adjective, sweet·er, sweet·est.


in a sweet manner; sweetly.



    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 formssweet·ly, adverbsweet·ness, nounnon·sweet, adjectiveo·ver·sweet, adjectiveo·ver·sweet·ly, adverbo·ver·sweet·ness, nounsu·per·sweet, adjectivesu·per·sweet·ly, adverbsu·per·sweet·ness, noun
Can be confusedsuite sweet

Synonyms for sweet

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

Examples from the Web for sweets

Contemporary Examples of sweets

Historical Examples of sweets

  • The man I remember who gave me sweets when I was a child had black hair; he has red!

  • In his later years Kendall tasted some of the sweets of success.

  • She took her revenge in the evening by giving us a dish of sweets for dinner that I did not like.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • But it is when Lulla has undertaken to investigate a tin of sweets that she most suggests Agassiz.

    Lotus Buds

    Amy Carmichael

  • How unlike the variety of meats and sweets on which I feasted you!'



British Dictionary definitions for sweets



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



having or denoting a pleasant taste like that of sugar
agreeable to the senses or the mindsweet music
having pleasant manners; gentlea sweet child
(of wine, etc) having a relatively high sugar content; not dry
(of foods) not decaying or rancidsweet milk
not saltysweet water
free from unpleasant odourssweet air
containing no corrosive substancessweet soil
(of petrol) containing no sulphur compounds
sentimental or unrealistic
individual; particularthe electorate went its own sweet way
jazz performed with a regular beat, with the emphasis on clearly outlined melody and little improvisation
Australian slang satisfactory or in order; all right
archaic respected; dear (used in polite forms of address)sweet sir
smooth and precise; perfectly executeda sweet shot
sweet on fond of or infatuated with
keep someone sweet to ingratiate oneself in order to ensure cooperation


informal in a sweet manner


a sweet taste or smell; sweetness in general
(often plural) British any of numerous kinds of confectionery consisting wholly or partly of sugar, esp of sugar boiled and crystallized (boiled sweets)
British a pudding, fruit, or any sweet dish served as a dessert
dear; sweetheart (used as a form of address)
anything that is sweet
(often plural) a pleasurable experience, state, etcthe sweets of success
Derived Formssweetish, 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

Word Origin and History for sweets



Old English swete "pleasing to the senses, mind or feelings," from Proto-Germanic *swotijaz (cf. Old Saxon swoti, Swedish söt, Danish sød, Middle Dutch soete, Dutch zoet, Old High German swuozi, German süß), from PIE root *swad- "sweet, pleasant" (Sanskrit svadus "sweet;" Greek hedys "sweet, pleasant, agreeable," hedone "pleasure;" Latin suavis "sweet," suadere "to advise," properly "to make something pleasant to").

To be sweet on someone is first recorded 1690s. Sweet-talk (v.) dates from 1935; earliest uses seem to refer to conversation between black and white in segregated U.S. Sweet sixteen first recorded 1767. Sweet dreams as a parting to one going to sleep is attested from 1898, short for sweet dreams to you, etc. Sweet and sour in cooking is from 1723 and not originally of oriental food.



c.1300, "something sweet to the taste," also "beloved one," from sweet (adj.); the meaning "candy drop" is 1851 (earlier sweetie, 1721).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with sweets


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.