sweat·​shop | \ ˈswet-ˌshäp How to pronounce sweatshop (audio) \

Definition of sweatshop

: a shop or factory in which employees work for long hours at low wages and under unhealthy conditions

Examples of sweatshop in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Guava Island is a Caribbean paradise turned into a sweatshop: Everyone works for a single rich man, Red (Nonso Anozie), who has cornered the market in local silks. John Defore, Billboard, "'Guava Island' Is a Brief & Breezy Island Fable: Review," 15 Apr. 2019 Since the dawn of its industrialization, the fashion business has been responsible for egregious human rights abuses, from hazardous work environments to the virtual enslavement of refugees, children, and undocumented workers in sweatshops. Cintra Wilson, The New York Review of Books, "Waste Not, Shop Not," 11 Feb. 2020 Hong Kong residents advanced up the economic ladder, as sweatshop laborers rose to become bosses with factories on the mainland and even real estate or shipping tycoons. New York Times, "Yellow or Blue? In Hong Kong, Businesses Choose Political Sides," 19 Jan. 2020 For every Hanks tear or tipsy Olivia Colman, there was a dig at Silicon Valley sweatshops or a plea for people watching to pay attention to the fires in Australia and to the climate crisis. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "A Chaotic Golden Globes for a Chaotic Moment," 6 Jan. 2020 Just the year before, women had been out on a massive garment strike, the Uprising of the Twenty Thousand, and the Tammany machine that claimed to be for the people had sided with the sweatshop owners. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "On Courage," 6 Jan. 2020 But here are a couple of paragraphs related to those Christmas cards: At other times during the three years, he was made to work in prison sweatshops. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "The problem with Made in China, &c.," 3 Jan. 2020 The prevailing image of fashion sweatshops typically places them in countries such as Bangladesh—a result of decades of outsourcing of apparel manufacturing to Asian nations where wages are among the lowest in the world. Marc Bain, Quartz, "There are clothing sweatshops in the US, too," 16 Dec. 2019 They are put to work in situations such as prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, massage parlors, farm work, factory work, and sweatshops. Joan Hunt, courant.com, "Vintage Fashion Show Raises Awareness Of Human Trafficking," 11 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sweatshop.' 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 sweatshop

1884, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for sweatshop

Time Traveler

The first known use of sweatshop was in 1884

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Statistics for sweatshop

Last Updated

6 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sweatshop.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweatshop. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for sweatshop


How to pronounce sweatshop (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sweatshop

: a place where people work long hours for low pay in poor conditions

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More from Merriam-Webster on sweatshop

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sweatshop

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sweatshop

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sweatshop

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