1. to suffer, esp. in the context of an interrogation.
|Coxcomb II i: If she speak longer, I shall be a knave, / As rank as ever sweat for’t.|
|Sir Martin Mar-all V i: How I sweat for him! he’s remembering ever since he was born.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 113/1: I should like to make that hound ‘sweat’ a bit, blast him.|
|Letters Home (1944) 29 Oct. 15: I got the worse scare of my life [...] Oh, did I sweat!|
|On the Yard (2002) 25: They made me sweat some, but I finally gets them to break it down to grand theft.|
|Cutter and Bone (2001) 77: And if I wind up sweating another day in the slam, so what, huh?|
|Destination: Morgue! (2004) 37: A store cop detained me for shoplifting. My dad had a heart attack as I sweated custody.‘Where I Get My Weird Shit’ in|
2. to put someone, esp. a prisoner, under pressure.
|Roderick Random (1979) 273: At length it was proposed to Bragwell that we should scour the hundreds, sweat the constable, maul the watch, and then reel soberly to bed.|
|Peregrine Pickle (1964) 214: Pipes [...] attacked him with his cudgel, and sweating him from one end of the street to the other, at last committed him to the guet.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 33: The parrot has been sweated by Detective Tobasco but stolidly maintains that he [...] knows nothing.|
|Benno and Some of the Push 137: Fer months past he’s bin makin’ hisself particularly objectionable to Odgson’s people, runnin’ steeplechases with the hens, [...] sweatin’ the famb’ly cat.‘The Disposal of a Dog’|
|Jackson Dly News (MS) 1 Apr. 7/2: Crook Chatter [...] ‘We were recently “tapping” a crook [...] The third degree or sweating process is “tapping”’.|
|You Can’t Win (2000) 207: I wasn’t taken out of my cell and ‘sweated’ or third-degreed, or beaten up.|
|Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 186: sweat.– [...] to give the third degree.|
|Prison Nurse (1964) 50: The detectives ‘sweated’ me at the station.|
|Popular Detective Jan. [Internet] I got the guy who bumped off Drupe now. We’ll sweat him dry an’ make him tell where he buried the remains.‘Bird Cagey’|
|Amboy Dukes 168: If I leave him here you’ll be sweating him.|
|Criminal (1993) 86: You sweated that kid until he didn’t know his ass from an adding machine.|
|World’s Toughest Prison 820: sweat – To give the third degree.|
|Skeletons 235: Have him grill hell out of one named Harley. Really sweat him. He gave me a speeding ticket.|
|Central Sl. 50: sweatin’ [...] To hassle. ‘You always be sweatin’ me. Why you be sweatin’ me?’.|
|‘The Tower’ [lyrics] A fool tried to sweat me, actin’ like he was hard.|
|Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] quit sweatin’ me Definition: A command of termination. Example: Yo Mr. IRS, I told you to quit sweatin’ me about my income taxes!|
|Portable Promised Land (ms.) 158: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Catchin feelins. Sweatin me. Feelin you. Funny actin.|
|Wire ser. 4 ep. 12 [TV script] I sweated him, you know.He wasn’t tryin’ to scheme me.‘That’s Got His Own’|
|Scrublands [ebook] Lucie wanted to throw him in the can and sweat him.|
3. to intimidate; thus sweating n.
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Sweating was also a diversion practised by the bloods of the last century, who styled themselves Mohocks: these gentlemen lay in wait to surprise some person late in the night, when surrounding him, they with their swords pricked him in the posteriors, which obliged him to be constantly turning round; this they continued till they thought him sufficiently sweated.|
|Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 17 Oct. 3/2: The sweating you got afore the Jockey Club.|
4. to work very hard; also reflexive; thus sweating den n., a synon. for sweat-shop.
