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


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

The actual coaching stipend was $4,000, sweetened by an offer to let Te’o-Nesheim live in the dorms as a sort of monitor at the boarding school, have him supervise study halls, and eat in the cafeteria on a meal plan. Les Bowen, Philly.com, "A funny draft story turned sad with the death of former Eagle Daniel Te'o-Nesheim," 23 Apr. 2018 Rivera will depend on Turner to sweeten something that is already stable. Kind of like putting honey on his oatmeal. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Biggest task for Ron Rivera, Panthers in 2018? Adding honey to an oatmeal offense | Charlotte Observer," 30 Mar. 2018 The original bid was €36.46 ($45.22) per share and the sweetened offer €37.54 per share, but Smurfit’s board still said this represented an under-valuation. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Facebook Apologies, China Moves, Uber and Out: CEO Daily for March 26, 2018," 26 Mar. 2018 It was first described in the early 20th century by an Italian botanist who saw indigenous South American tribes using the plant’s crushed leaves to sweeten teas and other drinks. Kate Morgan, The Cut, "Is Stevia Better for You Than Sugar?," 26 Mar. 2018 Grundy said, referring to sweetened-beverage taxes. Bloomberg.com, "Soda Wars Rage On in Philly, Where Tax Is Blamed for Job Losses," 9 Jan. 2018 They're fermented, ground into a paste, sweetened, and sometimes flavored to create everything from Hershey's chocolate bars to Guittard's gourmet chocolate wafers. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appetit, "What Is Cacao, And How Does it Relate to Chocolate?," 29 Mar. 2018 Maple syrup and Nutella had not yet made their way to India; instead, my grandmother made a filling of sweetened coconut from the region’s bountiful coconut trees. Nik Sharma, San Francisco Chronicle, "A Brown Kitchen: Pancake Tuesday, an Indian tradition by way of colonialism," 13 Feb. 2018 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

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

18 Apr 2019

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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 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

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).


an enemy or opponent

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