\ 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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Moods were similarly sour overseas as investors reckoned with ongoing fallout from the war in Ukraine and the pandemic. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 Every family member will be thrilled to dig into this bucket of sweets, which includes chocolate bars, gumballs, sour gummies, lollipops, peanut butter popcorn, cookies, and more. Brittney Morgan And Medgina Saint-elien, House Beautiful, 25 July 2022 The church was renowned for another tradition that spoke to its German roots, the annual sour beef and dumpling dinner. Jacques Kelly, Baltimore Sun, 23 July 2022 Fried chicken wings have a tauter sour-sweet edge in the tamarind glaze; Massaman brisket curry — lush and aromatic — comforts profoundly. Los Angeles Times, 22 July 2022 Raw zucchini gets a jolt of sour and spicy pepperoncini in Ali’s recipe. New York Times, 20 July 2022 For example: bitter and pungent flavors can help curb cravings for salty and sweet foods, and sour flavors enhance salivation and stimulate the metabolism. Claudia Alarcón, Forbes, 18 July 2022 The pungency of the garlic is gone, replaced by mellow sour notes accentuated with a pleasant, sake-like scent. Julia Skinner, Longreads, 16 July 2022 During the war, as buyers for Urals crude dwindled, Russia attempted, quite literally, to sweeten the deal, making its Urals blend lighter and less sour, and therefore easier to refine. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 15 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This summer sour was inspired by coconut green curry spicy soup often found in Thai restaurants. Gabrielle Nicole Pharms, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 July 2022 Chil's $5 Margarita of the Month for March is the Lucky Jameson, which is made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Lunazul Blanco Tequila, Triple Sec and fresh sour. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2022 But in that moment my need for a spicy sour dilly crunch greatly overpowered any hesitance. Shani Hillian, Bon Appétit, 23 June 2022 Chil's $5 Margarita of the Month for March is the Lucky Jameson, which is made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Lunazul Blanco Tequila, Triple Sec and fresh sour. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2022 Throughout its 120 year history the Clover Club—a gin sour, tarted up with fresh raspberries and smoothed out with an egg white—has been celebrated, then dismissed, then forgotten, and now, finally, is back on top. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 4 June 2022 The Collins—a gin sour lengthened with cold soda water—is perfect and complete and deeply resonant, summer’s own liquid tuning fork, preternaturally refreshing and infinitely repeatable. Jason O'bryan, Robb Report, 21 May 2022 Patron ‘Rita with Patron Silver Tequila, tiple sec and fresh sour is $6 in May. Leada Gore |, al, 5 May 2022 Chil's $5 Margarita of the Month for March is the Lucky Jameson, which is made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, Lunazul Blanco Tequila, Triple Sec and fresh sour. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But don't squeeze lemon into a latte or even a regular drip that has a splash of milk in it—the lemon juice will curdle any dairy in the cup, and that can sour you on the flavor more than the citrusy tang. Marisa Cohen, Good Housekeeping, 3 Aug. 2022 With expectations and emotions running high, friendships can sour quickly. Alicia Adamczyk, Fortune, 30 June 2022 The move could have huge tax implications for Disney and serves to further sour the relationship between the state and one of its major political players. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2022 But sentiment started to sour as shoppers returned to stores after the height of the pandemic passed. Cara Lombardo, WSJ, 26 July 2022 The contentious relationship between Juan Soto and the Washington Nationals continues to sour. Cydney Henderson, USA TODAY, 19 July 2022 It's created by allowing natural bacteria in unpasteurized cream to do its magic and naturally thicken and sour the cream. Christopher Michel, Country Living, 25 May 2022 The experience of the 1980s appeared to sour the corporation on most in-state investments, and state lawmakers relaxed restrictions on out-of-state investments, eliminating them altogether in 2005. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Mar. 2022 The years since the agreements were signed have revealed another very good reason for Kyiv to sour on them. Mario Loyola, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near sour



sour ball

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sour.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for sour


\ 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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