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I should have mentioned one particular meaning for this word, which is noted in one of the dictionaries: the function in a radio receiver to mute the sound except when a signal (as opposed to noise/static) is being received.
This verb was a definite Briticism - I remember hearing it for the first time in the '50s in a British personnel security context, as in the phrase "positive vetting". I think its adoption into American speech is (relatively) quite recent.