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[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 perspired
Historical Examples
  • He perspired, spent a whole day over it, and hung it up again in its place.

    Yiddish Tales Various
  • For a week, she toiled and perspired and suffered and was strong.

    Teddy: Her Book Anna Chapin Ray
  • I perspired so much that mother put a life-preserver to bed with me.

    Mark Twain's Speeches Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • As it was, I perspired about a barrel and my brain ached for a week.

    At Good Old Siwash George Fitch
  • How he perspired as he managed the hoe with a vigorous forward and backward motion that seemed to cleave him at the waist!

    Luna Benamor Vicente Blasco Ibez
  • He was a man who perspired freely, and now, in that single minute, his face trickled.

    Gladiator Philip Wylie
  • Old Garcia perspired with anguish as he looked over his caravan, and figured up the cost in his head.

    Overland John William De Forest
  • He foresaw that he would be punished, and perspired both water and blood.

    Christian Mystery Anonymous
  • He perspired freely, mopping his brow meantime with a vast silk kerchief that hung loosely about his short neck.

    A Fortnight of Folly Maurice Thompson
  • Before the Rebels were up I was in it, and there I sat and perspired for six mortal hours.

    With Fire and Sword Samuel H. M. Byers
British Dictionary definitions for perspired


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 perspired



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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perspired 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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