\ˈswet \
sweat or sweated; sweating

Definition of sweat 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to excrete moisture in visible quantities through the openings of the sweat glands : perspire

b : to labor or exert oneself so as to cause perspiration

2a : to emit or exude moisture cheese sweats in ripening

b : to gather surface moisture in beads as a result of condensation stones sweat at night

c(1) : ferment

(2) : putrefy

3 : to undergo anxiety or mental or emotional distress sweat through final exams

4 : to become exuded through pores or a porous surface : ooze

transitive verb

1 : to emit or seem to emit from pores : exude

2 : to manipulate or produce by hard work or drudgery

3 : to get rid of or lose (weight) by or as if by sweating or being sweated

4 : to make wet with perspiration

5a : to cause to excrete moisture from the skin

b : to drive hard : overwork

c : to exact work from at low wages and under unfair or unhealthful conditions

d slang : to give the third degree to

6 : to cause to exude or lose moisture especially : to subject (something, such as tobacco leaves) to fermentation

7a : to extract something valuable from by unfair or dishonest means : fleece

b : to remove particles of metal from (a coin) by abrasion

8a : to heat (something, such as solder) so as to melt and cause to run especially between surfaces to unite them also : to unite by such means sweat a pipe joint

b : to heat so as to extract an easily fusible constituent sweat bismuth ore

c : to sauté in a covered vessel until natural juices are exuded

9 slang : to worry about doesn't sweat the small stuff— Barry McDermott

sweat blood

: to work or worry intensely in preparing speeches each sweats blood in his own way— Stewart Cockburn



Definition of sweat (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : hard work : drudgery

2 : the fluid excreted from the sweat glands of the skin : perspiration

3 : moisture issuing from or gathering in drops on a surface

4a : the condition of one sweating or sweated

b : a spell of sweating

5 : a state of anxiety or impatience

6 sweats plural

a : sweat suit

b : sweatpants

no sweat

: with little or no difficulty : easily also : easy often used interjectionally

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Examples of sweat in a Sentence


He sweats a lot when he exercises. They sweated and saved so their children could go to college. We'll let them sweat a while longer. We'll let them sweat it out for a while longer. “The car won't start—what are we going to do?” “Don't sweat it. I know all about fixing cars.”


We were drenched in sweat after the workout. The runners were dripping with sweat. Her forehead was covered with beads of sweat. It took a lot of sweat and toil to build the house. We helped them not with money but with our blood and sweat.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Benedict Cumberbatch, suffering, sweating, joking and then suffering some more on Showtime’s Patrick Melrose. Tom Gilatto, PEOPLE.com, "Emmy Nominations 2018: PEOPLE's Critic Breaks Down All the Nods — and Predicts Some Winners," 12 July 2018 Withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, agitation, sleep problems, muscle aches, sweating, nausea, diarrhea and drug craving. Houston Chronicle, "How to “live long and prosper”," 7 July 2018 Technically, white clothing was supposed to be both a little more breathable and less hot than other colors; presumably, players would sweat less in their whites — and their perspiration would be not be quite so obvious, thanks to the light color. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Why Wimbledon Players Have to Wear All White," 2 July 2018 With the club's manager situation still not sorted out, and no new arrivals coming into the club with only six weeks before the new season starts, Roman Abramovic could very well be sweating. SI.com, "Real Madrid Turn Attention to Thibaut Courtois After Giving Up On Roma's Alisson Becker," 30 June 2018 Primary hyperhidrosis happens when doctors can’t pinpoint an underlying reason for your amped up sweating, like a health condition or medication. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "11 Potential Causes of Those Night Sweats That Leave You Drenched," 30 June 2018 Heat exhaustion: Heavy sweating, cold and clammy skin, nausea and vomiting. Trihealth, Cincinnati.com, "Protect yourself from heat-related illness," 25 June 2018 Here are 10 things that came out in these practices that show some fun -or something funny — broke out amid the summer sweating: 1. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde10: Ten light-hearted thoughts from Dolphins spring," 15 June 2018 Reapply every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or drying off with a towel. Katy Mullens, Md, USA TODAY, "Ask a Doc: How do I keep my newborn safe from the summer heat and sunshine?," 12 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

All four should make the playoffs without breaking a sweat, and to see all four win a race by season's end wouldn't be ridiculous. Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "The 5 best teams in NASCAR at midseason all have one thing Hendrick, Gannasi lack," 21 June 2018 But while Alexa and Google Assistant don’t break a sweat setting multiple cooking timers, allowing you to control a third-party music service or setting a song as your alarm, Siri still can’t do those things. Joanna Stern, WSJ, "Alexa, What’s Wrong With Siri?," 5 June 2018 In the most important race of his young career, the Santa Anita Derby, Justify glided straight to the lead and hardly broke a sweat holding off another top Derby contender, Bolt d’Oro. Childs Walker, baltimoresun.com, "Justify looks to prove talent trumps curses in Kentucky Derby," 4 May 2018 Jefferson didn’t break a sweat in the seven-game series to end Indiana’s run. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Veteran Al Jefferson: Lack of experience catches up with Pacers but better things to come," 30 Apr. 2018 But above all, Beyoncé did it without breaking a sweat, an almost superhuman feat. Steven J. Horowitz, Billboard, "Beyonce Brings Out JAY-Z and Destiny's Child for Historic Coachella Headlining Set," 15 Apr. 2018 When out of possession, Liverpool's often leaky and chaotic back line looked confident and assured, barely breaking a sweat when Kevin De Bruyne and Co. were bearing down on goal. Matias Grez, CNN, "Liverpool stun Manchester City to take commanding lead in Champions League tie," 4 Apr. 2018 So how does a weary home cook breathe life back into their cooking without breaking a sweat? The Spice Hunter, Bon Appetit, "Dining Routine a Little Drab? Spice Things Up with These Flavorful Recipes," 19 Mar. 2018 The Lions – and Murphy, for that matter – were drenched in sweat. Jordan Culver, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Struggling Orlando City focuses on finishing in training," 28 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sweat.' 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 sweat


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sweat


Middle English sweten, from Old English swǣtan, from swāt sweat; akin to Old High German sweiz sweat, Latin sudare to sweat, Greek hidrōs sweat

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Statistics for sweat

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sweat

The first known use of sweat was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sweat



English Language Learners Definition of sweat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

: to work very hard

: to feel worried or nervous about something



English Language Learners Definition of sweat (Entry 2 of 2)

: the clear liquid that forms on your skin when you are hot or nervous

: the state or condition of someone who is sweating

: hard work


\ˈswet \
sweat or sweated; sweating

Kids Definition of sweat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give off salty moisture through the pores of the skin : perspire

2 : to collect moisture on the surface A pitcher of ice water sweats on a hot day.

3 : to work hard enough to perspire She sweat over the lesson.



Kids Definition of sweat (Entry 2 of 2)

2 : moisture coming from or collecting in drops on a surface

3 : the condition of a person or animal perspiring We worked up a sweat.

\ˈswet \
sweat or sweated; sweating

Medical Definition of sweat 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: to excrete moisture in visible quantities through the opening of the sweat glands : perspire



Medical Definition of sweat (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the fluid excreted from the sweat glands of the skin : perspiration

2 : abnormally profuse sweating often used in plural soaking sweats

Other Words from sweat

sweaty \ \ adjective sweatier; sweatiest

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Comments on sweat

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