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Why Are There So Many Definitions For The Word "Sweet"?

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Idioms about sweet

    short and sweet. See entry at short and sweet.
    sweet on, Informal. infatuated with; in love with: He's sweet on her.

Origin of sweet

First recorded before 900; (adjective and adverb) Middle English swet(e), Old English swēte (adjective); (noun) Middle English swet(e), derivative of the adjective; cognate with Old Saxon swōti, Old High German swuozi (German süss ); akin to Dutch zoet, Old Norse sætr, Gothic suts, Sanskrit svādú-, Greek hēdýs, hādýs “sweet,” Latin suāvis “pleasant” and suādēre “to recommend”

historical usage of sweet

It is not very often that a modern English word comes as close to its Proto-Indo-European original as, say, Latin or Greek does, but sweet is one of them.
The Proto-Indo-European root is swād- “sweet”; the adjective from that root is swādús, which becomes Sanskrit svādús, then Greek hēdýs and hādýs (with the usual simplification of initial sw- to h- ). The extended form swādwis becomes the Latin adjective suāvis “agreeable to the taste” (not necessarily sweet), “fragrant; pleasing to the eyes, the feelings, the mind,” and the verb suādēre “to recommend, make something pleasant.” The root swād- regularly becomes swōt- in Germanic, and the adjective from that root is swōtjaz. The j causes umlaut of the ō, becoming œ or ē and yielding the Old English adjective swœte and swēte, Middle English swet(e), swet, and English sweet.
Very early on, sweet was applied more generally to things that are pleasing or agreeable to bodily senses other than taste buds. In the 14th century, you might say someone was sweet in (the) bed to mean that they were good in bed. From the mid-1500s, sweet-love (now obsolete) was a term of affection for a beloved person. By the late 1500s, you could call someone sweet-tongued, and by the 1900s, whisper sweet nothings to someone.

OTHER WORDS FROM sweet

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH sweet

suite, sweet

Other definitions for sweet (2 of 2)

Sweet
[ sweet ]
/ swit /

noun
Henry, 1845–1912, English philologist and linguist.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use sweet in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for sweet (1 of 2)

sweet
/ (swiːt) /

adjective
adverb
informal in a sweet manner
noun

Derived forms of sweet

sweetish, adjectivesweetly, adverbsweetness, noun

Word Origin for sweet

Old English swēte; related to Old Saxon swōti, Old High German suozi, Old Norse sœtr, Latin suādus persuasive, suāvis sweet, Greek hēdus, Sanskrit svādu; see persuade, suave

British Dictionary definitions for sweet (2 of 2)

Sweet

noun
Henry. 1845–1912, English philologist; a pioneer of modern phonetics. His books include A History of English Sounds (1874)
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with sweet

sweet

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