It’s a question that’s been around for years and years, but recently it’s become a hot topic – Is water wet or dry ? Well, let’s jump in at the deep end and look at the arguments for and against this interesting subject…
Water IS wet argument
If water isn’t wet, then surely water must be dry
We never say water is dry. However there is actually a thing called dry water. Dry water was actually created and patented in 1968. It’s not pure water though, it’s a combination of liquid water (95%) and silica (5%). The silica surrounds the water droplets and prevents it from behaving like a liquid and you end up with something resembling table salt.
Wet is an adjective – it describes how something is
So is the word hot. Is fire hot? Yes of course it is, we say that all the time – “keep away from the fire, because it’s hot”. So surely we can apply the same logic to describe water. We say water is cold or water is hot, so surely we can say water is wet.
The definition of wet is covered with liquid
And that’s according to several leading dictionaries. Water droplets are always surrounded or covered by other water droplets, so you can conclude that water is covered with liquid… which according to the world’s leading dictionaries, means that water is wet.
Air can be wet or dry – why can’t we ask is water wet or dry?
Exactly that! the air can be said to be dry when it’s lacking in moisture and it can be said to be wet when it’s very humid. A body of water is always full of moisture, therefore water is wet.
We know that water makes other things wet
If water wasn’t wet then anything that it came into contact with, would not get wet at all – so water must be wet.
Water makes things wet BECAUSE IT IS WET
In the same way, you could say that green paint will make your paper green BECAUSE THE PAINT IS GREEN or you could say the chilli tastes spicy BECAUSE THE CHILLI IS SPICY.
Wetness is the sensation of moving a liquid over a solid
When a liquid pours onto your hand, you feel wetness therefore the liquid must be wet. Water is ALWAYS moving over a solid somewhere – in the sea it’s moving over the sea bed, in a glass it’s moving over the glass’s surface, so water is always wet.
If something is wet then it contains water
Water both contains and is surrounded by, more water – therefore water is wet.
Water IS NOT wet argument
Wet is an adjective to describe the feeling of being touched by liquid
If you spill milk on your hand then your hand becomes wet, if you spill juice on your hand then your hand becomes wet. The same applies to water. The interaction that takes place makes your hand wet – not the water.
For something to be wet, there must also be a dry state
In which that thing can take on. You notice that your clothes are wet because usually they’re dry. Water on the other hand cannot be dry, If water was dry it would cease to exist. So water cannot be wet.
Water CANNOT be covered by itself – water IS itself
And so cannot be submerged by itself. The definition of wet is being covered by a liquid, but a liquid such as water cannot be covered by itself – therefore water can not be wet.
Water can exist in various states – gas, liquid and solid
If water is ice it will not flow freely over a solid surface and as the definition of wet touches on being submerged by a liquid, we cannot conclude that water is wet when it’s ice or vapour. So we cannot generally say that water is wet. But maybe we can when it’s a liquid.
There seems to be many more similar arguments for saying that water isn’t wet, but every one I’ve read is generally based on the argument that wet is describing the interaction that takes place between a solid object and liquid. The common argument is all about semantics and the definition of wet. If you’d rather let someone convince you verbally about this then check out this video by Chaz Smith.
Water MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT be wet
Here are a couple of thoughts that just throw a curveball into both arguments…
- Almost everything on our planet and within our atmosphere contains a certain amount of water, so you could say that EVERYTHING IS WET – which then makes you think is anything dry ?
- If you’re referring to water as one water droplet, then this droplet could be surrounded by other water droplets and so according to the definition of wet, you could say that water is wet. However, it you’re referring to water as a large body of water, such as a lake or a sea, then this water cannot surround itself and in this case you’d have to say water is NOT wet.
So is water wet or dry? It’s a question of semantics
I’m pretty sure, as long as languages are fluid (pardon the pun) and continue to evolve, then everyone will continue to redefine the official definitions of words. The word wet has several meanings, certainly in English (I can’t vouch for all the thousands of other languages in the world) and until there is a fixed scientific definition of the word, that we all agree on, then the application of this word will continue to fuel the fire of this debate.
The other complication is how we refer to the word water. Is it referring to a single water particle or is it referring to a body of water?
‘Is water wet or dry?’ This debate has no many variables and so I don’t really think that there will ever be a conclusion. Life is short and I don’t think it’s going to change the world we live in by not solving the debate. Water is all around us. It’s not compelling or important to find the answer to the question.
‘Is water wet or dry?’ Wet or not, Long live water!