Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller crests unabashedly. (source)

We need a word that describes sweating through one’s shirt

‘Cresting’ is that word

Imagine you’re at a baseball game on a warm July afternoon with a buddy. The person sitting in front of you is sweating profusely — to the point where their shirt, now drenched with sweat, has turned a darker color.

You might turn to your friend and say, Hey, look! That guy is really sweating through his shirt!

In the age of eight-second attention spans, shouldn’t there be a way to say “sweating through one’s shirt” more succinctly?

I believe there should.

A new word needs to be created to describe the act of sweating through one’s clothing. I submit that word is cresting, which is defined as follows:

cresting — (noun) — the act of sweating through one’s clothing in such a way that is painfully apparent to others; cresting most commonly occurs on t-shirts, dresses and tops, in the armpit region particularly, but is also seen on hats, pants, and even shoes; crest, crested, cresting.
ex: “It was so hot today — I started cresting right after I stepped outside.”
ex: “Look over there: That dude’s already cresting and it’s only 9:37 a.m.!”

As you can see, cresting makes conversations easier and more useful, particularly in warmer climates.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg crests modestly. (source)

The case for ‘cresting’

So how exactly does a proposed new word formally enter the lexicon?

Successful candidates must meet two criteria:

  1. There needs to be widespread usage. Do many people use the word? Might more and more people use the word as they learn it?
  2. It needs to have staying power. Is it possible to imagine people using the word in five or 10 years? How about 100? Does the word provide more utility or “fill a gap in language”?
Former French Prime Minister Manuel Valls makes the case for cresting. (source)

Let’s address these two points.

How common is the word cresting?

To my knowledge, the glorious word is not yet part of the collective vernacular. This article is an attempt to change that.

I am, however, aware that the word is already in use on both coasts of the United States — which may make adoption a little more likely.

But even when cresting takes off across the country, it won’t become an official word unless folks can imagine their progeny using it 50 or 100 years from now.

Let’s use a vignette to illustrate this second point.

The year is 2077. You’re walking down the boardwalk in Venice Beach on a muggy August evening.

There’s a problem: You’re sweating uncontrollably.

You look down at your shirt only to realize your worst nightmares are true. The sweat has broken through and it appears to be colonizing the entire article of clothing.

You’re cresting — and in a heavily populated area, to boot.

Making matters worse, a group of kids walks toward you as they notice your unenviable predicament.

“Look at that old guy!” they jeer. “He’s cresting! What a loser!”

Carson Daly crest-shamed on live TV. (source)

If we can assume that humans will still sweat and wear porous clothes 100 years from now, we can also assume they will still crest.


Cresting definitely faces an uphill battle.

But it’s a battle that can and will be won.

With your help, we can expand the English language even further — giving each of us another tool we can use to describe a relatively common yet unpleasant experience.

So do your part.

Next time you see one of your friends cresting — or next time you find yourself sweating through your own clothes — it’s time to put the newest word in your vocabulary to use.

You can also start using the word on social media to raise awareness.

Those kids on the Venice Beach boardwalk will thank you in 60 years.

Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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