from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A hard, fine-grained stone for honing tools. Also called snakestone.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hard stone or piece of synthetically bonded hard minerals that has been formed with at least one flat surface, used to sharpen or hone an edged tool.
  • n. A benchmark for evaluating the power of a computer.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A piece of stone, natural or artificial, used for whetting, or sharpening, edge tools.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A stone for sharpening cutlery or tools by friction. Whetstones are made of various kinds of stone, the finer kinds being, a silicious slate, and when used are moistened with oil or water.
  • n. Figuratively, that which sharpens, stimulates, or incites the faculties or appetites.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a flat stone for sharpening edged tools or knives


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From whet ("to sharpen") + stone



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  • (noun) - (1) A notorious liar was formerly said to deserve the whetstone as a premium either for the magnitude or iniquity of the falsehood. The origin of the proverbial phrase is not known.

    --William Toone's Etymological Dictionary of Obsolete Words, 1832

    (2) It is a custom in the North, when a man tells the greatest lie in the company, to reward him with a whetstone, which is called lying for the whetstone.

    --Joseph Budworth's Fortnight's Rambles to the Lakes, 1792

    (3) The term whetstone for a liar . . . seems to be very old.

    --Frederick Elworthy's Specimens of English Dialects, 1778

    (4) Lying with us is so loved and allowed that there are many gamings and prizes . . . to encourage one to outlye another. And what shall he gaine that gets the victorie in lying? He shall have a silver whetstone for his labour.

    --Thomas Lupton's Too Good to Be True, 1580

    January 14, 2018