sweet

[ sweet ]
/ swit /

adjective, sweet·er, sweet·est.

adverb

in a sweet manner; sweetly.

noun

Idioms

    sweet on, Informal. infatuated with; in love with: He's sweet on her.

Origin of sweet

before 900; (adj. and adv.) Middle English swet(e), Old English swēte (adj.); (noun) Middle English swet(e), derivative of the adj.; cognate with Old Saxon swōti, Old High German swuozi (German süss); akin to Dutch zoet, Old Norse sætr, Gothic suts, Greek hēdýs sweet, Latin suādēre to recommend, suāvis pleasant

Related forms

Can be confused

suite sweet

Word story

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sweetly

British Dictionary definitions for sweetly (1 of 2)

Sweet


noun

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

British Dictionary definitions for sweetly (2 of 2)

sweet

/ (swiːt) /

adjective

adverb

informal in a sweet manner

noun

Derived Forms

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
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

Idioms and Phrases with sweetly

sweet


In addition to the idioms beginning with sweet

  • sweet dreams
  • sweeten the kitty
  • sweetness and light
  • sweet nothings
  • sweet on, be
  • sweet talk
  • sweet tooth

also see:

  • short and sweet
  • take the bitter with the sweet
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.