\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Mom falls back onto the dirt, sweating and heaving. Vanessa Martir, Longreads, "‘To Be Well’: An Unmothered Woman’s Search for Real Love," 27 Nov. 2019 On rounds a few days later — not long after talking with the liver specialist — the nausea, dizziness, and sweating gripped me once again. Jessica Lichter, STAT, "The day I ‘declared myself’ — and was in surgery just hours later," 22 Nov. 2019 We're always being told to not sweat the small stuff, to focus on the biggest most important tasks. John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit, for a good walkable downtown, sweat the fine details, not the big stuff," 11 Nov. 2019 Nevertheless, the pleasures of a Terminator movie don't really come from sweating the details, which have been a little head-spinning, frankly, ever since a guy from the future sired a kid who would later be the linchpin of saving humanity. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Terminator: Dark Fate' blasts a path back to its origins," 22 Oct. 2019 Like Blaney, Larson has nothing to sweat before the playoff field is cut to eight on Sunday. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Hemric beats playoff drivers for NASCAR pole at Kansas," 19 Oct. 2019 Ghenis, for example, has a spinal cord injury that inhibits him from sweating, the body’s primary way of minimizing overheating. Samantha Harrington, Scientific American, "How Extreme Weather Threatens People with Disabilities," 18 Sep. 2019 Seawater expands when heated and rises more when topped up by meltwater from sweating glaciers and ice caps. The Economist, "One way or another the deluge is coming," 15 Aug. 2019 Going through the steps on your own, or with an air conditioner tech from Kettle Moraine Heating & Air Conditioning, can save you from sweating later. Jessica Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Are you ready for summer? Use this air conditioning checklist to find out," 25 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For those reluctant to plunge headfirst into such delicacies, General Tso’s chicken and beef and broccoli are also available, as well as a wonderful kung pao chicken ($14.95) that would surely have made George Costanza sweat. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Review: This new Sichuan bistro in Towson serves tongue-numbing dishes and you’ll love every bite," 26 Nov. 2019 Xavier's bench rushed the floor with joy dripping off them like sweat. Adam Baum, Cincinnati.com, "Instant classic: No. 18 Xavier survives a double overtime thriller with UConn," 23 Nov. 2019 About 10 minutes later, the two had smiles on their faces and sweat on their brows. Olivia Johnson, Washington Post, "Nothing gets in the way of obstacle-racing family," 22 Nov. 2019 Carroll, of course, is also eager to tackle the part of the gig that includes breaking an occasional sweat. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "As Spurs look for defensive makeover, DeMarre Carroll sits in style," 21 Nov. 2019 This soft merino wool headband will keep sweat from dripping into your eyes without the scratchiness typical to wool. Wired, "14 Sweet Deals on Fitness, Audio, and Snow Sport Gear," 16 Nov. 2019 Also, feet sweat in tights and this sock is thick enough to prevent your boots from smelling like a small animal died in them. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "I've Had These Tights For 5 Years And They're Still Awesome," 13 Nov. 2019 One was the spy shack, of course, and seeing Boston Rob and Sandra in their sweat box with the Bert & Ernie commentary. Dalton Ross, EW.com, "Elaine Stott of Survivor spills the tea on 'Hot Mess Lairo' (Plus: merge photos!)," 12 Nov. 2019 Amber, a twenty-five-year-old with freckles and glasses, wearing sweats and a neon-pink tank top, stepped into the R.V. with her mother, Jackie, who had been smoking outside. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, "The New Front Line of the Anti-Abortion Movement," 11 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sweat

Time Traveler for sweat

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sweat

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sweat.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweats%20blood. Accessed 8 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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).


to constrict the range or activity of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!