sulfuric acid


: a heavy corrosive oily dibasic strong acid H2SO4 that is colorless when pure and is a vigorous oxidizing and dehydrating agent
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 sulfuric acid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once operational, the smelter will annually produce up to 222,000 tonnes of copper cathode, 830,000 tonnes of sulfuric acid, 18 tonnes of gold bars, 55 tonnes of silver bars, and 70 tonnes of selenium. Yessar Rosendar, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 Sulfur and water make sulfuric acid, so when the fumes from the eruption blow into a populated area, breathing can become ... unpleasant. Erik Klemetti, Discover Magazine, 27 Mar. 2024 Venus, by contrast, can be considered Earth’s evil twin—almost identical in size and mass, albeit with thick sulfuric acid clouds and a broiling pressure-cooker climate with surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Leonard David, Scientific American, 14 Nov. 2023 His paintings, books, photographs, films, and works on paper — made with ingredients as disparate as gunpowder, sulfuric acid, chocolate, urine, Pepto-Bismol, tobacco, and rose petals — could only come from someone who embodies L.A.’s glamour and chaos, its self-consciousness and banal hopes. Vulture, 8 Sep. 2023 If a sulfide mineral is exposed to water and oxygen, as will happen when miners start breaking up rock, the sulfur splits off the metal and bonds with hydrogen and oxygen molecules, forming sulfuric acid. Alec Luhn, Scientific American, 19 Dec. 2023 After the men were dead, the killers poured sulfuric acid on the bodies. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 If an eruption is explosive enough to loft material into the stratosphere and if that material includes a lot of sulfur dioxide gas, the gas forms tiny droplets of sulfuric acid in the stratosphere. Howard Lee, Ars Technica, 15 Mar. 2023 Iron nails and diluted sulfuric acid at glass bottom. Meredi Ortega, Scientific American, 10 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sulfuric acid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1788, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sulfuric acid was in 1788

Dictionary Entries Near sulfuric acid

Cite this Entry

“Sulfuric acid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

sulfuric acid

: a heavy oily strong acid that is colorless when pure and eats away at many solid substances

Medical Definition

sulfuric acid

: a heavy corrosive oily dibasic strong acid H2SO4 that is colorless when pure and is a vigorous oxidizing and dehydrating agent see oil of vitriol

More from Merriam-Webster on sulfuric acid

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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