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90s Slang You Should Know


[per-spahyuh r] /pərˈspaɪər/
verb (used without object), perspired, perspiring.
to secrete a salty, watery fluid from the sweat glands of the skin, especially when very warm as a result of strenuous exertion; sweat.
verb (used with object), perspired, perspiring.
to emit through pores; exude.
Origin of perspire
1640-50; < Latin perspīrāre to blow constantly (said of the wind), breathe through; in New Latin: to sweat imperceptibly. See per-, inspire
Related forms
perspirability, noun
perspirable, adjective
perspiringly, adverb
perspiry, adjective
unperspired, adjective
unperspiring, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for perspire
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Your highness must take this bat and with it beat about this ball until you perspire freely.

    Lawn Tennis for Ladies Mrs. Lambert Chambers
  • The strain of his work made him perspire as though it were midsummer.

    Nan Sherwood at Pine Camp Annie Roe Carr
  • It made me tug and pant and perspire; and still, labor as I might, the machine came almost to a standstill every little while.

    What Is Man? And Other Stories Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • He can perspire in December, when the furnace is out and the windows are open.

  • We seemed almost perishing for want of water, the hard exercise made us perspire so freely.

    Death Valley in '49 William Lewis Manly
  • It must be her weight, Daoud thought, that made her perspire so much.

  • We perspire freely but as the sweat does not evaporate, there is a constantly increasing amount of water on the skin.

    Wind and Weather Alexander McAdie
  • After a time he begins to perspire, or at times falls asleep.

    A Guide to Health Mahatma Gandhi
  • However the brow might perspire, there was no dampness on the hand, and the helve of the axe was scarcely harder and drier.

    The Toilers of the Field Richard Jefferies
British Dictionary definitions for perspire


to secrete or exude (perspiration) through the pores of the skin
Derived Forms
perspiringly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin perspīrāre to blow, from per- (through) + spīrāre to breathe; compare inspire
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perspire

1640s, "to evaporate through the pores," a back-formation from perspiration and in part from Latin perspirare "to breathe, to blow constantly" (see perspiration). Meaning "to sweat" is a polite usage attested from 1725. Medical men tried to maintain a distinction between "sensible" (sweat) and "insensible" perspiration:

[I]t is sufficient for common use to observe, that perspiration is that insensible discharge of vapour from the whole surface of the body and the lungs which is constantly going on in a healthy state; that it is always natural and always salutary; that sweat, on the contrary, is an evacuation, which never appears without some uncommon effort, or some disease to the system, that it weakens and relaxes, and is so far from coinciding with perspiration, that it obstructs and checks it. [Charles White, "A Treatise on the Management of Pregnant and Lying-in Women," London, 1791]
Related: Perspired; perspiring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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perspire in Medicine

perspire per·spire (pər-spīr')
v. per·spired, per·spir·ing, per·spires
To excrete perspiration through the pores of the skin.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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