sweet·​en | \ ˈswē-tᵊn \
sweetened; sweetening\ ˈswēt-​niŋ , ˈswē-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of sweeten

transitive verb

1 : to make sweet
2 : to soften the mood or attitude of
3 : to make less painful or trying
4 : to free from a harmful or undesirable quality or substance especially : to remove sulfur compounds from sweeten natural gas
5 : to make more valuable or attractive sweeten the deal : such as
a : to increase (a pot not won on the previous deal) by anteing prior to another deal
b : to place additional securities as collateral for (a loan)

intransitive verb

: to become sweet

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Other Words from sweeten

sweetener \ ˈswēt-​nər , ˈswē-​tᵊn-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for sweeten


candy, dress up, enhance

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Examples of sweeten in a Sentence

He sweetened his cereal a little. He sweetened the deal with a large signing bonus.

Recent Examples on the Web

Since announcing its restructuring plans in January, Noble has twice sweetened the deal for shareholders. Manju Dalal, WSJ, "Deutsche Bank Brings Noble Bondholders A Surprise Offer," 17 Aug. 2018 Buy Photo Jose Garces has sweetened the pot to help cinch a sale of his restaurants in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, offering to pay $500,000 to M&T Bank to satisfy personal liens against him. Michael Klein, Philly.com, "Jose Garces offers to add his own cash to sweeten sale of his restaurants," 28 June 2018 That’s because the investments fell behind and benefits were sweetened by Albany in 2000. New York Times, "The Billion-Dollar Fiefs," 17 May 2018 The fruit will be hard, but will soften and sweeten in a week at room temperature. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "How To Grow Your Own Kiwis In Your Backyard," 6 Feb. 2018 To sweeten the deal, the trip was a speedy 90 minute drive or train-ride out of the city. Lily Kupets, Vogue, "A Winter Weekend Destination You’ve Likely Overlooked: New Paltz, New York," 28 Dec. 2018 Because fruit juices and fruit purees are concentrated forms of naturally occurring sugar, they're often added to products to sweeten the taste. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "Is Jamba Juice Healthy? Smoothie Fans Might Not Like the Answer," 29 Aug. 2018 Those talks continued Thursday, with the Lakers trying to find ways to sweeten their offer. Tania Ganguli, latimes.com, "Uncertainty continues for the Lakers as free agency looms," 29 June 2018 With both the hometown Orioles and Ravens facing attendance problems, the need to sweeten the fan experience has become even more crucial. Chris Kaltenbach, baltimoresun.com, "Amid attendance woes, Orioles and Ravens aggressively court fans," 25 June 2018

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

circa 1552, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for sweeten

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sweeten

The first known use of sweeten was circa 1552

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More Definitions for sweeten



English Language Learners Definition of sweeten

: to make (something) sweet or sweeter in taste
: to make (something) more valuable or attractive


sweet·​en | \ ˈswē-tᵊn \
sweetened; sweetening

Kids Definition of sweeten

: to make or become sweet or sweeter

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More from Merriam-Webster on sweeten

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sweeten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sweeten

Spanish Central: Translation of sweeten

Nglish: Translation of sweeten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sweeten for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sweeten

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


esteemed in general opinion

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