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I'm a journalist, ex-national papers, now working in what we call "new" media.

"Hansen sweated on Lineker in 1986 but now they just want to talk a good game"
is the headline from a piece in the sports section of today's Guardian. It made me think about this phrase "sweating on", which is generally used as a synonym for "being in a state of uncertainty and apprehension about" as in "City sweat on Weaver's fitness" or, I suppose, "Mourinho sweats on Terry's groin".

It's quite new, I think - at least, I've only noticed it in the last few years. And it is exclusively confined to the sports pages. You never hear "Brown sweats on Blair's endorsement", for example.

It's a phrase that is useful for headline writers, especially on tabloid newspapers where space tends to be highly limited and was certainly coined for that purpose. You never hear anybody saying it, just as you never hear anyone using "rapped" to mean criticised as in "Brown rapped over pensions fiasco".

But like rapped in this context, "sweating on" has moved beyond tabloid headlines and you now see it quite regularly in copy and in broadsheets, where there is no need for brevity in the headline, as in today's Guardian example. How long before we start seeing it in political stories?