|[||Emperour of the East IV i: Scorne a poore Countryman! we zweat at the Plough].|
|Californian 18 Mar. n.p.: Dick Stoker [...] sweated over her [i.e. a demanding book], and cussed over her.|
|Reynold’s Newspaper 29 July n.p.: [cartoon caption] Sweating Den.|
|Truth (Sydney) 29 July 3/1: The objects of the party are to trade in goods made by the sweating Jews of [...] Petticoat Lane.|
|No. 5 John Street 26: Maurice sweats over parchments in the Temple.|
|People of the Abyss 47: A man of twenty-eight who eked out a precarious existence in a sweating den. [Ibid.] 48: The seventh room [...] was the den in which five men ‘sweated.’ It was seven feet wide by eight long, and the table at which the work was performed took up the major portion of the space.|
|Harrovians 34: A game [...] in which I get whopped for slacking when I’ve simply sweated.|
|Mint (1955) 45: You’re silly cunts, you rookies, to sweat yourselves.|
|Public School Slang 172: sweat (Cheltenham, 1916+, 1928+ ): the original of swot, widely used of any hard work (e,g. ‘an awful sweat’) [...] One who works too hard is a sweat-gut or gutter (cf the phrase to sweat one’s guts out): the day-room, where boys work, is the sweat-room.|
|Battlers 164: If the woman was sweating the Stray, it was her look-out.|
|Golden Spike 17: We don’t have to sweat for it any more.|
|‘Rain’ in Malan (1994) 15: Solly sweating to deal with the after-cinema rush.|
|(con. 1951) Eng. Madam 67: Your be in your glory if you thought I’d be swetting at work thats one thing I shal’nt do.|
|Buppies, B-Boys, Baps and Bohos (1994) 60: A football hero sweating his SAT score.‘CPT Time’ in|
|Indep. Rev. 2 Dec. 8: Sweating my way through Dante in the original.|
5. to make someone (occas. something) work hard; thus sweated adj., overworked.
|Contemp. Rev. lvi 880: It is possible that several of the minor industries of the East End are absolutely dependent upon the fact that a low type of sweated and overworked labour is employed at starvation wages [F&H].|
|East London Obs. 30 June 3: The evils of the sweating system [...] Miss Annie Besant made a [...] speech condemnatory of sweating.|
|Sporting Times 29 Mar. 1/1: The same goods tendered for at a lower price by a firm that ‘sweats’ its men they will not accept.|
|Texas Stories (1995) 53: Put th’ sons-o’-bitches t’ work — that’s the idee — sweat th’ bastards.‘If You Must Use Profanity’ in|
|letter 19 Apr. in Leader (2000) 715: Writers, being important people who make a unique contribution to society, must not be sweated.|
|? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] It wasn’t unusual for dudes locked up to sweat the phone, whether it be for money, their lawyer or a girl.|
6. to travel with difficulty.
|Psmith in the City (1993) 91: You don’t mean to say you’re going to sweat out to Clapham again?|
7. (orig. US, also sweat on) to worry about, to take trouble over; thus don’t sweat it
|implied in sweat on the top line|
|Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 186: sweat.–To worry.|
|High Window 148: Breeze poked a cigar at me. ‘Watch him sweat,’ he said.|
|Oh Boy! No. 19 2: Anyway, no use sweating on it.|
|Golden Betty 10: He had innocently paid six months rent in advance, so he didn’t have to sweat a roof for awhile.|
|[title] Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.|
|Nam (1982) 79: Don’t sweat the small stuff.|
|G’DAY 108: Darlene is sweating on her old man behaving himself but Blind Freddie can see what's going to happen.|
|Guardian 3 July 22: Don’t sweat the millenium. It’s going to be a major flop.|
|You Got Nothing Coming 138: ‘I better roll it up before Strunk goes nuts.’ ‘Don’t sweat that fat-ass punk!’.|
|Alphaville (2011) 45: The Flynn boys didn’t sweat it. They figured if their father‘s juice wouldn’t get them out of the jam, a word or two from their father’s drinking buddy [...] would.|
8. to wait for.
|N&Q 12 Ser. IX 348: Sweating. In a state of suspension. If a soldier expected furlough very shortly he would describe himself as ‘sweating on leave’.|
|(con. 1920s) South of Heaven (1994) 13: ‘You sweatin’ the line, Tommy?’ I said, sure, I was waiting for the line to open.|
9. (US black) to proposition.
|‘Housewife’ [lyrics] She sweatin me, won’t let me, broad turned fraud / Now she on this dick huh, got her turnin tricks huh.|
|Bodega Dreams 28: ‘It’s like the fat girl no one wanted until someone took a chance on the bitch and put her on a diet, and now everybody’s sweatin’ her’.|
10. (US black) to get involved in someone’s business, to harass.
|Dict. of Today’s Words 172: Sweat – to bother (someone); hassle.et al.|
|Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] sweat Definition: 1. to get involved in someones business. [...] Example: Why you sweatin’ me ‘G’.|
11. (US black) to be obsessed with someone to the extent of sweating in their presence; to like something very much.
|Campus Sl. Dec.|
|‘Wanksta’ [lyrics] Now shorty think Ima sweat her, sipping on a armareda / I’m hit once than dead her, I know I can do betta / She look good but I know she after my chedda.|
12. (US prison) to cause trouble for, to annoy.
