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

Tubes also make canned things, like tomato paste or sweetened condensed milk, far more accessible. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "The 10 Foods and Condiments in Tubes That Make My Life Easier," 17 Oct. 2018 The Argentine club are reportedly interested in Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina, who could move the other way to help sweeten the deal. SI.com, "Arsenal Suffer Blow in Pursuit of Boca Juniors Ace as Argentine Club Increase Asking Price to £37m," 12 July 2018 Fox now must decide whether to sweeten its offer for Sky to trump a higher bid from U.S. cable giant Comcast. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, "U.K. Clears Fox's Sky Bid," 12 July 2018 The pops are hand-made from original recipes and sweetened with organic cane sugar or local honey. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Fog, flowers, more crazy shakes: What's new and offbeat in DFW ice-cream shops," 20 June 2018 Port Huron's Gasoline Gypsies create soulful rock 'n' roll sweetened with three-part harmonies. Jeff Milo, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit music: Magic Bag hosts Native Howl, Gasoline Gypsies; War & Treaty at Otus Supply," 31 May 2018 The two test groups eat seaweed sweetened with molasses for two weeks at a time before returning to a normal diet for a week. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "Can seaweed make cow farts less potent? These UC Davis scientists hope to find out | The Sacramento Bee," 24 May 2018 This food truck has been cooling off Nashville since 2010, with soft snow balls topped with cane sugar-sweetened syrups. Larry Bleiberg, USA TODAY, "10 great places to try Hawaiian poke on the mainland," 18 May 2018 That assessment sweetens the odds that the bank will keep raising rates in the months ahead. Tom Hudson, miamiherald, "The semiannual economic checkup from the Fed | Miami Herald," 23 Feb. 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

14 Nov 2018

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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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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