[ swet ]
See synonyms for: sweatsweatingsweats on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object),sweat or sweat·ed, sweat·ing.
  1. to perspire, especially freely or profusely.

  2. to exude moisture, as green plants piled in a heap or cheese.

  1. to gather moisture from the surrounding air by condensation.

  2. (of moisture or liquid) to ooze or be exuded.

  3. Informal. to work hard.

  4. Informal. to experience distress, as from anxiety.

  5. (of tobacco) to ferment.

verb (used with object),sweat or sweat·ed, sweat·ing.
  1. to excrete (perspiration, moisture, etc.) through the pores of the skin.

  2. to exude in drops or small particles: The drying figs sweat tiny drops of moisture.

  1. to send forth or get rid of with or like perspiration (often followed by out or off).

  2. to wet or stain with perspiration.

  3. to cause (a person, a horse, etc.) to perspire.

  4. to cause to exude moisture, especially as a step in an industrial drying process: to sweat wood.

  5. to earn, produce, or obtain (a result, promotion, compliment, etc.) by hard work.

  6. to cause to lose (weight) as by perspiring or hard work: The hard week's work sweated five pounds off him.

  7. to cause, force, or bring pressure on (a person, an animal, etc.) to work hard.

  8. to employ (workers) at low wages, for long hours, or under other unfavorable conditions.

  9. to labor with meticulous care over: The manufacturer of this beautiful car has really sweated the details.

  10. Slang.

    • to obtain or extort (money) from someone.

    • to extort money from; fleece.

  11. Slang. to subject to severe questioning; give the third degree to.

  12. Metallurgy.

    • to heat (an alloy) in order to remove a constituent melting at a lower temperature than the alloy as a whole.

    • to heat (solder or the like) to melting.

    • to join (metal objects) by heating and pressing together, usually with solder.

  13. to remove bits of metal from (gold coins) by shaking them against one another, as in a bag.: Compare clip1 (def. 4).

  14. to cause (tobacco or cocoa) to ferment.

  1. the process of sweating or perspiring.

  2. that which is secreted from sweat glands; perspiration.

  1. a state or a period of sweating.

  2. hard work.

  3. Informal. a state of anxiety or impatience.

  4. a process of inducing sweating or perspiration, or of being sweated, as in medical treatment.

  5. moisture exuded from something or gathered on a surface.

  6. an exuding of moisture, as by a substance.

  7. an inducing of such exudation, as in some industrial process.

  8. a run given to a horse for exercise, as before a race.

  9. sweats, Informal. sweatpants, sweatshirts, sweat suits, or the like.

  1. Informal.

    • (of clothes) made to be worn for exercise, sports, or other physical activity.

    • made of the absorbent fabric used for such clothes: sweat dresses.

    • of, for, or associated with such clothes: the sweat look in sportswear.

Verb Phrases
  1. sweat out, Informal.

    • to await anxiously the outcome of; endure apprehensively: The accused sweated out the jury's deliberation.

    • to work arduously at or toward: The director sweated out a camera angle with the cinematographer.

Idioms about sweat

  1. no sweat, Informal. with no difficulty or problem.

  2. sweat blood, Informal.

    • to be under a strain; work strenuously.

    • to wait anxiously; worry: He was sweating blood while his friend was being questioned by the police.

  1. sweat bullets, Informal.

    • to sweat profusely.

    • to be apprehensive; worry.

  2. sweat it, Informal.

    • to wait anxiously; endure the best way one can: There was no news of survivors, so all we could do was sweat it.

    • to worry; be apprehensive: You'll do OK, so don't sweat it.

Origin of sweat

First recorded before 900; 1970–75 for def. 6; (verb) Middle English sweten, Old English swǣtan “to sweat,” derivative of swāt (noun); (noun) Middle English swet, sweet, influenced by the verb, cognate with Dutch zweet, German Schweiss, Old Norse sveiti; akin to Sanskrit svéda-, Latin sūdor, Greek hidrṓs

synonym study For sweat

24. See perspiration.

word story For sweat

Sweat has a very distinguished ancestry. It comes from the Proto-Indo-European root sweid-, swoid-, swid-. The suffixed form swoidos (a noun) appears in Germanic as swaitaz, regularly becoming swāt in Old English, Schweiss in German, and sveiti in Old Norse. The related form swoidōs- regularly becomes the noun sūdōr- (inflectional stem of sūdor ) in Latin, from which English derives sudorific “causing sweat” and sudoriparous “secreting sweat.” Greek, as is common, goes its own way and forms its noun from the variant root swid- extended with the suffix -ro- ( swidro- ) to form hidrṓs, from which English derives hidrosis (excessive production of sweat); the Greek form is made obscure by the cluster sw- becoming h-. The form swidro- becomes sviêdri in Latvian, a Baltic language that, like Lithuanian, is very resistant to change.

Other words from sweat

  • sweatless, adjective
  • non·sweat·ing, adjective
  • un·sweat·ing, adjective

Words Nearby sweat

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use sweat in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sweat


/ (swɛt) /

  1. 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

  2. the act or process of secreting this fluid

  1. the act of inducing the exudation of moisture

  2. drops of moisture given forth or gathered on the surface of something

  3. informal a state or condition of worry or eagerness (esp in the phrase in a sweat)

  4. slang drudgery or hard labour: mowing lawns is a real sweat!

  5. mainly US an exercise gallop given to a horse, esp on the day of a race

  6. slang, mainly British a soldier, esp one who is old and experienced

  7. no sweat! (interjection) slang an expression suggesting that something can be done without problems or difficulty

verbsweats, sweating, sweat or sweated
  1. to secrete (sweat) through the pores of the skin, esp profusely

  2. (tr) to make wet or stain with sweat

  1. to give forth or cause to give forth (moisture) in droplets: a sweating cheese; the maple sweats sap

  2. (intr) to collect and condense moisture on an outer surface: a glass of beer sweating in the sun

  3. (intr) (of a liquid) to pass through a porous surface in droplets

  4. (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

  5. (tr) to heat (food, esp vegetables) slowly in butter in a tightly closed saucepan

  6. (tr) to join (pieces of metal) by pressing together and heating

  7. (tr) to heat (solder) until it melts

  8. (tr) to heat (a partially fused metal) to extract an easily fusible constituent

  9. to shake together (coins, esp gold coins) so as to remove particles for illegal use

  10. informal to suffer anxiety, impatience, or distress

  11. informal to overwork or be overworked

  12. (tr) informal to employ at very low wages and under bad conditions

  13. (tr) informal to extort, esp by torture: to sweat information out of a captive

  14. (intr) informal to suffer punishment: you'll sweat for this!

  15. sweat blood informal

    • to work very hard

    • to be filled with anxiety or impatience

Origin of sweat

Old English swætan to sweat, from swāt sweat; related to Old Saxon swēt, Old Norse sveiti, Old High German sweiz, Latin sūdor, Sanskrit svedas

Derived forms of sweat

  • sweatless, adjective

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

Scientific definitions for sweat


[ swĕt ]

  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Other Idioms and Phrases with sweat


In addition to the idioms beginning with sweat

  • sweat blood
  • sweat bullets
  • sweat of one's brow
  • sweat out

also see:

  • by the sweat of one's brow
  • in a cold sweat
  • no problem (sweat)

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.