sul·​fate | \ ˈsəl-ˌfāt How to pronounce sulfate (audio) \

Definition of sulfate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a salt or ester of sulfuric acid
2 : a divalent group or anion SO4 characteristic of sulfuric acid and the sulfates


sulfated; sulfating

Definition of sulfate (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to treat or combine with sulfuric acid or a sulfate

Examples of sulfate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In their first trial, the researchers incorporated encapsulated iron sulfate into salt that was added to maize porridge, a common staple in low-income countries. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "New polymer-coated vitamins and minerals could fight malnutrition in low-income countries," 13 Nov. 2019 The vegan formula is free of any ammonias, parabens, or sulfates, and uses ingredients like coconut oil and avocado oil to stimulate hair growth and keep your locks lush (and non-damaged) after use. Maya Gandara,, "I Tried Overtone's Rose Gold Hair Dye at Home—and I'm Obsessed with the Results," 25 Oct. 2019 The sulfate-free shampoo keeps those side effects to a minimum. Juno Demelo, Glamour, "8 Women With Psoriasis Share How They Keep Their Skin in Check," 7 Oct. 2019 The rocks that the asteroid struck were rich in sulfur, which was ejected and vaporized, mixing with water vapor and creating what Gulick calls a sulfate aerosol haze. Riley Black, Smithsonian, "What Happened the Day a Giant, Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Hit the Earth," 9 Sep. 2019 The next contestant is L’Oréal Professional Source Essentielle shampoo, which has a lovely beachy smell, flaunts a vegan, silicone-, paraben-, and sulfate-free formula, and arrives in a stylish cube that is refillable up to three times. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Can Big Beauty Go Green? One Writer Tries to Save the Planet (and Have Her Powder Too)," 29 Aug. 2019 Free of harmful ingredients like sulfates, parabens, phthalates and mineral oil, the COF collection will get your hair back on track. Essence, "4 Steps To Restoring Your Hair After a Protective Style," 3 Sep. 2019 Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica show spikes of sulfate, a byproduct of large volcanic eruptions, at 536 and either 539 or 540. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Colossal volcano behind 'mystery' global cooling finally found," 23 Aug. 2019 Nordstrom’s natural beauty and wellness department is stocked with beauty products and supplements free of sulfates, phthalates, parabens, petrochemicals, mineral oil, silicone, and talc. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Where To Shop for Organic and Natural Beauty Products," 12 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The team also found that sulfated anophelins are more effective than hirudin, a blood-thinning molecule derived from the salivary juices of leeches, which is occasionally used in clinical settings. Vanessa Zainzinger, Science | AAAS, "Mosquito spit can bust blood clots in mice," 10 Apr. 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of sulfate


1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1888, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sulfate


French, from Latin sulfur

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sulfate

Statistics for sulfate

Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for sulfate

The first known use of sulfate was in 1788

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sulfate


How to pronounce sulfate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sulfate

chemistry : a salt that is formed when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical element


variants: or chiefly British sulphate \ ˈsəl-​ˌfāt How to pronounce sulphate (audio) \

Medical Definition of sulfate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a salt or ester of sulfuric acid
2 : a bivalent group or anion SO4 characteristic of sulfuric acid and the sulfates
variants: or chiefly British sulphate
sulfated or chiefly British sulphated; sulfating or chiefly British sulphating

Medical Definition of sulfate (Entry 2 of 2)

: to treat or combine with sulfuric acid or a sulfate

More from Merriam-Webster on sulfate

Nglish: Translation of sulfate for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sulfate

Comments on sulfate

What made you want to look up sulfate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • pasta resembling wheels with spokes
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!