\ 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 Our success depends much less on our ability to sweat and run for hours and much more on our ability to use our brains, Creel says. Christine Peterson, Outdoor Life, "This Ultra-Runner Is on a Quest to Persistence-Hunt a Pronghorn," 23 Nov. 2020 Our success depends much less on our ability to sweat and run for hours and much more on our ability to use our brains, Creel says. Popular Science, "Can a hunter outrun an antelope? This ultra-marathoner is finding out.," 23 Nov. 2020 At the second debate (pictured above) Kennedy operatives, knowing Nixon’s propensity to sweat, turned up the thermostat in the studio. National Geographic, "Will we erase these landmarks of our past?," 28 Sep. 2020 Wicking away sweat and keeping you warm (and dry!), the pants have the perfect fit, offering a hard-to-achieve combination of snug but loose. Courtney Thompson, CNN Underscored, "The warmest workout gear to keep you active this winter," 16 Nov. 2020 The newest genre is Amapiano, which has followed Gqom, a raw electronic music style that emerged from Durban, and with it the aim is to flex, not sweat. Fiona Kerr, Condé Nast Traveler, "Meet the Creatives Behind South Africa's Cultural Energy," 13 Nov. 2020 If ever there was a time to let someone else sweat it out in a kitchen making Thanksgiving dinner, 2020 is it. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "10 restaurants with Thanksgiving served outdoors," 9 Nov. 2020 Males have venomous spurs on the inner side of each ankle, and females sweat milk from pores on their stomachs. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Platypuses Glow Green Under Ultraviolet Light," 3 Nov. 2020 But experimenters and observers must sweat blood to probe those problems, and progress has been slow. Frank Wilczek, WSJ, "Beautiful, Impractical Physics," 29 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Apple Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones are great for exercisers who don’t want anything too bulky getting covered in sweat. Popular Science, "These Pre-Black Friday deals won’t last long," 16 Nov. 2020 The AirPods Pro are consistent bestsellers for a reason — well, many reasons, including active noise cancellation, a sweat-resistant design and an impressive 24 hours of battery life. Julianne Ross, CNN Underscored, "These are the 23 Amazon products we loved in October," 6 Nov. 2020 Police wrote in the report that the boy covered was in sweat. Emily Wilder, The Arizona Republic, "Man arrested after police find him unconscious with son trapped in the back seat," 13 Oct. 2020 On a hot July day, Vince Cushman, a manager for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, was drenched in sweat and directing traffic in a municipal parking lot. Phillip Morris, National Geographic, "2020 has tested our humanity. Where do we go from here?," 13 Oct. 2020 Jones, whose competitive spirit Lundgren compared to Michael Jordan’s, would be drenched in sweat trying to win backyard dodgeball, and fuming after losing even a game of cornhole. Mike Rodak | Mrodak@al.com, al, "Just breathe: How ‘silent assassin’ Mac Jones learned to stay calm," 8 Oct. 2020 The cardio and large, dynamic moves combined with the tiny movements of barre create an intense, full-body workout that will leave you dripping in sweat. Emily Shiffer, SELF, "16 Amazing Barre Workouts on YouTube, According to Instructors," 6 Oct. 2020 The Pros also made vast improvements over the standard AirPods 2 by being truly water- and sweat-resistant. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "Apple's AirPods Pro are the best wireless earbuds on the market—and they're on sale," 25 Aug. 2020 Soaked in sweat and doused in water, the Portland Timbers hoisted the MLS is Back trophy at midfield and then headed toward a giant TV screen filled with fans cheering from afar. Fox News, "Portland beats Orlando 2-1 to claim MLS is Back championship," 12 Aug. 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

30 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sweat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweat. Accessed 30 Nov. 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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