per·​spire | \ pər-ˈspī(-ə)r How to pronounce perspire (audio) \
perspired; perspiring

Definition of perspire

intransitive verb

: to emit matter through the skin specifically : to secrete and emit perspiration

Examples of perspire in a Sentence

I was nervous and could feel myself start to perspire. She ran two miles and wasn't even perspiring.

Recent Examples on the Web

By the end of the debate, Kennedy, tanned and relaxed, appeared to have triumphed over a sickly looking Nixon who had been noticeably perspiring under Mr. Hymes’s lights. Richard Sandomir,, "Phil Hymes, 96, who lit ‘Saturday Night Live’," 3 Aug. 2019 In an effort to cool down, humans perspire by sweating liquid water, but plants transpire by sweating gaseous water vapor. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, ""Corn sweat" makes heat wave even more dangerous," 22 July 2019 Players still wanting to show off their bare arms may rub Vaseline on their arms to ward off the wind, while others will spray Right Guard to make sure the body doesn’t perspire—keeping skin dry and, therefore, warmer. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "How NFL Fields, and Players, Stay Warm for Winter Games," 16 Jan. 2019 Some people perspire gently, appearing (at most) dewy after a workout or under scorching mid-August sun. Sarah Wu, Glamour, "This Is the Best Natural Deodorant No One's Talking About," 12 Dec. 2018 In some of the wholesale places customers stood three deep waiting for the perspiring clerks to take their orders., "July 1, 1919: Prohibition begins," 1 July 2018 Once a person stops perspiring, in very short order a person can move from heat exhaustion to heat stroke. Katherine Harmon, Scientific American, "How Does a Heat Wave Affect the Human Body?," 23 July 2010 Antiperspirant prevents you from perspiring, just as the name suggests. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "Why I’m Never Using Drugstore Antiperspirants Again," 23 May 2018 On a balmy Saturday night in October, a group of perspiring revelers were crowded into The Eagle NYC to watch the annual Mr. Eagle competition. NBC News, "How 'The Eagle' Became One of the Most Recognized Gay Bar Names," 24 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perspire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of perspire

circa 1682, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for perspire

French perspirer, from Middle French, from Latin per- through + spirare to blow, breathe — more at per-

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Statistics for perspire

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perspire

The first known use of perspire was circa 1682

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More Definitions for perspire



English Language Learners Definition of perspire

somewhat formal : to produce a clear liquid from your skin when you are hot or nervous


per·​spire | \ pər-ˈspīr How to pronounce perspire (audio) \
perspired; perspiring

Kids Definition of perspire

: to give off salty liquid through the skin
per·​spire | \ pər-ˈspī(ə)r How to pronounce perspire (audio) \
perspired; perspiring

Medical Definition of perspire

: to emit matter through the skin specifically : to secrete and emit perspiration

More from Merriam-Webster on perspire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with perspire

Spanish Central: Translation of perspire

Nglish: Translation of perspire for Spanish Speakers

Comments on perspire

What made you want to look up perspire? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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