sour

adjective
\ 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

sour

noun

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

sour

verb
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

Adjective

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for sour

Synonyms: Adjective

acid, acidic, acidulous, sourish, tart, tartish, vinegary

Synonyms: Verb

alien, alienate, disaffect, disgruntle, estrange

Antonyms: Verb

reconcile

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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

Destihl is especially known for its sour beers, with the tart and fruity Flanders Red being one of the original stars of its Wild Sour series. Lori Rackl, chicagotribune.com, "Bicentennial bucket list: 20 essential Illinois drinks," 29 June 2018 Begin to tightly roll a red sour strap into a rosebud, then loosely twist it while continuing to wrap it around the bud to form the petals. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Mini Rosebud Cupcakes," 11 Jan. 2018 Gastroesophageal reflux can cause the uncomfortable sensation known as heartburn, along with issues like a sour taste in your mouth. Korin Miller, SELF, "7 Reasons You Might Wake Up Gasping for Air," 2 Oct. 2018 Specifically, some kind of chevre-like cheese with a much more sour taste. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Find 3,000 Year Old Cheese," 20 Aug. 2018 But a disruption would pinch parts of the market—particularly U.S. Gulf Coast refiners who covet the sour crude Venezuela provides. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Why the Oil Market Is Shrugging at Venezuela," 24 Jan. 2019 The brass encountered a bit of raggedness, the woodwinds a touch of sour intonation, but things got tighter quickly. Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, "BSO shines in colorful program with Alsop, Gerstein," 2 June 2018 The lounge's signature Blue Martini (regularly $13) combines Van Gogh Blue vodka, Bols Blue Curacao, sour and orange juice. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "12 places to celebrate National Martini Day in Phoenix," 19 June 2018 James buckles in public, and a hole opens in his neck or whatever, and out comes his sour message for me and the world. Ben Marcus, The New Yorker, "Stay Down and Take It," 19 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

If the housing market sours, banks could cut their funding—a move that doomed some nonbanks in the last crisis. Christina Rexrode, WSJ, "Retreat of Smaller Lenders Adds to Pressure on Housing," 22 Nov. 2018 Dogfish Head took the top honor for best canned beer with its Seaquench ale, a session sour. Allison Steele, Philly.com, "The winners of Craig LaBan's 2018 Brewvitational," 2 May 2018 If the housing market sours, banks could cut off their funding—which doomed some nonbanks in the last crisis. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, "The New Mortgage Kings: They’re Not Banks," 6 Sep. 2018 Try a sherry cobbler or a New York sour—classics for a reason—or inquire about a favorite. Alex Van Buren, Condé Nast Traveler, "21 Best Bars in New York City," 1 Mar. 2018 With the pickleball courts on their third day of being out of service due to some repairs to the fence, Murphy is on this day, well, more than a little half-sour. Amy S. Rosenberg, Philly.com, "Ocean City and the most cutthroat pickleball game at the Jersey Shore," 11 July 2018 The bar has also experimented with a cauliflower sour, says DORO Restaurant Group partner Scott Miller. Leeanne Griffin, courant.com, "Beyond Bloody Marys: Drinking Your Veggies At Your Favorite Cocktail Bar," 23 Jan. 2018 Which nations will feel the sweetness of joy and which the sour of despair? Jared Young, chicagotribune.com, "Own goals are having a big impact in the 2018 World Cup," 21 June 2018 Guests sample 5 rare sour & funky beers from Rhinegeist cellars, including newest sour ale of dark descent. Rasputin Todd, Cincinnati.com, "Things to do in Cincinnati this week: June 18-24," 18 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But that can be done through trade negotiations, not unilateral tariffs that will sour relations and damage the U.S. and Europe. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Crash on the Autobahn," 22 Feb. 2019 After a long and troubled development process, which included several notorious crashes that soured many people on the program, the Osprey eventually escaped its bad headlines and proved itself to the Pentagon. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "V-22 Osprey: The Story of the Revolutionary Tiltrotor Aircraft," 8 Feb. 2019 Historically, consumers have been willing to give up a certain amount of privacy for convenience, but that bargain has soured in recent years as our every move on the internet is tracked, analyzed, and sometimes resold for profit. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 Germans are often too direct and sometimes too anti-American for me (discussions about American imperialism and German nationalism can sour fast). Adam H. Graham, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Perfect Long Weekend in Bavaria," 17 Sep. 2018 People are now soured on that, at least temporarily. Recode Staff, Recode, "Why ‘Star Wars’ is like a social network, and other insights from Eugene Wei on Recode Media," 13 July 2018 Some analysts caution those targets could change dramatically if the trade outlook sours. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Industrial Stocks Are Leading the Market for the First Time in Years," 15 Feb. 2019 If perception sours on Amazon in Washington and New York, however, there will be enough blame for local officials and Amazon. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Amazon’s HQ2 stunt could come back to haunt it," 14 Nov. 2018 Merkel championed a 2016 agreement with Turkey designed to halt the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe, a deal that has held up even as relations between Ankara and the European Union soured. Geir Moulson, Fox News, "Turkey's Erdogan heads to Germany on bridge-building visit," 27 Sep. 2018

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

Adjective

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

Noun

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

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for sour

Adjective

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

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Learn More about sour

Dictionary Entries near sour

soup to nuts

soup up

soupy

sour

sour ball

sourberry

sourbush

Statistics for sour

Last Updated

26 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sour

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

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More Definitions for sour

sour

adjective

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

sour

noun

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

: an alcoholic drink that has a sour taste

sour

verb

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

sour

adjective
\ 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
sourness noun

sour

verb
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.

sour

adjective
\ 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 sense 2, sweet

Other Words from sour

sourness noun

sour

noun

Medical Definition of sour (Entry 2 of 2)

: the primary taste sensation produced by acid stimuli

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More from Merriam-Webster on sour

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sour

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sour

Spanish Central: Translation of sour

Nglish: Translation of sour for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sour for Arabic Speakers

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