\ 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
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 sourish (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 As the drought intensified earlier this decade, the community’s septic systems began to fail as well, resulting in toxic soil and a sour smell throughout town. New York Times, "How Racism Ripples Through Rural California’s Pipes," 29 Nov. 2019 Mouat has addressed that by taking discarded passion fruit and making a sour IPA, and discarded bananas and making a banana rum. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz, chicagotribune.com, "Bananas that last forever? Extending shelf life is a key weapon in the battle against food waste, and one Chicago startup is on the front lines.," 27 Nov. 2019 Despite sour outlooks, Americans are still throwing down money for the latest appliances and gadgets. Lance Lambert, Fortune, "November’s Consumer Confidence Dip Is a Troubling Start to the Holiday Shopping Season," 26 Nov. 2019 And the deal between Lawton and Reid, the Florida attorney, went sour. Josh Peter, USA TODAY, "10 years after Tiger Woods' crash: Untold stories of some connected to Woods' scandal," 26 Nov. 2019 There’s the sour news, which is complicated by tangential sensations of grotesquerie and elegance, fury and poignance, and, perhaps, of philosophical insight. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "The Art of War in “Theater of Operations”," 25 Nov. 2019 Even their wins this season have had a sour aftertaste. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Browns Winners and Losers: Big expectations and the exaggeration of Baker Mayfield’s demise," 25 Nov. 2019 Breakside Brewery: Quiescence barrel-aged sour This Flanders-like sour from esteemed Breakside Brewing conveys spot-on acidity and a fruity, saison-like funk. Andre Meunier, oregonlive, "I’ve visited 40 Portland breweries so far in 2019; here is my favorite beer from each," 22 Nov. 2019 His performance was a bright spot in what turned out to be a sour day for the Broncos, who blew a 20-point halftime lead in the 27-23 loss. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Courtland Sutton, quickly emerging as an elite NFL wideout, posts another monster game in Broncos’ deflating loss to Minnesota," 17 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For an evening drink, head to Chios town’s waterfront to sample a mastic sour at Pura Vida—or try mastic spirit straight. Margarita Gokun Silver, National Geographic, "This healing plant grows on only one Greek island," 19 Nov. 2019 Ex Novo’s beer lineup is heavy on IPAs, lagers, farmhouses and sours -- both kettle and barrel-aged, with 120 working casks and puncheons. Andre Meunier, oregonlive, "Ex Novo took beers, benevolence and created something new: Portland Breweries Series," 7 Nov. 2019 But the menu here was largely devoted to classic cocktails — everything from a manhattan to a gin fizz to a whisky sour. Esther Mobley, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco bars could learn a thing or two from Japanese cocktail culture," 17 Oct. 2019 The Spirit Libre, an interpretation of Peru’s beloved pisco sour, tingles the tongue with the effervescence of pisco and Blanche Armagnac and is topped with vanilla-lime whipped cream. By Danielle Bernabe, Fortune, "Around the World in 12 Cocktails," 28 Sep. 2019 Stickmen, which has a second brewery in Tualatin that includes a pizza and beer hall, brews IPAs, pale ales and other traditional pub styles in addition to lagers, sours, farmhouses and barrel-aged beers. oregonlive, "Oregon beer this week: Bent Shovel finds a spot, Stickmen pop-up, plus events," 8 Nov. 2019 The drink is a blend of Lunazul Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, Monin Blood Orange and fresh sour. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Halloween 2019: Free food, deals and spooky specials at Krispy Kreme, Chipotle and more," 27 Oct. 2019 More sought-after suds arrived in the following days — fruited sours, barrel-aged stouts and juicy IPAs. Aubrey Wieber, Anchorage Daily News, "Fed up with tight regulations, Anchorage Brewing invests in full-service bar license," 26 Oct. 2019 And Platform will be bottling sours, a change for the brewery that has embraced canning for several years. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Phunkenship set to open as Platform Beer Co.’s sour facility-taproom (photos, video)," 23 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sessions, 72, will be making a return to the political stage a year after stepping down as President Trump’s first attorney general when their relationship soured over his recusal from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. BostonGlobe.com, "Jeff Sessions reportedly will announce bid for US Senate - The Boston Globe," 7 Nov. 2019 Hope, who lives in a Cleveland suburb and asked that her last name not be used, had an experience that soured her on hospital ombudsmen. Julie Washington, cleveland, "‘A second pair of eyes:’ How patient advocates, hospital ombudsmen help navigate health-care maze," 29 Sep. 2019 Many other migrants also said the way they were treated in U.S. custody soured them on the idea of the American dream. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Central American migrants are giving up on asylum; returning home," 4 Aug. 2019 But the design and construction of the Bob Hope house — which started in 1969 and ended in 1980 — nearly broke his spirit and soured him on Palm Springs for the rest of his life. Tina Daunt, latimes.com, "9 things you should know about the Bob Hope house in Palm Springs — and its restoration," 6 June 2019 But his relationship with the president has reportedly soured in recent months. Amanda Sakuma, Vox, "John Kelly’s exit interview lifts the curtain on the chaos within the Trump White House," 30 Dec. 2018 But some experts warn that the highly complex deals can sour for the public if they are not structured properly. Robert Mccartney, Washington Post, "Hold the applause: American Legion Bridge plan poses environmental, financial risks," 18 Nov. 2019 Before both deals could be completed, though, relations between the Bucks and Van Dykes soured, leading the couples to sue each other in state District Court. Patrick Danner, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio horse-drawn carriage company gallops into bankruptcy amid fight over sale," 12 Nov. 2019 Here's why] No player's performance presaged the organization’s souring on Mientkiewicz more than Cameron, who struggled in his second go-round in Toledo. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Why Doug Mientkiewicz wasn't yes-man enough to stay with the Detroit Tigers organization," 10 Nov. 2019

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

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sour.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/soured. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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More Definitions for sour

How to pronounce sour (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on sour

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sour

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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