adjective, sweet·er, sweet·est.
- devoid of corrosive or acidic substances.
- (of fuel oil or gas) containing no sulfur compounds.
- candied sweet potatoes.
- (in direct address) sweetheart.
- a piece of candy; sweetmeat or bonbon.
- a sweet dish or dessert, as a pudding or tart.
Origin of sweet
Can be confusedsuite sweet
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.
Examples from the Web for sweetly
The whole place cracks up, and Mitchum sweetly kisses her on the forehead.The Stacks: Mr. Bad Taste and Trouble Himself: Robert Mitchum|Robert Ward|July 19, 2014|DAILY BEAST
We had been planning on our own private Valentines Day dinner, but Christopher sweetly asked if we were busy that evening.
One of the most sweetly melancholy movies about love ever made.Woody Allen’s Best & Worst Movies: ‘Annie Hall’ ‘Match Point’ & More (Video)|Malcolm Jones|July 26, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Sweetly, she belts out a rather impressive rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”Ke$ha’s New Reality Show Is a Bore. Where’s Our Crazy Ke$ha? (VIDEO)|Kevin Fallon|April 24, 2013|DAILY BEAST
In fact, the move inspired a sweetly sophisticated Spring 2009 collection, an ode to the city.
Her lips were red and sweetly curved, her cheek was smooth and firm as so much brown velvet.Spacehounds of IPC|Edward Elmer Smith
"We have never quarrelled yet, Reginald," she said, sweetly.Kate Danton, or, Captain Danton's Daughters|May Agnes Fleming
"That will do nicely for a beginning, Johnnie," she said sweetly.The Price|Francis Lynde
"Mr. Kenmore, I know you will excuse Irene from her dances," she said sweetly.Guy Kenmore's Wife and The Rose and the Lily|Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
A letter of his to M. de Burigny, dated 6th September 1727, is sweetly optimistic.The Anglo-French Entente in the Seventeenth Century|Charles Bastide
British Dictionary definitions for sweetly (1 of 2)
British Dictionary definitions for sweetly (2 of 2)
Derived Formssweetish, adjectivesweetly, adverbsweetness, noun
Word Origin for sweet
Idioms and Phrases with sweetly
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
- short and sweet
- take the bitter with the sweet