sulfur

noun
sul·​fur | \ ˈsəl-fər How to pronounce sulfur (audio) \
variants: or chiefly British sulphur

Definition of sulfur

: a nonmetallic element that occurs either free or combined especially in sulfides and sulfates, is a constituent of proteins, exists in several allotropic forms including yellow orthorhombic crystals, resembles oxygen chemically but is less active and more acidic, and is used especially in the chemical and paper industries, in rubber vulcanization, and in medicine for treating skin diseases — see Chemical Elements Table

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Other Words from sulfur

sulfury or chiefly British sulphury \ ˈsəl-​fər-​ē How to pronounce sulphury (audio) \ adjective

Is it sulfur or sulphur?: Usage Guide

The spelling sulfur predominates in U.S. technical usage, while both sulfur and sulphur are common in general usage. British usage tends to favor sulphur for all applications. The same pattern is seen in most of the words derived from sulfur.

Examples of sulfur in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Curbing sulfur emissions is the first step in shipping’s quest to become more friendly to the environment. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Singapore Ready to Supply Clean Ship Fuel," 9 Apr. 2019 The researchers looked at stronium, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur isotopes from 131 examples of pig remains found at four sites near Stonehenge. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Study: Ancient Stonehenge Pig Roasts Brought in People From All Over Britain," 13 Mar. 2019 The ozone, sulfur and nitrogen compounds, and fine particles that comprise this pollution can inflame airways, which in turn can trigger breathing issues and heart problems, and exacerbate illnesses. Umair Irfan, Vox, "How improving air quality could add years to people’s lives around the world.," 21 Nov. 2018 Some of the marine bacteria that move in when a ship sinks munch on sulfur and release a compound called hydrogen sulfide. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Tiny magnets will escort ions out of rare material from a shipwreck," 24 Aug. 2018 Start with bareMinerals Blemish Rescue Anti-Redness Mattifying Primer, which soothes with minerals and botanicals and contains natural oil-absorbers like sulfur and clay — plus, the green pigment neutralize redness. Beth Janes, Seventeen, "What to Do the *Second* a Pimple Appears," 7 Aug. 2018 Much of the vineyard treatments involve sulfur and copper—relatively low-risk chemicals—but even those traditional sprays can cause problems. Kevin Begos, Smithsonian, "The Quest to Grow the First Great American Wine Grape," 6 June 2018 If there was an eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano, which government officials and scientists have said is unlikely, the result would be a devastating amount of ash and sulfur spewed into the air. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Part of Grand Teton National Park near Yellowstone supervolcano closed after massive fissure opens," 18 July 2018 The International Maritime Organization, which sets shipping standards, has ruled that the industry must reduce the amount of sulfur in marine fuel starting in 2020. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "Gas Prices Are Falling, but Refiners Keep Making More," 23 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sulfur.' 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 sulfur

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for sulfur

Middle English sulphur brimstone, from Latin sulpur, sulphur, sulfur

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Statistics for sulfur

Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sulfur

The first known use of sulfur was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sulfur

sulfur

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sulfur

chemistry : a yellow chemical element that has a strong, unpleasant odor when it is burned and that is used in making paper, gunpowder, medicine, etc.

sulfur

noun
sul·​fur
variants: also sulphur \ ˈsəl-​fər \

Kids Definition of sulfur

: a yellow chemical element that is found widely in nature and is used in making chemicals and paper

sulfur

noun
sul·​fur
variants: or chiefly British sulphur \ ˈsəl-​fər How to pronounce sulphur (audio) \

Medical Definition of sulfur

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a nonmetallic element that occurs either free or combined especially in sulfides and sulfates, is a constituent of proteins, exists in several allotropic forms including yellow orthorhombic crystals, resembles oxygen chemically but is less active and more acidic, and is used especially in the chemical and paper industries, in rubber vulcanization, and in medicine for treating skin diseases symbol S — see Chemical Elements Table

sulfur

adjective
variants: or chiefly British sulphur

Medical Definition of sulfur (Entry 2 of 2)

: of, relating to, or resembling sulfur : containing or impregnated with sulfur

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More from Merriam-Webster on sulfur

Spanish Central: Translation of sulfur

Nglish: Translation of sulfur for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sulfur for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sulfur

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