Middle English Dictionary Entry

swẹ̄t(e adj.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. sote adj.
1.
(a) Sweet to the taste, having the quality of sweetness; sweetened; also fig. and in fig. context; (b) ~ almaunde, an almond used as food, as opposed to the bitter almond used medicinally; ~ appel-tre, ~ tre, a tree bearing sweet apples; ~ blaunk, cook. a dish made with chicken and almond milk; ~ bred, unleavened bread; ~ cake (mete, sweet cake; ~ mete [OE swēt-mete], ~ morsel, a delicacy; also fig.; ~ milk of almaundes, a liquor obtained by distilling ground sweet almonds; ~ paste, unleavened dough; ~ tirour, hawk. a sweet morsel fed to a hawk; ~ toth, a fondness for delicacies, a sweet tooth; honi ~, q.v.; (c) of water: fresh, as opposed to salt, potable; also in fig. context; of milk or cream: unsoured, fresh; of a well: containing fresh or potable water; (d) of wine, liquor: sweeter than some of its kind; not dry, acerbic, or astringent; also, sweetened; of olive oil: pressed from ripe olives, comparatively sweet or mild in flavor; ~ barli wort, ?comparatively sweet or mild-flavored unfermented ale; ~ sour, sweet and sour, sour-sweet; (e) of the flesh of birds, fish, etc., or of food in general: delicious, tasty; also, mild or delicate in flavor; (f) in fig. comparisons; (g) of the quality of a humor: not bitter or sour; of sputum: not having a bad taste; ~ fleume, phlegm mixed with blood; (h) of taste: sweet, as opposed to bitter, sour, or salt; ~ savour [see also savour n. 1a., 1b.(b)]; (i) in proverbs.
2.
(a) Sweet-smelling, fragrant, aromatic; also in fig. comparisons and contexts; of a corpse: uncorrupted, not putrid; ~ beste, beste of the ~ fute, an animal having a fragrant spoor; ~ brethed, having sweet breath; ~ comin, ?anise (Pimpinella anisum); ?cumin (Cummin cyminum); the ~ sesoun, spring; (b) ~ odour (savour, smel, stench), a fragrant odor; also fig.; also, one of the two extreme or 'outmost' odors [quots. a1398 & a1500(c1477)].
3.
Pleasing to the ear, pleasant-sounding; also fig. of the lips; melodious, harmonious; of the sound of a harp: dulcet, sweet-sounding; fig. of the tongue: eloquent.
4.
(a) Agreeable, delightful, pleasing; pleasurable; also iron. [quot. c1395 CT.Mch.]; also, spiritually pleasing or satisfying; of tears: joyous; also impers., in phrases with inf.: hit is ~, it is pleasant (to do sth.), it is good (to do sth.); me were sweter, I would rather (do sth.); (b) of words, discourse, narrative, etc.: pleasant; persuasive; also, beguiling; of doctrine, God's word: fair, true; ~ seminge, appearing to be pleasant, beguiling; honi ~ wordes [see honi-swete adj.]; (c) of an occasion: auspicious, propitious; (d) of weather: pleasant, favorable; (e) of sleep: restful, sound; of dreams: untroubled.
5.
(a) Held in affection, dear, beloved; as noun: a beloved one; also, as epithet: the ~; ~ and sote; ~ herte, herte ~, sweetheart, beloved; your ~ herte of stele, your dear heart of steel; (b) in direct address: darling, beloved; also, as noun: dear one, beloved one; -- also coll. [quot. c1400(a1349)]; also, in polite address: sire ~, dear sir, good sir; ~ herte; (c) physically attractive, handsome, fair, lovely; of the flesh: unblemished, sound; also, as noun: a fair one; also, as epithet: the ~; (d) courteous, polite; of gentle disposition, mild; smooth in manner, amiable; ~ studie, amiable demeanor.
6.
(a) Of God, Christ, Mary, a saint, etc.: blessed, holy; gracious; of Christ's flesh or blood, the Virgin's body, etc.: precious, sacred; of the cross, Christ's birth: holy, divine: also, as noun, with ref. to Christ, Mary, the Antichrist: blessed one; -- also in direct address; sotest and swetest; (b) of divine love, grace, Christ's mercy, etc.: spiritually refreshing; merciful; (c) in oaths and asseverations.
7.
(a) Precious, valuable; (b) well-constructed; beautiful, lovely; ?also, error for whit adj. [quot. c1350]; of the harmony or accord of parts: fine; of laws: excellent; (c) of soil: fertile.
8.
In allegorical names [occurrences with gerunds might be construed as swet(e adv.].
9.
(a) In surnames; (b) in place names [see Smith PNElem.2.172].