sulfuric acid


Definition of sulfuric acid 

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

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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

The idea behind this type of geoengineering would be to create a sulfuric acid cloud in the upper atmosphere that's similar to what volcanic eruptions produce, Robock said. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Creating clouds to stop global warming could wreak havoc," 22 Jan. 2018 Fermilab spokeswoman Deb Sebastian said a 400-gallon tank with sulfuric acid for water treatment sprang a pinhole-sized leak Monday around 2:30 p.m. Megan Jones, Aurora Beacon-News, "No injuries reported after acid leak at Fermilab in Batavia," 10 July 2018 According to the agency, the refinery failed to immediately notify appropriate federal, state and local authorities following an accidental release of 4,605 pounds of sulfuric acid early in the morning on Dec. 14, 2013. David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, "Shell’s Martinez refinery will upgrade to settle federal complaint," 5 June 2018 Mario Tama/Getty Images High in the stratosphere, sulfur dioxide reacts with moisture to create sulfuric acid, creating an aerosol that reflects sunlight back into space. Umair Irfan, Vox, "The Kilauea volcano summit exploded, sending a huge ash plume into the air," 17 May 2018 The three were beaten and tortured before being killed, and their bodies were later dissolved in sulfuric acid, said authorities, who cited genetic evidence gathered at various scenes associated with the crime. Patrick J. Mcdonnell,, "In echo of Parkland shooting outrage, anger rises in Mexico after film students were killed and dissolved in acid," 24 Apr. 2018 Public fury erupted in 2003 when a university student in Beijing threw sulfuric acid on bears in the city’s main zoo. Chris Buckley,, "China is furious as a kangaroo at a zoo dies after being pelted with rocks," 24 Apr. 2018 The chemistry of Venus’ atmosphere is decidedly different from Earth’s: Principally sulfuric acid, carbon dioxide and water droplets. Jeffrey Kluger, Time, "Researchers Say Venus' Atmosphere Could Support Extraterrestrial Life," 2 Apr. 2018 CBS News correspondent Carter Evans reports that residents were warned to stay indoors with their windows closed because sulfuric acid in the air can cause headaches, lung irritation and even induce asthma attacks. Peter Martinez, CBS News, "Explosive eruptions, "ballistic rocks" possible from Hawaii volcano," 9 May 2018

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

1788, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for sulfuric acid

The first known use of sulfuric acid was in 1788

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More Definitions for sulfuric acid

sulfuric acid


English Language Learners Definition of sulfuric acid

chemistry : a very strong type of acid

sulfuric acid


Medical Definition of 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

Spanish Central: Translation of sulfuric acid Encyclopedia article about sulfuric acid

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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