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Is Water Actually Wet?

Is water actually wet? What makes something wet? The oxford dictionary states that the definition is “something covered or saturated in water or another liquid”. By this definition, if the requirement for something to be wet is that its covered in water, can we really call water wet since it’s not technically covered in water. In contrast to this, if a water molecule is surrounded by other water molecules, technically it is covered in water, so therefore it is wet.

Many people believe that water itself is wet, but for water to be wet it would need to be covered in water or another liquid. Since water is a liquid, it can’t really be covered in another liquid, since it would just be displaced, so in theory, water cannot possibly be wet. Does this change in relation to the states water can be in, so if something is covered in ice, is it wet? Since ice and water have the same chemical makeup, if the requirement for something to be wet is for it to be covered in water, then since ice is a variant state of water, something covered in ice can technically be classed as wet too. In regards to ice being wet, is dry ice wet as well, even though it is called ‘dry’ ice. The answer is no, since dry ice – even though it is called ‘ice’ – is actually made up of CO2 gas rather than water, so therefore isn’t actually wet.

On the other hand, if you look at the chemical makeup of water, and apply the definition of wet, you can argue that water is in fact wet. Since water is made up of H2O, if one molecule were to be surrounded by other H2O molecules, it is technically covered in water, making it wet by definition, therefore making water wet. If this is the case however, would the water on the outside, which is in direct contact with air, also be classed as wet. Or would it be classed as dry. If water is not wet, is it dry? By definition, dry means ‘free from moisture or liquid; not wet or moist’ from that definition, since water is a liquid it cannot be free from liquid, so if water is not wet, and water is not dry, what is water?

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