|Street Talk 2 51: Don’t sweat me!|
|(con. 1998–2000) You Got Nothing Coming 22: I was ju-just getting it when the con started sweating me, giving me shit, slow-playing.|
|Pain Killers 18: But you didn’t really have to sweat me, you have it on video, right?|
13. to enthuse over (to an excessive extent), to flirt eagerly.
|Campus Sl. Oct. 5: sweat – make an effort to attract a person of the opposite sex: ‘Jack was sweating Jill last night at the club’.|
|Random Family 226: I can’t wait to be taking her to my mother’s block, everybody be sweating her.|
|UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 15: SWEAT — be sexually attracted to: X: ‘That girl keeps looking at you.’ Y: ‘She’s sweating’.(ed.)|
SE in slang uses
the waiting room outside a magistrate’s court.
|Mornings in Bow St. 68: And there they were [...] crammed among the tag-rag and bobtail in the common waiting-room, or sweating-room, as it is sometimes more properly called.|
|More Mornings in Bow St. vii: [T]hy arrival at the police sweating-room, where thou shalt be stowed away, stewing amongst the ‘vermin of the stews,’ until his worship hath taken his seat on the bench.|
(orig. US black) don’t worry.
|Felony Tank (1962) 36: He reached over and squeezed Armando’s arm. ‘Don’t sweat it.’.|
|Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 12: don’t sweat it – Don’t worry about it; you’re making a big deal over something which isn’t worth the energy.|
|Executioner (1973) 98: We’ll have this Bolan on ice. Don’t sweat it.|
|(con. 1950s) Grease I iv: Sandy, don’t sweat it.|
|No Beast So Fierce 28: ‘Don’t hang me up. You know how fuckin’ undependable you are.’ ‘Don’t sweat it.’.|
|Killing Time 222: Don’t sweat it Carl Vaughan . . . it’s just the Entire Mentality.|
|Campus Sl. Oct. 3: Everything’s chilly; don’t sweat it.|
|Random Family 154: As long as it’s mine [...] I’ll still love it the same. So don’t sweat it alright.|
|Rosa Marie’s Baby (2013) [ebook] ‘Don’t sweat it, pal’.|
to stop worrying or interfering, to just let things turn out as they will.
|Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) 2 June 1/4: We have here a corporation [...] whose directory ought to let a good many things ‘sweat’.|
|Le Roy Reporter (KS) 8 July 5/4: The ‘let them sweat’ policy has lost many a great opportunity to individuals and communities.|
|‘Trouble Man’ [lyrics] There’s only 3 things for sure: / Taxes, death and trouble / This I know, baby, baby / This I know, baby, baby / Hey now, let it sweat, baby.|
1. a lazy person, an idler, one whose job requires little effort [20C+ use is US; note naut. jargon do a never, to shirk, to idle].
|Great World of London I 44: Cries of [...] ‘Flare up, my never-sweats,’ and a variety of other street sayings.|
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor I 419/1: [as cit. 1856].|
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Oct. 13/1: [T]he chaser of the elusive reef or lode or gutter is an optimist of the first button. If he wasn’t he would probably make back to the cities by the first balloon and become one of the great army of never-sweats.|
|‘The Open Book’ in Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 112: Take the ‘never sweat’ from Nevada, / he’s known as the ‘Son of the Sage’.|
2. (Aus.) a loafer, one who makes no effort; thus as nickname, a council worker.
|Register (Adelaide) 25 Jan. 5/3: At my first visit to Pompoota three men were pointed out to me as a ‘never sweat’ gang.|
|Westralian Worker (Perth, WA) 21 July 2/4: But we must lie about the Australian wage-earner. He must be told he is a loafer and a never-sweat, lest he ask something like his value.|
|Murrumbidgee Irrigator (Leeton, NSW) 28 Sept. 2/3: I have no objection to meet any man in the open, even a ‘Never Sweat’, but I prefer not to engage with a man who shoots from behind a hedge, which is the method af an anonymous writer.|
|More Aus. Nicknames 72: Never sweat, a council worker.|
(US) to work hard.
|Executioner (1973) 115: Gettin’ lazy. Been about twelve hours since I sweated bird turds.|
1. to work very hard.
|(con. 1970) Dazzling Dark (1996) I iii: I’m up there sweating bricks in the mini-market all day to make enough money for my keep.Danti-Dan in McGuinness|
2. see shit a brick v.
