Northwest Horizons

Head to Head: Water isn’t wet

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Head to Head: Water isn’t wet

A single droplet causes a large ripple in stagnant water. Similarly, this simple question has been instigating passionate dialogue.

A single droplet causes a large ripple in stagnant water. Similarly, this simple question has been instigating passionate dialogue.

A single droplet causes a large ripple in stagnant water. Similarly, this simple question has been instigating passionate dialogue.

A single droplet causes a large ripple in stagnant water. Similarly, this simple question has been instigating passionate dialogue.

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Water makes things wet. Therefore, water is wet, right?

This seemingly simple question has sparked many discussions among students. The question first made an appearance as a joke on social media and has since spread rapidly through memes. There is even a video uploaded with the intention of ending this unnecessarily heated conversation but was unsuccessful. What was once a harmless joke, has unintentionally evolved into fervent discourse. Similar to the black and blue/white and gold dress debate, it’s all about one’s perception of the situation. But, to answer the question directly asked, water itself is not wet.

“If you’re talking about one singular molecule of water, that’s definitely not wet,” junior Brennan Maynard said. “Because being wet means to saturate in a liquid. A single water molecule is not saturated in anything.”  

One way to view the question is to think about water in its elemental form. H2O, in its most basic form, is not wet. Oxygen, in its gaseous form, is not wet and neither is hydrogen. Even when the two are combined, a single molecule of water can’t be wet if there is only one. Technically, one molecule is still water. So, water in its elemental form is not wet.

“Wet is a quality caused by water,” senior Brenna Williams said. “Wet is an adjective describing things that water touches, so water is not wet.”

Another possible perspective is much simpler than elements and molecules. Wet is an adjective defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “employing or done by means of or in the presence of water or other liquid.” By this definition, water can’t technically be wet because it causes things to become wet. A soft drink, while a liquid, isn’t any wetter than water. But, if one were to spill some onto a table, or even themselves, they would then be wet in the presence of a liquid.

Some may not care whether or not water is actually wet. Others, however, are determined to argue what they believe, even if they are wrong. What’s most important to take away from these discussions is how people will always be passionate about what they think is right, even if it is quite frivolous.

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Head to Head: Water isn’t wet