also sweat-shop, 1892, from sweat (v.) + shop (n.). The verb sweat is attested from 1879 in the sense "employ (someone) in hard work for low wages," and compare sweater "one who exacts wages at very low prices" (1846).
Old English swætan "perspire," also "work hard," from Proto-Germanic *swaitjan "to sweat," from the source of sweat (n.). Compare Frisian swette, Dutch zweeten, Danish svede, German schwitzen. Meaning "to be worried, vexed" is recorded from c. 1400. Transitive sense is from late 14c. Related: Sweated; sweating. Sweating sickness was a sudden, often-fatal fever, accompanied by intense sweating, that struck England 1485 and returned periodically through mid-16c., described in the original citation (a chronicle from 1502) as "a grete deth and hasty."
c. 1300, "booth or shed for trade or work," perhaps from Old English scoppa, a rare word of uncertain meaning, apparently related to scypen "cowshed," from Proto-Germanic *skoppan "small additional structure" (source also of Old High German scopf "building without walls, porch," German dialectal Scopf "porch, cart-shed, barn," German Schuppen "a shed"), from root *skupp-. Or the Middle English word was acquired from Old French eschoppe "booth, stall" (Modern French échoppe), which is a Germanic loan-word from the same root.
Meaning "building or room set aside for sale of merchandise" is from mid-14c. Meaning "schoolroom equipped for teaching vocational arts" is from 1914, American English. Sense of "matters pertaining to one's trade" is from 1814 (as in talk shop (v.), 1860).
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Definitions of sweatshop
factory where workers do piecework for poor pay and are prevented from forming unions; common in the clothing industry;