1. to worry excessively; to be terrified.
|Carlito’s Way 99: Reggie was sweating bullets.|
|Go-Boy! 226: By 11.28 a.m. we were sweating bullets under our masks.|
|Way Past Cool 98: The new kid they’d been supposed to meet at eight would probably be sweating bullets: thinking he’d blown it somehow.|
|Tattoo of a Naked Lady 38: I was sweating bullets. If Peanut caught me, my ass was grass.|
|Lives Laid Away [ebook] Tomás even sang at his daughter’s quinceañera and her wedding. Both times had him sweating bullets.|
2. to work very hard.
|7 Habits of Highly Effective Families 283: I returned to the kitchen table to sweat bullets over home-work.|
|Battlestar Galactica 260: He, Baltar, didn’t have to sweat bullets trying to figure out how to slip the information out.|
to perspire very heavily.
|Submariners II ii: I’m sweating neaters.|
|DSUE (8th edn) 1183/2: [...] since mid-C.20.|
see under duds n.1
to need, to be deprived of.
|(con. 1920s) South of Heaven (1994) 109: Are you sweating for anything?|
1. (orig. US) to endure hardships and difficulties in the hope of achieving solutions or successes in the end; also as n.
|Babbitt (1974) 107: It might be a good thing if I kind of got off by myself and sweat it out of me.|
|Here Is Your War (1945) 101: They ‘sweat out’ a mission, or they ‘sweat out’ the weather, or they ‘sweat out’ a promotion. It meant that they waited, or they fought, or did anything hard that took some time.|
|Enemy Coast Ahead (1955) 224: My wife had been sweating it out in a factory near London for a long time without any rest.|
|Your Own Beloved Sons 52: So this is a punishment, is it? [...] How long you gonna sweat it out here?|
|Gun in My Hand 172: The shells struck the house again and again and we sat on the floor [...] and sweated it out.|
|Strike Command 11: ‘Want to turn and run? [...] Or play a little guts-ball and try for the tankers?’ K. P. Green voted for gutsball. And now the sweatout began.|
|Proud Highway (1997) 437: I am sweating it out.letter 31 Jan. in|
|Carny Kill (1993) 122: ‘You’re a damn fool if you try to use it.’ ‘Gabby—let me sweat it, will you?’.|
|Choirboys (1976) 112: It was a calculated risk and Spermwhale sweated it out each time.|
|Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 173: The lads would have to sweat it out for a while. And trust Dennis.|
|Green River Rising 133: He ain’t sweatin’ it on the block like we are.|
|Candy 33: We sweated it out because we thought we had each other and the future.|
2. (US drugs) to withdraw from narcotic addiction.
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 231: sweat it out To take the drug cure.|
|Narcotics Lingo and Lore 176: Sweat it out – To take the drug cure consisting of abrupt, forced abstinence.|
3. to worry (about).
|Sel. Letters (1981) 582: She has been sweating both Bumby and me out. She wanted to know about us.letter 9 Apr. in Baker|
|On the Waterfront (1964) 212: Terry had been sweating out whether or not to smarten him.|
|CUSS 207: Sweat it out Tense at the last minute.et al.|
|Tales of the City (1984) 72: Screw it! Beauchamp could sweat out the bills for once.|
|Get Shorty [film script] The guy’s nervous, in no shape to just sit there, sweat it out. So he gets off the plane .|
|Turning Angel 122: He’s sweating it over there in jail, isn’t he?|
4. to work out, to elucidate.
|From Here to Eternity (1998) 159: I’ll sweat them out for you, you’ll win [...] I cant never win myself, but I can sweat winners out for everybody else.|
various phr. based on neg. stereotypes, used to denote one who is performing extremely hard work, exhibiting extremes of emotion (e.g. fear, joy), etc.
