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See also: Sweeten



From sweet +‎ -en.


  • IPA(key): /ˈswiːtən/, [ˈswiːtn̩], [ˈswiːʔn̩]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːtən
  • Hyphenation: sweet‧en


sweeten (third-person singular simple present sweetens, present participle sweetening, simple past and past participle sweetened)

  1. (transitive) To make sweet to the taste.
    to sweeten tea
  2. (transitive) To make (more) pleasant or to the mind or feelings.
    to sweeten life
    to sweeten friendship
  3. (transitive) To make mild or kind; to soften.
    to sweeten the temper
  4. (transitive) To make less painful or laborious; to relieve.
    to sweeten the cares of life
  5. (transitive) To soften to the eye; to make delicate.
    • 1695, John Dryden, De Arte Graphica:
      Correggio has made his memory immortal by the strength he has given to his figures, and by sweetening his lights and shadows, and melting them into each other.
  6. (transitive) To make pure and salubrious by destroying noxious matter.
    to sweeten rooms or apartments that have been infected
    to sweeten the air
  7. (transitive) To make warm and fertile.
    to dry and sweeten soils
  8. (transitive) To restore to purity; to free from taint.
    to sweeten water, butter, or meat
  9. (transitive) To make more attractive; said of offers in negotiations.
    to sweeten the deal by increasing the price offered
  10. (intransitive) To become sweet.
  11. (music, transitive) To supplement (a composition) with additional instruments, especially strings.
    • 2011, Russell Dean Vines, Composing Digital Music For Dummies, page 326:
      In most popular music the bowed strings usually play long, sustained, sweeping parts, and are sometimes added to a vocal track later in a process known as sweetening.
    • 2014, Mellonee V. Burnim, Portia K. Maultsby, African American Music: An Introduction, page 259:
      Rather than employ strings to “sweeten” the songs, Motown's arrangements used strings as a timbral layer, in conjunction with syncopated horn lines, for a fuller sound; []


  • (to make warm and fertile): sour

Derived terms[edit]