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Can the word "perspired" be used as a passive verb, e.g., "his body was heavily perspired"?

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I've never heard this verb used that way. I think you could say "his body was very sweaty" instead. –  user16269 Sep 21 '12 at 20:24
    
Passive or not, it strikes me as Too Localised. –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '12 at 21:05
    
OED: perspirate, v. rare. f. L. perspīrāt-, ppl. stem of perspīrāre: see perspire and -ate3. Perh. a back-formation from [perspire] - 1822 New Monthly Mag. VI. 504 The perspirating surface of the leaf. –  FumbleFingers Sep 21 '12 at 22:00
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closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, MετάEd, Daniel, StoneyB, Noah Sep 30 '12 at 4:28

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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It can't be used the way you have it here, but it could be passive.

Perspire can be a transitive verb according to dictionary.com, although I don't think I've ever seen it used that way. When it takes a direct object, it means "to emit through the pores" (e.g., He perspired blood.) I think it's probably so rarely used this way because it's almost always redundant--what else would you perspire but sweat?

This means that if you use it passively, the subject is the sweat, not the sweaty body (e.g., The gross wet spot on the treadmill was perspired by the last person to use it.) I think it's kind of an awkward use, but it doesn't appear to have anything grammatically wrong with it.

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