Idioms for sweat

Origin of sweat

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


sweat·less, adjectivenon·sweat·ing, adjectiveun·sweat·ing, adjective

synonym study for sweat

24. See perspiration.

historical usage of 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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for sweat blood

/ (swɛt) /


verb sweats, sweating, sweat or sweated

Derived forms of sweat

sweatless, adjective

Word Origin for 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
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

Medicine definitions for sweat blood

[ swĕt ]


To excrete perspiration through the pores in the skin; perspire.


The colorless saline moisture excreted by the sweat glands; perspiration.
The process of sweating.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for sweat blood

[ swĕt ]

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.

Idioms and Phrases with sweat blood (1 of 2)

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.”

Idioms and Phrases with sweat blood (2 of 2)


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.