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[swet] /swɛt/
verb (used without object), sweat or sweated, sweating.
to perspire, especially freely or profusely.
to exude moisture, as green plants piled in a heap or cheese.
to gather moisture from the surrounding air by condensation.
(of moisture or liquid) to ooze or be exuded.
Informal. to work hard.
Informal. to experience distress, as from anxiety.
(of tobacco) to ferment.
verb (used with object), sweat or sweated, sweating.
to excrete (perspiration, moisture, etc.) through the pores of the skin.
to exude in drops or small particles:
The drying figs sweat tiny drops of moisture.
to send forth or get rid of with or like perspiration (often followed by out or off).
to wet or stain with perspiration.
to cause (a person, a horse, etc.) to perspire.
to cause to exude moisture, especially as a step in an industrial drying process:
to sweat wood.
to earn, produce, or obtain (a result, promotion, compliment, etc.) by hard work.
to cause to lose (weight) as by perspiring or hard work:
The hard week's work sweated five pounds off him.
to cause, force, or bring pressure on (a person, an animal, etc.) to work hard.
to employ (workers) at low wages, for long hours, or under other unfavorable conditions.
to labor with meticulous care over:
The manufacturer of this beautiful car has really sweated the details.
  1. to obtain or extort (money) from someone.
  2. to extort money from; fleece.
Slang. to subject to severe questioning; give the third degree to.
  1. to heat (an alloy) in order to remove a constituent melting at a lower temperature than the alloy as a whole.
  2. to heat (solder or the like) to melting.
  3. to join (metal objects) by heating and pressing together, usually with solder.
to remove bits of metal from (gold coins) by shaking them against one another, as in a bag.
Compare clip1 (def 4).
to cause (tobacco or cocoa) to ferment.
the process of sweating or perspiring.
that which is secreted from sweat glands; perspiration.
a state or a period of sweating.
hard work.
Informal. a state of anxiety or impatience.
a process of inducing sweating or perspiration, or of being sweated, as in medical treatment.
moisture exuded from something or gathered on a surface.
an exuding of moisture, as by a substance.
an inducing of such exudation, as in some industrial process.
a run given to a horse for exercise, as before a race.
sweats, Informal. sweatpants, sweatshirts, sweat suits, or the like.
  1. (of clothes) made to be worn for exercise, sports, or other physical activity.
  2. made of the absorbent fabric used for such clothes:
    sweat dresses.
  3. of, for, or associated with such clothes:
    the sweat look in sportswear.
Verb phrases
sweat out, Informal.
  1. to await anxiously the outcome of; endure apprehensively:
    The accused sweated out the jury's deliberation.
  2. to work arduously at or toward:
    The director sweated out a camera angle with the cinematographer.
no sweat, Informal. with no difficulty or problem.
sweat blood, Informal.
  1. to be under a strain; work strenuously.
  2. to wait anxiously; worry:
    He was sweating blood while his friend was being questioned by the police.
sweat bullets, Informal.
  1. to sweat profusely.
  2. to be apprehensive; worry.
sweat it, Informal.
  1. to wait anxiously; endure the best way one can:
    There was no news of survivors, so all we could do was sweat it.
  2. to worry; be apprehensive:
    You'll do OK, so don't sweat it.
Origin of sweat
obsolete English
before 900; 1970-75 for def 6; (v.) Middle English sweten, Old English swǣtan to sweat, derivative of swāt (noun) (> obsolete English swote); (noun) Middle English, alteration of swote, influenced by the v.; cognate with Dutch zweet, German Schweiss, Old Norse sveiti, Sanskrit svedas; akin to Latin sūdor, Greek hidrṓs
Related forms
sweatless, adjective
nonsweating, adjective
unsweating, adjective
24. See perspiration. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sweat blood
Historical Examples
  • To be the maker of a religion is to sweat blood in the night-time.

  • Thats its affair​—​it has the right​—​and it will sweat blood for it a century hence, and for many centuries thereafter.

    The Religio-Medical Masquerade Frederick William Peabody
  • We never failed to get our paper out of the express office, but it sometimes made us sweat blood to do it.

    Then and Now Robert Vaughn
  • We ourselves escaped it, to be sure, but I've sweat blood over the mere thought of it.

    One Way Out William Carleton
  • And to obtain this clause the envoys declared "that they had been obliged to sweat blood and water."

  • Then it seemed as if those figures began to heave—and to sweat blood—and their beady eyes to move in their sockets.

  • During the hysterical attacks she sweat blood from the surface of her cheeks and belly.

  • That's just it—just the way I figured it—something he knew was risky—something that made him sweat blood.

