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See also: Sweater


A man’s sweater.


From Middle English swetere, equivalent to sweat +‎ -er.



sweater (plural sweaters)

  1. A knitted jacket or jersey, usually of thick wool, worn by athletes before or after exercise.
    Synonym: sweatshirt
  2. (US) A similar garment worn for warmth.
    Synonyms: jumper, pullover, jersey, cardigan, wooly
    • 1997, “Autumn Sweater”, in I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, performed by Yo La Tengo:
      We could slip away / Wouldn't that be better? / Me with nothing to say / And you in your autumn sweater
  3. One who sweats (produces sweat).
    Synonym: perspirer
    • 2007, John T. James, A Sea of Broken Hearts: Patient Rights in a Dangerous Profit-Driven Health Care System, →ISBN, page 29:
      The cardiologist who administered Alex's exercise stress test on August 21 observed during that test that Alex was a profuse sweater.
  4. One who or that which causes to sweat.
    • 1906, Chesterton, Charles Dickens, chapter 3:
      We learn of the cruelty of some school or child-factory from journalists; we learn it from inspectors, we learn it from doctors, we learn it even from shame-stricken schoolmasters and repentant sweaters; but we never learn it from the children; we never learn it from the victims.
  5. A diaphoretic remedy.
  6. (historical) An exploitative middleman who subcontracted piece work in the tailoring trade.
    Synonym: exploiter
    Coordinate term: sweatee
    • 1894, New York (State) Bureau of Mediation and Arbitration, Annual Report (volumes 7-8, page 158)
      If the piecework system had not existed there never would have been any sweatees. The men who are sweaters, I am sorry to say, are men who formerly belonged to our union.
  7. (archaic) One who sweats coins, i.e. removes small portions by shaking them.
  8. (UK, obsolete) A London street ruffian in Queen Anne's time who prodded passers-by with his sword-point.
    • William Lecky, quoted in 1965, Gilbert Geis, Juvenile Gangs (page 6)
      Among them were the "sweaters" who formed a circle round their prisoner and pricked him with their swords until he sank exhausted to the ground, []

Derived terms[edit]




sweater (third-person singular simple present sweaters, present participle sweatering, simple past and past participle sweatered)

  1. (transitive) To dress in a sweater.

Further reading[edit]