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[swet-er] /ˈswɛt ər/
a knitted jacket or jersey, in pullover or cardigan style, with or without sleeves.
a person or thing that sweats.
an employer who underpays and overworks employees.
of, for, or pertaining to a sweater:
sweater yarn; sweater fashions.
made like a sweater:
a sweater dress.
Origin of sweater
1520-30 for def 2; 1880-85 for def 1; sweat + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sweater
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I've just tipped the scales at a hundred-and-three in my sweater.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • I used the sweater as I did the arm-chair when I did not have visitors.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug Joseph C. Lincoln
  • We say that a sweater is red; really the sweater is not red, but the light that it reflects to our eyes is red.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
  • Explain why ice is packed in straw or sawdust; why a sweater keeps you warm.

    Common Science Carleton W. Washburne
  • He turned up part of the sleeve of the sweater and put it to his lips.

British Dictionary definitions for sweater


  1. a garment made of knitted or crocheted material covering the upper part of the body, esp a heavy one worn for warmth
  2. (as modifier): a sweater dress
a person or thing that sweats
an employer who overworks and underpays his employees
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 sweater

"woolen vest or jersey, originally worn in rowing," 1882, from earlier sweaters "clothing worn to produce sweating and reduce weight" (1828), from sweat (v.). As a fashion garment, attested from 1925. Sweater girl is attested from 1940; Lana Turner (1920-1995) was the first, from her appearance in the film "They Won't Forget" (1937).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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