\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

The company was Steve Ballmer turning bright colors, sweating through his shirt, and screaming like a Visigoth. Bloomberg.com, "GitHub Is Microsoft’s $7.5 Billion Undo Button," 6 June 2018 Her only side effect has been sweating, her mother said. Nancy Dahlberg, miamiherald, "Brain cancer treatments showing promise with targeted therapies. 'Very exciting stuff.' | Miami Herald," 25 May 2018 Unfortunately, sweating is a common side effect of anxiety disorders, according to the NIMH. Cassie Shortsleeve, SELF, "10 Physical Symptoms of Anxiety, Because It’s Not All Mental," 6 Oct. 2018 The general rule is that a person can sweat roughly a quart of water every hour, and even more when hiking uphill or in direct sunlight. J. Harry Jones, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Popular trails closed due to heat concerns," 5 July 2018 Lithium, which can be prescribed to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or other mood disorder symptoms, can instead make users sweat too much. Anna Groves, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Meds leave mentally ill vulnerable during rising temps, so take care with the Milwaukee-area heat wave," 29 June 2018 Eyeglasses fog over and sweat beads on foreheads while bodies adjust. Spencer Soper, Philly.com, "Inside Amazon's spheres, where workers chill in a rainforest," 26 Jan. 2018 The South Americans have been sweating this week on the fitness of Cavani, who scored both goals in the last-16 win over Portugal but suffered a calf injury late on. Afp, chicagotribune.com, "Tabarez remains coy on Cavani's injury ahead of France match," 5 July 2018 The Imperial Household Agency said Akihito’s wife Empress Michiko called the palace doctor early in the morning after finding the emperor sweating profusely. Washington Post, "Japan’s 84-year-old emperor has dizziness, advised to rest," 2 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In this video, off the 2016 album Life of Pablo, Teyana Taylor is feeling the beat while working up quite the sweat in the gym. Nicole Demarco And Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "14 Sexy Music Videos You Definitely Shouldn't Watch at Work," 2 Nov. 2018 Bonus: Work up a sweat at a Saturday morning Pints and Poses yoga class — followed, of course, by a craft-beer cool down. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "Here's a list of Indianapolis' best outdoor beer gardens," 14 June 2018 Kardashian continues to work up a sweat in Cleveland after her doctor cleared her to exercise weeks after welcoming her baby girl. Karen Mizoguchi, PEOPLE.com, "Khloé Kardashian Reveals 6-Week Post-Baby Body After Sweaty Workout Makes Her Feel 'So Good'," 24 May 2018 The fast and furious BPMs worked the crowd into a sweat while the duo adorned matching black and yellow outfits from head-to-toe. Deanna Rilling, Billboard, "EDC Las Vegas 2018 Day 2 Highlights: Tiesto, Kygo, Green Velvet & More," 20 May 2018 At all hours inside the 17,000-square-foot fitness center at Cerner’s new south Kansas City campus, employees mostly in their 20s or 30s work up a sweat. Rick Montgomery, chicagotribune.com, "What companies want: millennials. What they’re offering: massages, student loan help," 1 May 2018 At all hours inside the 17,000-square-foot fitness center at Cerner's new south Kansas City campus, employees mostly in their 20s or 30s work up a sweat. Rick Montgomery, kansascity, "What companies want: millennials. What they're offering: massages, student loan help | The Kansas City Star," 27 Apr. 2018 He was spotted working up a prodigious sweat on the rowing machine earlier this week. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Blake Griffin return possible, Reggie Bullock shut down," 6 Apr. 2018 San Antonio’s assistants did not hold back and the participants worked up a decent sweat. Carter Karels, San Antonio Express-News, "Elliott, Spurs offer military appreciation through training camp," 26 Mar. 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

15 Dec 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 \-​ē \ adjective sweatier; sweatiest

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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).


a knickknack or trinket

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