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  • enPR: swĕt, IPA(key): /swɛt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛt

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English swete, swet, swate, swote, from Old English swāt, from Proto-Germanic *swait-, *swaitą, from Proto-Indo-European *swoyd- (to sweat), o-grade of *sweyd- (to sweat). Cognate with West Frisian swit, Dutch zweet, German Schweiß, Danish sved, Swedish svett, Yiddish שוויצן(shvitsn) (English shvitz), Latin sudor, French sueur, Italian sudore, Spanish sudor, Persian خوی(xway, sweat), Sanskrit स्वेद (svéda), Lithuanian sviedri, Tocharian B syā-, Albanian djersë, and Welsh chwys.


sweat (usually uncountable, plural sweats)

  1. Fluid that exits the body through pores in the skin usually due to physical stress and/or high temperature for the purpose of regulating body temperature and removing certain compounds from the circulation.
    Synonym: perspiration
  2. The state of one who sweats; diaphoresis.
    Just thinking about the interview tomorrow puts me into a nervous sweat.
  3. (Britain, slang, military slang, especially WWI) A soldier (especially one who is old or experienced).
  4. (historical) The sweating sickness.
  5. Moisture issuing from any substance.
    • 1707, J[ohn] Mortimer, The Whole Art of Husbandry; or, The Way of Managing and Improving of Land. [], 2nd edition, London: [] J[ohn] H[umphreys] for H[enry] Mortlock [], and J[onathan] Robinson [], published 1708, OCLC 13320837:
      the sweat of hay or grain in a mow or stack
  6. A short run by a racehorse as a form of exercise.
  7. (uncountable) Hard work; toil.
Derived terms[edit]
  • Torres Strait Creole: swet

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English sweten, from Old English swǣtan, from Proto-Germanic *swaitijaną (to sweat). Compare Dutch zweten, German schwitzen, Danish svede. Doublet of shvitz.


sweat (third-person singular simple present sweats, present participle sweating, simple past and past participle sweated or sweat)

  1. (intransitive) To emit sweat.
    Synonym: perspire
  2. (transitive) To cause to excrete moisture through skin.
    1. To cause to perspire.
      His physicians attempted to sweat him by most powerful sudorifics.
  3. (intransitive, informal) To work hard.
    Synonyms: slave, slog
    I've been sweating over my essay all day.
  4. (transitive, informal) To extract money, labour, etc. from, by exaction or oppression.
    to sweat a spendthrift
    to sweat labourers
  5. (intransitive, informal) To worry.
    Synonyms: fret, worry
  6. (transitive, colloquial) To worry about (something). [from 20th c.]
    • 2010, Brooks Barnes, "Studios battle to save Narnia", The New York Times, 5 Dec 2010:
      There are few matters studio executives sweat more than maintaining their franchises.
  7. (transitive) To emit, in the manner of sweat.
    to sweat blood
  8. (intransitive) To emit moisture.
    The cheese will start sweating if you don't refrigerate it.
  9. (intransitive, plumbing) To solder (a pipe joint) together.
  10. (transitive, slang) To stress out.
    Stop sweatin' me!
    • 1988, “Fuck tha Police”, performed by N.W.A:
      But I'ma smoke 'em now and not next time / Smoke any motherfucker that sweats me
  11. (transitive, intransitive, cooking) To cook slowly at low heat, in shallow oil and without browning, to reduce moisture content.
    • 2002, Judy Rodgers, The Zuni Cafe Cookbook[1]:
      Sweating is a generally a quiet operation; if the food is whispering, or worse, hissing, the moisture is probably evaporating too rapidly
    • 2007, Patty Elsberry, Matt Bolus, Simply Vanilla: Recipes for Everyday Use[2], page 93:
      Sweat the carrots, onion, celery, leeks, and cabbage in the butter until translucent not allowing them to color in any way.
    • 2009, Bill Neal, Bill Neal's Southern Cooking[3], page 11:
      Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and gently sweat the celery for ten minutes, taking care not to brown it
    • 2011, The Bay Area Homegrown Cookbook[4]:
      Sweat the onions and garlic in the oil, stirring occasionally, until they are completely soft (no crunch) but not caramelized.
  12. (transitive, archaic) To remove a portion of (a coin), as by shaking it with others in a bag, so that the friction wears off a small quantity of the metal.
    • 1879, Richard Cobden, On the Probable Fall in the Value of Gold (originally by Michel Chevalier)
      The only use of it [money] which is interdicted is to put it in circulation again after having diminished its weight by sweating, or otherwise, because the quantity of metal contains is no longer consistent with its impression.
  13. (intransitive) To suffer a penalty; to smart for one's misdeeds.
  14. (transitive) To scrape the sweat from (a horse).
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Related terms[edit]




Borrowed from English sweatshirt.



sweat m (plural sweats)

  1. sweatshirt
    Les sweats à capuche sont interdits dans certains lieux publics en Grande-Bretagne.
    Hoodies are prohibited in some places in Great Britain.