|Buffalo Courier (NY) 30 Apr. 4/4: Each of us does accordin to his lights, and some of us have to sweat like a nigger under oath.|
|McCune Times (KS) 24 Feb. 2/2: he knew it would be a race or get left, and such running [...] brought him there on time, but he sweat like a ‘nigger at ’lection’.|
|Meadville Sat. Night (PA) 22 Apr. 3/2: Why is it that one man never sweats, while the man next to him [...] sweats like a nigger in a cotton field?|
|Dly Commercial Herald (Vicksburg, MS) 23 May 4/4: ‘Of course I’m going for pleasure! It’s fun to sweat like a nigger and yell like madman’.|
|1903Haviland Onlooker (KS) 5 Dec. 5/3: ‘Ye even perspires — ’ ‘Sweat you mean — yes [...] sweat like a nigger praying’.|
|Garnett Jrnl (KS) 24 Feb. 3/1: It’s making him sweat like a nigger in a soap factory to keep starvation away from his door.|
|Yellow-Jacket (Moravian Falls, NC) 19 Mar. 2/2: It’s making Wilson sweat like a nigger in a soap factory.|
|Whichita Beacon (KS) 26 Feb. 15/1: It must demand some energy to tell Irish jokes in blackface, for Mr McCoy sweat ‘like a nigger at a ’lection’.|
|Gypsum Advocate (KS) 7 Mar. 5/5: You’ve got to sweat like a nigger in a cotton patch.|
|Pound/Williams Correspondence (1996) 36: Precisely I am an ‘enemy of American verse’. [...] I sweated like a nigger to break up the clutch of old shit-wall, Harper’s, etc.in Witemeyer|
|AS XIV:4 265: Expressions relating to work are [...] ‘working like a nigger,’ ‘working like a dog,’ ‘working like a Turk,’ ‘sweating like a nigger at election’.‘Folk “Sayings” From Indiana’ in|
|Kimmundy Exp. (IL) 15 Sept. 2/1: I sweat like a nigger at an election.|
|Tyrone Dly Herald (PA) 31 Jan. 1/5: When Sullenberger saw the girls sweating, attorneys said she told the students her husband claims her sweats ‘like a nigger at a KKK rally’.|
1. (US) to be near to attaining, to wait for.
|Digger Dialects 49: sweat on (vb.) — Await impatiently.|
|(con. WWI) Gloss. Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: sweat on. Eagerly awaiting.|
|They Drive by Night 273: I was sweating on getting married this Whitsun but now I reckon it’s just about mucked up.|
|None But the Lonely Heart 319: I’ll be sweating on you coming out of this hole, Ma.|
|Look Long Upon a Monkey 28: The screws are sweating on you starting something and they’ve got it all weighed up.|
|Cockade (1965) I i: To be strictly factual there’s only one thing I’m sweating on.‘Spare’ in|
2. (US campus) to focus on, to stare at.
|Campus Sl. Apr. 8: sweat – focus attention and energy on something; stare at: ‘I wish that guy over there would quit sweating me’.|
see sense 7 above.
to work extremely hard.
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 533: I’m not going to sweat my can off working and saving just to end up like that.Judgement Day in|
|Ten Story Gang Aug. [Internet] Frenchy [...] was just sweating his dirty hide to unload the big gossip to the boss.‘Clip-Joint Chisellers’ in|
|One Way Ticket 75: He sweats his arse off for you.|
|Really the Blues 321: The thought of marching around all afternoon while they sweated their asses off.|
|From Here to Eternity (1998) 823: The Company was out in the field sweating their butts off.|
|in Sweet Daddy 23: Everything the guy sweats his ass off to get.|
|Digger’s Game (1981) 31: Sweat their balls off twenty years.|
|Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 9: After your considerable dough / which your dad’s sweated his balls off for.|
|Birthday 7: You’ll just have to keep sweating your bollocks off writing them television scripts to pay the maintenance.|
|Snitch Jacket 69: Who wanted to sweat their balls off for 30 years.|
see under gut n.
see work one’s tail off under work v.
(Aus.) to be within a touch of obtaining what one desires.
|Over the Top 148: In an imploring voice you call out, ‘Come on, Watkins, chum, I’m sweating on ‘Kelly’s Eye.’.|
|N&Q 12 Ser. IX 348: Sweating On The Top Line. Anxious.|
|(con. WWI) Soldier and Sailor Words 274: Sweating On The Top Line: To be in eager anticipation.|
|(con. 1914–18) Songs and Sl. of the British Soldier.|
|(con. WWII) Soldier Erect 196: I didn’t mean to knock your mate – I was sweating on the top line.|
(US) to extract information from someone, usu. by intimidation.
|Tramp-Royal on the Toby 291: The kid was wise; wise to the whole racket – see? But you coulda sweated it outa him. I knowed that.|
(US black) to harass, to bother another person.
|Central Sl. 51: sweatin my style To constantly bother, annoy or pick-on another person. ‘Ever time I came by, nigger be sweatin’ my style, I can’t ‘G’ for dat.’.|
(US prison) to fantasize about escape.
|Prison Sl. 109: Inmates who contemplate or aspire to escape are referred to as sweatin’ the fence.|
to learn, to commit to memory.
|Psmith in the City (1993) 64: You had better sit down and sweat up some of the details.|