\ ˈsau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce sour (audio) \

Definition of sour

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : being, inducing, or marked by the one of the five basic taste sensations that is produced chiefly by acids and is characteristic of lemon juice sour pickles — compare bitter entry 1 sense 1a, salty entry 1 sense 1b, sweet entry 1 sense 1, umami entry 2
2a(1) : having the acid taste or smell of or as if of fermentation : turned sour milk
(2) : of or relating to fermentation
b : smelling or tasting of decay : rancid, rotten sour breath
c(1) : bad, wrong a project gone sour
(2) : hostile, disenchanted went sour on Marxism
b : cross, sullen
c : not up to the usual, expected, or standard quality or pitch
4 : acid in reaction used especially of soil
5 : containing malodorous sulfur compounds used especially of petroleum products



Definition of sour (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : something sour … they assimilated many Anglo-American sweet pickles and began adding more sugar to their sours.— William Woys Weaver
b : the taste sensation produced chiefly by acids — compare bitter entry 2 sense 1b, salty entry 2, sweet entry 3 sense 2, umami entry 1
2 : a cocktail consisting of a liquor (such as whiskey), lemon or lime juice, sugar, and sometimes ice


soured; souring; sours

Definition of sour (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to become sour

transitive verb

: to make sour

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Other Words from sour


sourish \ ˈsau̇(-​ə)r-​ish How to pronounce sour (audio) \ adjective
sourly adverb
sourness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sour

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of sour in a Sentence

Adjective The milk had turned sour. He made a sour face. Verb Her disposition has soured in recent years. Jealousy has soured their relationship. His experiences have soured him. The team's victory was soured by an injury to one of their best players.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The bottle release at the event, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., is for Brunch Club, a berry-compote sour ale, which will be on tap and in bottles ($14). Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 June 2021 Beers produced at Dogfish Head Miami will include Starpucker IPA, brewed with Florida starfruit, and Madam Roselle, a rosy sour wheat ale made with passion fruit, mango and lychee. Ben Crandell,, 12 May 2021 The taste is crunchy, salty, sweet, sour and spicy — due to the lime juice, chili powder, and La Botanera hot sauce that the chips are topped with. Stephanie García,, 4 May 2021 Usually loaded with coconut milk and cream, the hearty soup unifies a host of favorite Thai tastes: sour, salty, spicy and sweet. CNN, 13 Apr. 2021 Iranian kashk is a rich, creamy, sour, sometimes salty, nutritious and deeply flavorful dairy product. Washington Post, 12 Mar. 2021 Spiked with galangal and vinegar, the dish is fiery, slightly sour, and worthy of its name. Jeff Chu, Travel + Leisure, 1 Mar. 2021 While the Brackyard Ale is a local favorite, Brackish Beer’s draft menu is in constant rotation throughout the year, offering visitors a wealth of brews ranging from pecan porter to pineapple sour ale. Jared Ranahan, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2021 Inside the taste buds are taste receptor cells, which respond to sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (savory), and communicate that information to the brain. Lisa Zwirn,, 26 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With a hazy yellow appearance, the pickle sour gave off a distinct pickle aroma, but yielded an entirely mellow sip. Kelly Dearmore, Dallas News, 5 May 2021 Her Southern classic old fashioned ($12) and my Southern sour ($11) both hit the mark, the latter a summery porch pounder of high order. Amy Drew Thompson,, 27 May 2021 What dry vermouth achieves is to lend complexity—midtones—to a sour that otherwise rests on its brightness and vibrancy. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 27 May 2021 The bitcoin price was also impacted by Tesla TSLA -0.3% billionaire Elon Musk appearing to sour on the cryptocurrency, scrapping Tesla's support for bitcoin payment due to environmental concerns. Billy Bambrough, Forbes, 26 May 2021 The program's first release, Limette, a foeder-aged sour with limes and sea salt, will come out Memorial Day weekend. Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 May 2021 That makes sense: If things do sour, at least the business isn’t stuck with unproductive, unprofitable capital projects. Robert Krol, National Review, 13 May 2021 The kimchi sour, for example, does not taste like kimchi in a liquid form. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 Mar. 2021 Being a generous soul, Tucci followed up his initial success with several more videos, including step-by-step instructions for making a classic margarita, a Scotch sour, an old fashioned, and a Christmas-y cosmopolitan. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, 10 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Experts say those restrictions could sour the security relationship with the United States, which provides much of Mexico's intelligence on drug trafficking and money laundering cases. Alexandra Jaffe, Star Tribune, 27 May 2021 Other analysts warn that state budget situations could sour if the stock market dips sharply or economic growth fizzles. New York Times, 25 May 2021 Across the aisle, the broad scope of the climate provisions might sour many Republicans on the plan, despite some bipartisan support for investing in clean energy technologies and manufacturing. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, 31 Mar. 2021 WhiteCloud believes the relationship began to sour due to complaints the FWC received regarding the volunteers requesting that people on the beach turn off their flashlights. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 14 May 2021 There is Fields going after a new job at St. Vincent Hospital when things at Mercy General begin to sour. Justin L. Mack, The Indianapolis Star, 12 May 2021 After all, there is no telling when the stock market will sour. Matt Phillips, New York Times, 28 Apr. 2021 With Biden in White House, Saudi relations are already on unsteady ground, and Saudi Arabia not addressing the higher oil price issue could sour relations even further. Naeem Aslam, Forbes, 5 Mar. 2021 Later, some police reform activists would sour on the mayor — either for not committing to cut the city’s police budget or for not supporting their proposition on the May 1 ballot to strip the police union of its ability to negotiate contracts. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, 18 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sour.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sour


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for sour


Middle English, from Old English sūr; akin to Old High German sūr sour, Lithuanian sūrus salty

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Time Traveler for sour

Time Traveler

The first known use of sour was before the 12th century

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Statistics for sour

Last Updated

22 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for sour



English Language Learners Definition of sour

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having an acid taste that is like the taste of a lemon
: having the unpleasant taste or smell of food that is no longer fresh
: unpleasant or unfriendly



English Language Learners Definition of sour (Entry 2 of 3)

: an alcoholic drink that has a sour taste



English Language Learners Definition of sour (Entry 3 of 3)

of food : to lose freshness and get an unpleasant taste or smell : to become sour
: to become unpleasant or unfriendly
: to make (someone or something) unpleasant or unfriendly


\ ˈsau̇r How to pronounce sour (audio) \
sourer; sourest

Kids Definition of sour

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having an acid or tart taste a sour fruit
2 : having spoiled : not fresh sour milk
3 : suggesting decay a sour smell
4 : not pleasant or friendly a sour look

Other Words from sour

sourly adverb He looked at me sourly enough but said nothing. — Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island


soured; souring

Kids Definition of sour (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to make or become acid or tart in taste (as by spoiling) The milk soured.
2 : to lose or cause to lose interest or enthusiasm He soured on trying new stunts following the mishap.
3 : to harm or damage The misunderstanding soured their friendship.


\ ˈsau̇(ə)r How to pronounce sour (audio) \

Medical Definition of sour

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: causing, characterized by, or being the one of the four basic taste sensations that is produced chiefly by acids — compare bitter, salt entry 2 sense 2, sweet entry 1

Other Words from sour

sourness noun



Medical Definition of sour (Entry 2 of 2)

: the primary taste sensation produced by acid stimuli

More from Merriam-Webster on sour

Nglish: Translation of sour for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sour for Arabic Speakers


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