetted"); I am now attempting to connect "wet" with a word that means "no longer dry" (i.e. "wetted"). I am 100% definitely asking for a word that means "no longer dry." – Quuxplusone Jun 27 '18 at 22:29
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    I am far more confused now than I was before, and have even less of an idea of what you want. You seem to be arguing against some of your own suggestions (satiated), you seem to like others that have nothing to do with moisture (tuned and audible), and I keep being side tracked by your analogy to a whetted appetite that is sharp (which is more extreme than either "a bit less dull" or "a little hungry or thirsty"). – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jun 28 '18 at 0:30
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    ...a whistle is wet until it is unparched. – J.R. Jun 28 '18 at 2:55
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    An appetite is whetted until it is keen; but a whistle is wetted until it is weaned. – Phil Sweet Sep 28 '18 at 20:31
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I'm not sure if you're looking for something clever or simply something that will fill in the blank, but if the latter, I would suggest hydrated (or, as my kids used to say, hyderated.) From the Oxford Dictionaries:

hydrate

VERB

[WITH OBJECT]

  1. Cause to absorb water.

    ‘a powerful moisturizer that hydrates the skin for up to twelve hours’

Now, while sipping some water would not technically hyrdrate your lips, but given that one's whistle is a little more abstract (or, I suppose, the space between your lips when whistling), I think it suits.

In your example, it would be:

An appetite is whetted until it is sharp; but a whistle is wetted until it is hydrated.

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From your question and your comments on other answers, I think you may want a word like slake.

slake (transitive verb)

1 archaic to lessen the force of; moderate

2 satisfy, quench

slake your thirst

will slake your curiosity

3 to cause (a substance, such as lime) to heat and crumble by treatment with water; hydrate

Slake has a slightly archaic feel to it which might give your coinage the sound of something like a long-established proverb. (It's a proper Old English word and a cognate of slack.)

You might say in your sentence (or bon mot or whatever it is!):

An appetite whetted's a sharp bellyache, but a whistle is wet only when it is slaked.

Personally, I prefer the suggestion I offered in the comments previously, but that may be going off script a little too much:

An appetite's whetted until it's acute but a whistle is wet with a brew down the chute.

  • User Phil Sweet also has a lovely couplet in the comments on the question itself, which has all the sound of a proper proverbial warning passed down the generations. – tmgr Sep 29 '18 at 13:54
  • Both "slake" and "quench" have the trouble mentioned in the question that they connote "satiated to fullness," whereas a wetted whistle is only a little bit wet; e.g., a single sip of water may wet your whistle but does not "slake" it. (So a whistle isn't wetted only when it is slaked — often you wet your whistle without slaking it.) I do like your second rhyme ("a brew down the chute"); not really an answer but very clever and reasonably accurate. :) – Quuxplusone Sep 30 '18 at 1:22
  • For the actual answer to my question, I still prefer J.R.'s "unparched" above all the other contenders so far. But it wasn't expressed as an answer (just a comment), and most damningly, it didn't come as a rhyming couplet. Apparently that's a requirement now. ;) – Quuxplusone Sep 30 '18 at 1:24
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    And there was me thinking you'd be happy with a Germanic verb that means hydrate. But a legititmate objection - I see the problem indeed. If I may: An appetite whetted's a sharp bellyache, but is whistle is wet whether dampened or slaked. Or you could do something with a drop. – tmgr Sep 30 '18 at 1:32
  • or to get a little judgemental on the booze: a whistle is wetted until it is slaked. – tmgr Sep 30 '18 at 1:35

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