sweet·​en | \ ˈswē-tᵊn How to pronounce sweeten (audio) \
sweetened; sweetening\ ˈswēt-​niŋ How to pronounce sweeten (audio) , 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 How to pronounce sweeten (audio) , ˈswē-​tᵊn-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for sweeten


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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 Well, what if the Cavs try to sweeten the package with Cedi Osman, who sources say could also be had? Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers taking calls on Andre Drummond, but trade could be difficult," 15 Feb. 2021 Castro also doubled down on the CSU reopening most of its classes in the fall for in-person learning, which may sweeten the pot for students to continue to enroll at CSU. Mikhail Zinshteyn, San Francisco Chronicle, "CSU promises to keep tuition flat for 2021 school year," 8 Feb. 2021 Here are some new Minnesota albums to sweeten the deal. Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune, "4 new Minnesota albums to consider for Bandcamp Friday," 4 Feb. 2021 So although there is plenty of ham here, starting with Mays’s snarling, paranoid Scrooge, whose lower lip hangs down to the left as if to provide an exit ramp for his bile, there is almost no honey glaze to sweeten it. New York Times, "Review: A Ham’s ‘Christmas Carol,’ Without the Honey Glaze," 30 Nov. 2020 But for those missing those in-person gatherings, the Book Club scented candle from Homesick may just sweeten the occasion. Michael Desjardin, USA TODAY, "35 perfect gift ideas for book lovers in 2020," 14 Dec. 2020 The university is trying to sweeten the deal with a University of Georgia facemask, as well as discounts for campus shops and the bookstore for students who get a test. Chris Quintana, USA TODAY, "Students are still traveling for Thanksgiving break. Colleges fear they'll spread COVID.," 19 Nov. 2020 Politicians and leaders should be using the vaccines as the spoonful of sugar to sweeten the bitter pill of precautionary measures this winter, rather than as a justification for not implementing them. Melody Schreiber, The New Republic, "Now Is When We Choose How Effective the Covid Vaccines Will Be," 10 Dec. 2020 To sweeten the pot, VW throws in three years of free, unlimited DC fast-charging at Electrify America stations. Eric Adams, Popular Mechanics, "The Most Anticipated Cars of 2021," 7 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for sweeten

Time Traveler

The first known use of sweeten was circa 1552

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Statistics for sweeten

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sweeten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweeten. Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce sweeten (audio) \
sweetened; sweetening

Kids Definition of sweeten

: to make or become sweet or sweeter

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