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In the movie "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" Jake was saved by the peculiar children while he was into a pub. An invisible child made pots and glasses fly all around and another start a fire on the pub's door.

At about 36 minutes of the movie there's a dialogue:

a child:

Miss Peregrine, there's a policeman at the door. He says it's about the pub!

Miss Peregrine turns a blind look to Emma (hope my English is correct here) and says:

We'll discuss this later, Emma.

then goes into the house.

Jack says:

It wasn't their fault. Honestly, they were just trying to help.

Emma smiles. Miss Peregrine smiles too, then go away.

After Miss Peregrine has left, Emma says:

Thanks. You're not as wet as I thought.

What does it mean "wet" in this context?

40

Being wet, in this case, means having a weak character. Emma is admitting that she thought that Jake would not have the courage to admit that it was he who made the mistake.

wet adjective (weak) UK

Used to describe someone who has a weak character and does not express any forceful opinions:

Don't be so wet.

Cambridge Dictionary

  • 10
    I think this is pretty strongly a UK usage. I haven't heard it in this sense in AmE. Although we do use "wet blanket" – ColleenV Nov 21 '17 at 12:28
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    I didn't realise that the author is American. The usage (in the UK) probably comes from wet blanket, anyway. – Mick Nov 21 '17 at 12:31
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    Until I read this answer, I assumed it was short for "wet behind the ears", meaning new and inexperienced. – Todd Wilcox Nov 21 '17 at 14:38
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    It was also famously used in this sense by Margaret Thatcher. – peterG Nov 21 '17 at 15:50
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    @pjc50 I don't think it is by any means "basically obsolete", it was used at my secondary school, sixth form, and right through university, often morphed into "you wetty", or the like. – ollie299792458 Nov 21 '17 at 16:28
4

Wet in this context means weak-willed, or having no grit or strength of character. It's an extension of the idea expressed by the adjective "drippy", or in UK English, being a "drip".

(In the 1980s, the members of the UK Conservative party who were unsure of the speed and pace of the changes being introduced by then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were disparagingly referred to as Wets. The idea being the same. So I infer that the term wets dates back to at least the 1980s. Personally it has the feel of a 1950s school term, but that's just my native speaker intuition making a claim.)

  • Per OED, the meaning of wet as weak or ineffectual dates back at least to 1916. It includes a description of the 1980s political usage as well. – barbecue Nov 22 '17 at 15:13

protected by Community Nov 21 '17 at 16:51

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