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 element table
sulfuryor chiefly British
sulphuryplay \-ē\ adjective
Is it sulfur or sulphur?
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.
Recent Examples of sulfur from the Web
The report’s investigative team has previously concluded that chlorine and sulfur mustard — commonly known as mustard gas — were used as weapons in Syria.
Tongue scrapers are an effective way to minimize the odor by scraping the sulfur away.
No chemicals, no oaky new barrels, no filtering, and little-to-no-sulfur.
Those who attended the garden tour got to see Domanski-Miville’s foxtail lilies in bloom — tall, odd wands of sulfur yellow.
Cheung and her colleagues analyzed carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur isotopes in the bone collagen from each person.
Those shipments consisted mostly of sulfur, earths and stones, plaster, lime and cement used by the construction industry, according to the data.
The pollutants measured by the EPA are: ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Like a fine wine, Walla Walla sweets reify their terroir; their sweetness comes from a low amount of sulfur in the soil of the region (which also happens to produce fine wine).
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.
Origin and Etymology of sulfur
Middle English sulphur brimstone, from Latin sulpur, sulphur, sulfur
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
SULFUR Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of sulfur for English Language Learners
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 Defined for Kids
Definition of sulfur for Students
: a yellow chemical element that is found widely in nature and is used in making chemicals and paper
Medical 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—symbol S; see element table
Medical Definition of sulfur
: of, relating to, or resembling sulfur : containing or impregnated with sulfur
Seen and Heard
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