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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web This process is meant to prevent what is known as acid-rock drainage, which happens when waste rock—what the mine removes in order to reach the ore—is exposed to oxygen and water and releases sulfuric acid into the environment. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2022 This happens when the sulfuric acid droplets become too large to stay in the atmosphere. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 20 Sep. 2022 Plumes of sulfuric acid emitted by a nearby geothermal plant have corroded the plant’s fan blades, according to Carlos Härtel, chief technology officer of Climeworks. Eric Niiler, WSJ, 28 Oct. 2022 Local homeowners in Tamarack are also worried about sulfuric acid runoff from the mine leaking into pristine waterways. Ben Tracy, CBS News, 27 Oct. 2022 The potential risks to plants and wildlife come from the sulfide ores; the ores, in which materials such as copper and nickel are lodged, can leach out sulfuric acid and heavy metals., 30 Aug. 2022 The method would involve pumping diluted sulfuric acid and other chemicals into an underground aquifer to dissolve copper deposits. Zak Podmore, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 Jan. 2022 Once released into the atmosphere, the sulfur dioxide would then congregate and combine with water molecules to create sulfuric acid. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 20 Sep. 2022 The sulfur would be burned and mixed with water to produce as much as 5,800 tons of toxic sulfuric acid each day. Daniel Moore, Anchorage Daily News, 6 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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 7 Dec. 2022.

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

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