sulfur

noun
sul·​fur | \ˈsəl-fər \
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 \ 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

That white tip of theirs is the potassium chlorate, an easy-to-trigger oxidizing agent, that pumps oxygen into the reaction of the red portion, phosphorous, and allows it to burn the sulfur as fuel. Sam Eifling, Popular Mechanics, "How To Light a Match With Nothing But Other Matches," 28 Apr. 2016 High concentrations of sulfur oxide emissions can cause acid rain, volcanic smog and air pollution, the USGS said. Faith Karimi, CNN, "Hawaii residents could face acid rain after earthquakes and molten lava," 9 May 2018 Maritime executives say the sulfur restrictions will cost the industry some $40 billion, which will likely be passed along to shipping customers through higher freight prices. Paul Page, WSJ, "Today’s Top Supply Chain and Logistics News From WSJ," 21 Mar. 2018 To reduce these harmful emissions, the Environmental Protection Agency passed a rule in 2010 mandating that ships run on low-sulfur fuel within 200 nautical miles of the U.S. coast. San Francisco Chronicle, "federal laws didn’t prohibit discharges into the sanctuary," 2 June 2018 Concerns over the availability of low-sulfur shipping fuel to meet a global emissions-reduction mandate may start dissipating. Paul Page, WSJ, "Investing in Freight Tech; Trade War Hits Electronics; Pumping Low-Sulfur Fuel," 18 Apr. 2018 The tests will include a plume of ice crystals, calcium carbonate and forms of sulfur that volcanos tend to erupt. John Fialka, Scientific American, "The Best Way to Shade Earth," 5 July 2018 Those in search of blue flowers should add sulfur to make the soil more acidic — but do not overdo it, and expect to wait at least a month to see a change if the plant has already bloomed. Tom Avril, Philly.com, "What makes hydrangeas blue or pink? Playing defense," 26 June 2018 Picture fleets of aircraft ferrying sulfur across the stratosphere year-round. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, "Should We Cool Earth?," 18 May 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

26 Oct 2018

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 \

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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