    The Winning Clue

    James Hay, Jr.
  • I ought to have sweat blood then, from the anguish of my yearning—from the fervour of my supplications to have but one glimpse!

    Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
  • If I hear another word out of you, I'll make you sweat blood before tomorrow morning.

    Graustark George Barr McCutcheon
British Dictionary definitions for sweat blood


the secretion from the sweat glands, esp when profuse and visible, as during strenuous activity, from excessive heat, etc; commonly also called perspiration related adjectives sudatory sudorific
the act or process of secreting this fluid
the act of inducing the exudation of moisture
drops of moisture given forth or gathered on the surface of something
(informal) a state or condition of worry or eagerness (esp in the phrase in a sweat)
(slang) drudgery or hard labour: mowing lawns is a real sweat!
(mainly US) an exercise gallop given to a horse, esp on the day of a race
(slang, mainly Brit) a soldier, esp one who is old and experienced
(interjection) (slang) no sweat!, an expression suggesting that something can be done without problems or difficulty
verb sweats, sweating, sweat, sweated
to secrete (sweat) through the pores of the skin, esp profusely
(transitive) to make wet or stain with sweat
to give forth or cause to give forth (moisture) in droplets: a sweating cheese, the maple sweats sap
(intransitive) to collect and condense moisture on an outer surface: a glass of beer sweating in the sun
(intransitive) (of a liquid) to pass through a porous surface in droplets
(of tobacco leaves, cut and dried hay, etc) to exude moisture and, sometimes, begin to ferment or to cause (tobacco leaves, etc) to exude moisture
(transitive) to heat (food, esp vegetables) slowly in butter in a tightly closed saucepan
(transitive) to join (pieces of metal) by pressing together and heating
(transitive) to heat (solder) until it melts
(transitive) to heat (a partially fused metal) to extract an easily fusible constituent
to shake together (coins, esp gold coins) so as to remove particles for illegal use
(informal) to suffer anxiety, impatience, or distress
(informal) to overwork or be overworked
(transitive) (informal) to employ at very low wages and under bad conditions
(transitive) (informal) to extort, esp by torture: to sweat information out of a captive
(intransitive) (informal) to suffer punishment: you'll sweat for this!
(informal) sweat blood
  1. to work very hard
  2. to be filled with anxiety or impatience
Derived Forms
sweatless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English swætan to sweat, from swāt sweat; related to Old Saxon swēt, Old Norse sveiti, Old High German sweiz, Latin sūdor, Sanskrit svedas
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 sweat blood



Old English swætan "perspire, work hard," from the source of sweat (n.). Meaning "to be worried, vexed" is recorded from c.1400. Related: Sweated; sweating. Colloquial no sweat "no problem" attested from 1963.



Old English swat "sweat," which became Middle English swote, but altered under the influence of the verb, from Proto-Germanic *swaita (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian swet, Old Norse sveiti, Danish sved "sweat," Swedish svett, Middle Dutch sweet, Dutch zweet, Old High German sweiz, German Schweiß), from PIE *sweid-/*swoid- (cf. Sanskrit svedah "sweat," Avestan xvaeda- "sweat," Greek hidros "sweat, perspiration," Latin sudor, Lettish swiedri, Welsh chwys "sweat"). Sweat equity is from 1968.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sweat blood in Medicine

sweat (swět)
v. sweat·ed or sweat, sweat·ing, sweats
To excrete perspiration through the pores in the skin; perspire. n.

  1. The colorless saline moisture excreted by the sweat glands; perspiration.

  2. The process of sweating.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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sweat blood in Science
The salty liquid given off by sweat glands in the skin of mammals. As sweat evaporates, the skin cools, causing a reduction in body heat.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for sweat blood



  1. To suffer; stew; cook (1610+)
  2. To work very hard and meticulously: Clinton did not sweat buckets to gain a minimum wage increase, fund extensive job training, or stop budget-busting tax breaks for the well-to-do (1592+)
  3. To interrogate a prisoner roughly: We hauled a bunch of them in, sweated them, nobody would give us anything (1764+)

Related Terms

flop sweat, in a sweat, no sweat, panther piss, pig sweat, tiger sweat

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with sweat blood

sweat blood

Also,sweat one's guts out. Work diligently or strenuously, as in The men were sweating blood to finish the roof before the storm hit. The phrase using guts was first used about 1890, and that with blood shortly thereafter.
Suffer mental anguish, worry intensely, as in Waiting for the test results, I was sweating blood. This usage was first recorded in a work by D.H. Lawrence in 1924. Both usages are colloquial, and allude to the agony of Jesus in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44): “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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