sweet·​en | \ ˈswē-tᵊn How to pronounce sweeten (audio) \
sweetened; sweetening\ ˈswēt-​niŋ How to pronounce sweetening (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 sweetener (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 Always shop for the money first, don't negotiate on the basis of monthly payments, and never be afraid to ask for a little more sugar to sweeten the deal. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "The Best Lease Deals on Two-Seaters and Hellcats for January 2020," 11 Jan. 2020 The Oracle of Omaha pledged $10 billion in financing, giving Hollub the firepower needed to sweeten her bid. Matt Egan, CNN, "She went head-to-head with an oil company five times the size of her own. And won.," 10 Jan. 2020 Some brands are now using xylitol to sweeten their product. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Fireworks might make the fur fly!," 28 Dec. 2019 Unless Harris is going to take a big chunk of money out of his own pocket to sweeten the pot, that connection will not help the Giants, aside from his ability to give Zaidi a killer scouting report on the player. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Giants mailbag: Is there a plan? Plus Bumgarner, Castellanos, concessions," 24 Dec. 2019 To sweeten the pot, NBC pays for participants to shadow on up to three episodes before taking the reins. Rebecca Sun, The Hollywood Reporter, "TV Director Lands "Break of a Lifetime" With NBC's Female Forward Initiative," 16 Dec. 2019 Today, Clear's $179 memberships are discounted $60 to just $119, with a $20 Amazon gift card thrown in to sweeten the deal. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Clear Memberships Are $60 Off for Cyber Monday," 2 Dec. 2019 The only trade scenario is if there is a team that needs to get to the salary-cap floor, and no doubt the Wings would have to sweeten such a deal with another player/prospect/draft pick. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings mailbag: There's no way they bring back Mike Babcock, right?," 23 Nov. 2019 At $40, this pillow is more reasonably priced than some others—and Travelrest throws in accessories, such as memory foam earplugs and a removable cover for easy washing, to sweeten the deal. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, "The Top 10 Travel Pillows for the Best Sleep On-the-Go," 22 Oct. 2019

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

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sweeten.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sweeten. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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More Definitions for sweeten


How to pronounce sweeten (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on sweeten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sweeten

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


to express in a more acceptable way

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