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 Less than 2% of women working in Bangladesh sweatshops for fast fashion retailers earn a living wage. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Amy Powney Wants You To Fall In Love With Your Clothes Again," 13 Apr. 2020 The final sequence detailing income inequality and sweatshop exploitation in the fashion industry is a powerful kick in the teeth. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "‘Greed’ Review: Millionaires at Their Best. Or Worst.," 27 Feb. 2020 The Morning Show,’ a superb drama about the importance of dignity and doing the right thing — made by a company that runs sweatshops in China. Washington Post, "The most scathing jokes from Ricky Gervais’s Golden Globes monologue," 6 Jan. 2020 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

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.

See More

First Known Use of sweatshop

1884, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sweatshop

Time Traveler for sweatshop

Time Traveler

The first known use of sweatshop was in 1884

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sweatshop

Last Updated

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sweatshop.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweatshop. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on sweatshop

What made you want to look up sweatshop? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!