\ 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 Making two more treys per game, on average, might ultimately mean the difference between sweating it out on the Bracketville bubble (again) or vying for a 6-seed-or-better berth in the NCAA Tournament. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "CU Buffs basketball preview: 5 keys for 2019-20," 7 Nov. 2019 Despite their impressive performance, Favre will no doubt be sweating over the fitness of Reus, especially with a vital Champions League tie against Inter and crunch Bundesliga clash against Bayern coming up in the next week. SI.com, "Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Wolfsburg: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Hazard Inspires BVB to Victory," 2 Nov. 2019 The Cardinals pulled away late at the KFC Yum Center to top the Knights 75-65 in front of the home crowd, which had to sweat it out. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Short-handed Louisville basketball sweats out exhibition win over Bellarmine," 30 Oct. 2019 Officials in this western Kansas city are sweating over a nearly century-old swimming pool that leaks about 200,000 gallons of water every day. USA TODAY, "Child rock climber, baby doll scare, real-life RoboCop: News from around our 50 states," 20 June 2019 It was filled with air using portable vacuum cleaners with reverse flow, and a high-school kid sweating over a manual air pump. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "‘Baby Trump’ blimp arrives on Vashon Island," 20 Aug. 2018 The latter usually involves sweating over much larger portions of your body, or even all of it. Nina Bahadur, SELF, "11 Potential Causes of Those Night Sweats That Leave You Drenched," 30 June 2018 Six playwrights, selected from hundreds of applicants nationwide, will sweat over their scripts at PlayPenn all summer. John Timpane, Philly.com, "The plays and musicals to see in Philadelphia this summer: Aladdin, PA Shakespeare, more," 30 May 2018 With this year’s April 17 tax filing deadline fast approaching, many virtual currency traders are sweating over their tax returns. Kevin Roose, New York Times, "Think Cryptocurrency Is Confusing? Try Paying Taxes on It," 21 Mar. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Finally, heated and cooled seat bottoms, curing us of the terrible scourge of butt sweat. Ray Magliozzi, courant.com, "Car Talk: One small sweat for mankind," 16 Sep. 2019 The sources of pharmaceuticals in wastewater come from medicines consumed and not completely absorbed and excreted, sweat or vomited by consumers into their toilet. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Cleveland PD offering safe place to dispose of drugs," 13 Sep. 2019 Ear muffs and electronic muffs work fine, too, but add bulk and sweat. John Goodspeed, ExpressNews.com, "Scouting interesting stuff to make hunts more fun," 12 Sep. 2019 These games are supposed to go a certain way: Oklahoma wins big and barely sweats against a non-Power Five opponent before turning to the games that matter, and beginning a push for the College Football Playoff. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Army won't catch Michigan by surprise, but knows it can still win in Big House," 7 Sep. 2019 Our thighs sticking with sweat to the upholstered benches, florescent lights beaming above us. Shailene Woodley, Time, "Shailene Woodley: How I'm Changing My Life to Help Save the Seas," 4 Sep. 2019 Looser powder is good for absorbing sweat from a workout. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How To Use Dry Shampoo: An Expert’s Guide to Getting Better Second-Day Hair," 31 Aug. 2019 In Tokyo, where the summer is both hot and very humid, cooling down will be even harder for athletes because the water-laden air won’t absorb sweat as quickly. Wired, "Elite Athletes Are Changing How They Train for Extreme Heat," 30 Aug. 2019 Plus, some of us even prefer fall gardening, which promises a rainbow of homegrown goodness with lower humidity, fewer bugs, and WAY less melting-in-the-midsummer-heat sweat and sunburn. Michele Petry, House Beautiful, "Now Is the Perfect Time to Plant a Fall Vegetable Garden," 26 Aug. 2019

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

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for sweat

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on sweat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sweat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sweat

Spanish Central: Translation of sweat

Nglish: Translation of sweat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sweat for Arabic Speakers

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