\ ˈswet How to pronounce sweat (audio) \
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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

And in all three games, bettors who backed the Tide had to sweat final drives by the opponent against Alabama’s second- or third-team defense. Christopher Smith, al, "Why it’s impossible to win money betting on Alabama games," 17 Sep. 2019 As the other prospects chatted and took selfies, Alonso sweated through ground balls at first. Stephanie Apstein, SI.com, "Never Mind He's on the Mets. Pete Alonso Is the Happiest Man in Baseball," 5 Sep. 2019 The searing function allows for true browning before pressure cooking and can be adjusted to sweat veggies. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "GH Tested: Ninja Foodi Countertop Appliances," 26 Aug. 2019 Rocking a light jacket or denim without sweating through seems farfetched but, not for long. Nandi Howard, Essence, "The Best Dressed Black Creatives On Instagram This Week," 2 Aug. 2019 Know Your Knits There’s nothing worse than sweating through your clothing. Vogue, "Summer’s Hottest Month is Here, How to Beat the Heat Without Wearing a Dress," 2 Aug. 2019 Both brides were more than cool with sharing their wedding day with other couples, despite probably sweating through their makeup. Georgia Slater, USA TODAY, "52 couples from every state say yes to the dress, and 'I do,' in mass Central Park wedding," 11 July 2019 What’s remarkable is that even with some very damning material in hand, Dworkin still has to sweat to characterize pornography as wholly aligned with the operations of male domination. Elaine Blair, The New York Review of Books, "Fighting for Her Life," 17 June 2019 Manager Alex Cora pointed to adjustments made Thursday by closer Craig Kimbrel, who saw his postseason ERA swell to 8.44 after sweating through a six-out save on Wednesday. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Red Sox Concerns Fade as They Roll Into the World Series," 19 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is making the club sweat over the signing of his new deal, and could wait until as late as January before deciding whether or not to commit his future. SI.com, "David de Gea Could Delay Signing New Deal Until January Amid Concerns Over Champions League Clause," 23 Aug. 2019 Asghari shared as a video of him and Spears working up a sweat played in the background. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Sam Asghari Says Girlfriend Britney Spears Is His Fitness Inspiration and Why He Calls Her ‘Lioness’," 9 Sep. 2019 After tromping up hills and around bends, nearly everyone is wiping sweat away. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "The Fine Line Campus Tour Guides Walk—Backwards," 29 Aug. 2019 Turner had stopped by his house during the day on July 5, 2018, to find Wilson, 47, covered in sweat, wearing camouflage and sitting on the front steps. Jerry Mitchell, ProPublica, "Inside The Prison Where Inmates Set Each Other On Fire and Gangs Have More Power Than Guards," 19 Aug. 2019 The manager of the 67th Avenue Family Dollar store, wiping sweat from his face with the back of his hand, referred all questions to corporate managers, saying he was not allowed to comment. Robert Anglen, azcentral, "Phoenix Family Dollar store without air conditioning for weeks as temps eclipse 110," 17 July 2019 The tall, slim fighter was drenched in sweat, throwing hooks and abdominal kicks with great force at a heavy punching bag when someone made a announcement to the room. Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "MMA fighter Lance 'The Tornado' Lawrence is one fight away from his UFC dream," 12 July 2019 Do the famous Bondi to Coogee coastal walk and work up a sweat; then dive in to cool off. Megan Michelson, Outside Online, "8 Places to Cool Off This Summer," 9 July 2019 Washcloths need to be a lot of things — soft enough to wash your face with or wipe away sweat at the gym, durable enough to clean your house with, and absorbent enough to do all of the above. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "3,000 People Swear By These 66 Cent Amazon Washcloths," 9 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sweat

Statistics for sweat

Last Updated

20 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sweat

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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
informal : 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 How to pronounce sweat (audio) \
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 How to pronounce sweat (audio) \
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 \ -​ē How to pronounce sweaty (audio) \ adjective sweatier; sweatiest

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sweat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sweat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sweat

Spanish Central: Translation of sweat

Nglish: Translation of sweat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sweat for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sweat

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


to be made up of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!