What Does Blood, Sweat, and Tears Mean?

Blood, Sweat, and Tears Meaning

Definition: Requiring exhaustive effort.

This phrase is used to describe the amount of effort put into something. If someone has given all of his strength and abilities to a task, one might say that he has given his blood, sweat, and tears to the task.

This phrase is another way of saying that someone has tried his or her best or gone above what was expected. They have tried so hard at what they have been working on that it is as if their whole body has been thrown into the task.

Origin of Blood, Sweat, and Tears

the expression blood sweat and tearsWinston Churchill, the prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II, first uttered the phrase that turned into the popular “blood, sweat, and tears” during a speech in 1940.

His speech included the line,

  • I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.

Many scholars say that the phrase dates back to before Churchill’s time, though. Various translations of the Bible mention Jesus “bathed in his own blood, sweat, and tears” or praying while his sweat and blood drip down.

While the phrase has been around in various forms for hundreds of years, it was Churchill who popularized its use in common speech.

Examples of Blood, Sweat, and Tears

phrase meaning blood sweat and tearsA coach might use the phrase before a big game, telling his team,

  • Leave your blood, sweat, and tears out on the field tonight!”

The coach uses this phrase as a way of telling the team to give its best effort in the game. Such a speech is often given to motivate people.

People may also describe exhaustive efforts as requiring blood, sweat, and tears. A mechanic who worked for weeks on a car may say,

  • I put my blood, sweat, and tears into that car.

The mechanic uses this phrase to illustrate how much work went into finishing it.

More Examples

  • When he opened his own business he knew the blood, sweat and tears that had to be done to make the business successful. He listened to his customers. He made sure of the quality, service and personal touches. –Chicago Tribune
  • The only thing harder than being an entrepreneur is being a female entrepreneur. Despite all the blood, sweat and tears that founders pour into their start-ups,statistics indicate that female entrepreneurs still start their companies with 50% less capital than their male counterparts. –LA Times


Putting in your blood, sweat, and tears to a task means you are trying your best to accomplish it.