Commonly referred to as "Flop sweat", this is when a character will break out into an excessive sweat when either nervous or scared. Can be associated with a character who is a Nervous Wreck or a Butt-Monkey. May sometimes be accompanied with a Loud Gulp, or as part of an Oh, Crap! moment.
Truth in Television, especially for people with anxiety disorders.
Might be caused by Perp Sweating.
Contrast: Sweat Drop
See also: Briffits and Squeans (where sweat is referred to as "Plewds")
- In Sakura Gari, Masataka breaks out in a nervous sweat when he is forced to have lunch with his rapist Bastard Boyfriend boss and the guy's yandere younger sister.
- Full Metal Panic!:
- On his first day in a normal Japanese high school, someone asks Sōsuke who his favorite musician is. Since he's never had any interest in such things, he stands there silently sweating trying to come up with an answer.
- When Kaname first meets Tessa, who is coming out of Sōsuke's shower, Sōsuke stands between the two of them with sweat literally raining off him.
- Happens to Jon in the December 2011◊ Garfield strip (pictured above).
- In a 1994 Dilbert strip, Dilbert notices that the girl he just met, Liz, isn't wearing a ring. She tells him that she has a ring, but it's so big she needs to hire a team of eunuchs to carry it around. His response, visibly and audibly, is "Flop sweat time".
- On The Simpsons Movie, Krusty is seen dumping a whole cistern tank of flop sweat into Lake Springfield.
- The Princess and the Frog - Charlotte La Bouff, the titular princess's best friend, starts "sweatin' like a sinner in church" when she gets nervous and/or anxious about something (such as when it seemed like Prince Naveen wasn't going to show up to the party she and her dad were throwing at their estate).
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country during the climax when a group of conspirators are going to kill the Federation president, one of them, Admiral Cartright, is shown with sweat soaking his face.
- In Star Trek (2009), Kirk gets what Bones refers to as a "flop sweat," but not because of nerves—it's because he's experiencing the side effects of Melvaran mud flea vaccine.
- In Total Recall (1990), when Rekall's President Dr. Edgemar meets Quaid to convince him that he is caught in his memories and should take a pill as a symbol of his desire to break out of it, Quaid puts the pill in his mouth and pretends to swallow it while watching Dr. Edgemar's reaction. When he sees a drop of sweat running down the doctor's face, he knows it's a trap and kills him. Or does he?
- Airplane! plays this for laughs during the landing by having Striker's forehead gushing sweat.
- In American Psycho, Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) does this a lot when under pressure or when coming close to getting caught in a lie. According to Word of God, Bale was so talented an actor that when doing repeated takes of the famous business card scene, he was capable of sweating on cue.
- Invoked by Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop II when he's pretending to deliver "sound seeking projectiles" to try to bluff his way into a gun club run by the Big Bad. He splashes water on his face making it look like he's sweating buckets.
- Loaded Weapon 1: When determining how long the detectives will have to solve the case via the chance wheel, repeated cuts to Da Chief show him sweating more and more profusely.
- In Broadcast News, the first time Albert Brooks' character attempts to work in front of the camera, he breaks into sweat so bad it soaks through his suit coat in minutes.
- The Barefoot Contessa: Oscar, the pathetic Professional Butt-Kisser Hollywood publicist. When Oscar gives Maria the hard sell re: signing a contract with Kirk, Maria is repulsed, describing Oscar to Harry as "the man with sweat on his face." Later Oscar has to wipe the flop sweat off of his face when he quits his job with Kirk.
- Svend from the The Green Butchers has a habit of doing this whenever he is nervous and/or agitated, and seeing how he is at his core an incredibly neurotic person, it is quite often, which has earned him the ill-flattering nickname "Svend Sweat" by his Mean Boss, Holger.
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy opens with British spy Jim Prideaux meeting a Hungarian general in a cafe. But when the waiter serves them coffee, he's sweating so much that it drips on the table. Jim then looks around and sees a number of people watching him, then quickly looking away when they see him looking in their direction. Realising he's walked into a trap, Jim suddenly gets to his feet and walks away, only for the waiter to rush out and shoot Jim in a panic much to the fury of the other secret policemen.
- Man of Iron: Winkel the sad alcoholic failure is often shown to be very sweaty, especially when he's talking to his Communist bosses.
- One episode of Lois & Clark had them talking to the accomplice of the episode's bad guy. Throughout it, he's very clearly nervous, and when Lois asks if he's sweating, he says yes, then tries to brush it off by saying he's wearing wool.
- There was a Saturday Night Live skit, with Alex Karras as guest host, where Billy Crystal plays a guy at a soda company who sweats excessively at a board meeting.
- Chuck: In "Chuck Versus the Cougars", an old high-school friend of Sarah's is sweating a lot while they're at dinner, because he's about to hand over government secrets to the Russian mob.
- An episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody has Maddie trying to hold down a date on a hot day and keeping her hair from frizzing up. It turns out that the date has his own problem, in which he, in London's words, "sweats like a donkey in a sauna."
- A sketch on Key & Peele features a wife learning that her husband has been using his computer to watch porn. He starts to flop sweat when she attempts to figure out in a roundabout way what kind of porn he's watching. Then when he says that at least she's thinking of him when they have sex, she immediately beings to flop sweat.
- Vod (Zawe Ashton) unexpectedly falls in love with a handyman in a Series 2 episode of Fresh Meat. She spends most of the episode behaving oddly and bathed in nervous sweat.
- Daredevil (2015): Wilson Fisk realizes that Leland Owlsley is double-crossing him when he notices that despite the cold weather, Owlsley is sweating profusely and his hands are very shaky.
- In the video for "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Amish Paradise", Al is profusely sweating in several profile shots, directly parodying L.V.'s less outrageously visible sweat in similar shots in the original Coolio video.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- Done by Mr. Krabs in the episode "Pickles".
- In the episode "Squirrel Jokes", Spongebob does this when his jokes are falling flat in front of the audience.
- In The Simpsons episode "Weekend at Burnsies", Homer and Mr. Smithers are listening to Mr. Burns rehearse for a meeting. After a joke falls flat:
Smithers: [whispering to Homer] One of us has gotta start laughing. If Mr. Burns gets flop sweat he'll die of dehydration.
[Burns gets a drop of sweat on his forehead and starts to feel giddy]
Burns: Oh, I'm drenched with sweat. [pushes the droplet back into his head]
- In "Dumbbell Indemnity", Moe sweats so much that a person walking behind him trips on his puddle of sweat.
- Done very frequently on Mr. Bogus.
- Goofy does this several times in "How to Play Baseball".
- American Dad! episode "1600 Candles" does this to Stan after Francine gives a story of how she was beaten naked in a shower.
- The Turbo FAST episode "Tur-Bros" has Tito doing this when he's rehearsing his speech for a racing convention, and he ends up soaking most of his shirt. He tries to overcome this by wearing a wetsuit under a white coat, but that just causes the sweat to build up.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Spike is sweating abundantly throughout the episode "Triple Threat", either from his feverish imagination picturing the worse, or from speaking to Thorax and Ember while trying to keep up the mascarade. Don't ask how/if a dragon can sweat at all, that's not the point here.