\ 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

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Examples of sweat in a Sentence

Verb 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.” Noun 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 Meanwhile, the Texans have two teams to sweat in the AFC South, Indy and Tennessee. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, "NFL Week 4 roundtable: Which of last year's playoff teams are in most trouble?," 4 Oct. 2020 In normal times, a 9.7% drop in auto sales would cause executives to sweat profusely. Tom Krisher, Star Tribune, "US 3Q auto sales fall 9.7%, but they're rising from 2Q lows," 1 Oct. 2020 Thanks to the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, Democrats in Hollywood don't have to sweat about whether releases like The Comey Rule run afoul of federal election law. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "The Comey Rule, an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign?," 29 Sep. 2020 Having to sweat that win out until the final snap hardly was what the Bears anticipated. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago Bears QB rewind: Was Mitch Trubisky’s strong first half more telling than his second-half struggles in Week 2?," 22 Sep. 2020 While PlayStation enthusiasts should be worried about the future of those franchises on their console of choice, PC faithful shouldn’t sweat the acquisition. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "Microsoft buys Bethesda, creator of Doom, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and Quake," 21 Sep. 2020 Nikole Paige Rickard, a veterinary technician at the VCA Apex Animal Hospital in Apex, North Carolina, tells Woman's Day that dogs sweat through their paws with glands called merocrine glands. Jo Yurcaba, Woman's Day, "Do Dogs Sweat? Here's What Happens To Your Pup When It's Hot," 2 Jan. 2020 Crisp some bacon lardons and set them aside, then sweat diced aromatics in the bacon fat. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "What to do with all the fresh corn popping up right now," 10 Sep. 2020 Rood and Sarfaty agree that people over age 65 have a diminished ability to sweat, a function that helps cool the body down and prevent heat exhaustion or potentially life-threatening heat stroke. AZCentral.com, "In Phoenix, rising temperatures day and night kill more people each year," 27 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Padded mesh strips on the back increase airflow and cut down on sweat, and one of our testers liked how the easily adjustable straps comfortably wrapped around the front of her shoulders. Adrienne Donica, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Commuter Backpacks for the Daily Grind," 23 Oct. 2020 Some people use sweat or soreness as their barometers for workout success. Cindy Kuzma, SELF, "21 Signs of a Successful Workout That Have Nothing to Do With Sweat or Soreness," 21 Oct. 2020 For those considering the full chop, Halsey is just the latest celebrity inspiration: Who doesn't remember a sweat drenched Demi Moore as G.I. Jane doing pull-ups? Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Halsey Shows Off a Fresh Buzz Cut," 20 Oct. 2020 Though this one comes at a fraction of the cost of designer favorites, its 14,000-plus positive reviews — vouching for its ability to stick on through sweat, tears, humidity and even water parks — speak for themselves. Cnn Underscored Staff, CNN Underscored, "These 5-star Amazon products make for the perfect holiday gifts," 20 Oct. 2020 Some workers developed rashes from rewearing garments caked with dirt, moisture and sweat until worker advocates dropped off Vaseline and diaper-rash cream. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "Migrant Workers Restricted to Farms Under One Grower’s Virus Lockdown," 19 Oct. 2020 The aim of the program is to detect infections using sweat collected on wipes from arriving passengers. Iris Katz, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Pet Wise: Can the amazing canine nose detect coronavirus? Doggone right it can.," 17 Oct. 2020 Perfect for mild to moderate outdoor activities including biking, these gloves are designed with moisture-wicking compounds on the inside to ensure that sweat stays away from the surface of your palms. Popular Science, "Gloves that make excellent gifts for just about anybody," 17 Oct. 2020 With classrooms shuttered and parents losing their jobs, children are trading their ABC's for the D of drudgery: Reading, writing and times tables are giving way to sweat, blisters and fading hopes for a better life. MarÍa Verza, Star Tribune, "Pandemic driving children back to work, jeopardizing gains," 15 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sweat

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sweat

Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sweat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweat. Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for sweat


How to pronounce sweat (audio)

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

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Comments on sweat

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