sweat equity

|Updated on: 23 Jul 2018

Definition of sweat equity

: equity in a property resulting from labor invested in improvements that increase its value; also : the labor so invested

Examples of sweat equity in a Sentence

  1. He's built up a lot of sweat equity in his house.

  2. He put countless hours of sweat equity into that old house.

Recent Examples of sweat equity from the Web

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

First Known Use of sweat equity


in the meaning defined above

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Financial Definition of SWEAT EQUITY

sweat equity

What It Is

Sweat equity is the time and effort that people contribute to a project.

How It Works

Sweat equity is used to describe the non-financial investment that people contribute to the development of a project such as a start-up business. For example, sweat equity is counted from the founders of the company, as well as advisors and board members.

In many situations where some members of a partnership are contributing their money and others are spending time, the partnership may be composed of cash and non-cash (or sweat equity). Ultimately, sweat equity is rewarded the same as cash equity through a distribution of stock or other forms of equity in a start-up venture.

Sweat equity can also be considered literal. For example, a homeowner may spend time fixing, repairing, and renovating their home.  The value of their efforts is considered sweat equity and adds to the value of the home.

Why It Matters

Sweat equity is important to the successful start-up of a new venture, especially when cash is in short supply. However, it is important to value sweat equity carefully.  In early stages, it is easy to overvalue it, offering stock in exchange for effort. However, over time, such trades can become very expensive and erode the equity available to follow-on investors. Sweat equity should be measured in terms of the long term value of the effort, the long term commitment of the participants, and the value-added by the participants to the overall goals of the venture.

SWEAT EQUITY Defined for English Language Learners

sweat equity

Definition of sweat equity for English Language Learners

  • : value in a property, business, etc., that results from the work that a person does to improve it; also : the work itself

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fullness to the point of excess

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