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

And the booth serves them up in a wide variety of espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, cold-brew, sweetened and iced drinks. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: A tasting tour under Carlsbad’s windmill," 12 Sep. 2019 According to the American Heart Association, sweetened drinks are the biggest source of added sugar in our diet. Laura Reiley, Anchorage Daily News, "It doesn’t matter if it’s sugary or diet: Study links all soda to an early death," 5 Sep. 2019 These products derive their alcohol from fermented malted grains and are then carbonated, flavored and sweetened. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "Hard seltzer is this summer’s biggest scam," 20 Aug. 2019 Britons once sweetened their drink with slave-grown Caribbean sugar, and the ghosts of imperial commerce lend a bitter tang to several contemporary artworks here. B.t., The Economist, "The ambivalent history of the Camellia sinensis leaf," 10 July 2019 Anyone visiting their local McAlister’s Deli will score a complimentary 32-ounce sweetened or unsweetened tea. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "How to score free McAlister's Deli tea, vote in Tea Town Showdown," 9 July 2019 In ancient Japan, royals ate kakigori, sweetened shaved ice, still a popular treat. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "10 Baltimore area snowball stands worth your time," 26 June 2019 Local transportation officials have sought to sweeten the deal, too. Melissa Repko, chicagotribune.com, "Uber makes it official: It will set up major hub in downtown Dallas by end of year," 27 Aug. 2019 According to lawmakers who heard the audio, Bonnen offered to sweeten the pot by revoking the press credentials of the editor of Quorum Report, Scott Braddock, a long time critic of Empower Texans. Dallas News, "Michael Quinn Sullivan's secret audio of Texas House speaker blurs line between journalism, activism," 22 Aug. 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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Statistics for sweeten

Last Updated

19 Sep 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 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

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