sulfur

noun
sul·​fur | \ ˈsəl-fər How to pronounce sulfur (audio) \
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 How to pronounce sulphury (audio) \ 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

If there was an eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano, which government officials and scientists have said is unlikely, the result would be a devastating amount of ash and sulfur spewed into the air. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Part of Grand Teton National Park near Yellowstone supervolcano closed after massive fissure opens," 18 July 2018 The International Maritime Organization, which sets shipping standards, has ruled that the industry must reduce the amount of sulfur in marine fuel starting in 2020. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "Gas Prices Are Falling, but Refiners Keep Making More," 23 Dec. 2018 There’s the egg bagel with whole egg yolks, turmeric, achiote, and Indian sulfur salt to bring out a hard egg flavor. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "This Is How You Make a Perfect New York Bagel," 28 Dec. 2018 That could push oceangoing ships to compete with trucks and trains for low sulfur diesel at the same time supplies are limited. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, "Gas Prices Are Falling, but Refiners Keep Making More," 23 Dec. 2018 The room located within the same building contained 28 additional containers with gasoline, sulfur powder, and potassium nitrate. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Florida man planned to set building on fire to 'kill all Jews,' police say," 15 July 2018 Blue flames have also been documented at the Dallol volcano in Ethiopia, where they are created by sulfur dust in the region's soil. National Geographic, "Why Blue Flames Are Now Burning at Kilauea," 24 May 2018 The distinct smell of urine after eating asparagus comes from asparagusic acid which is broken down into a sulfur-containing compound when digested. Stephanie Feuer, Good Housekeeping, "9 Fruits and Vegetables That Are Natural Diuretics," 5 Sep. 2017 Shah recommends using a shampoo with ingredients like salicylic acid, sulfur, tea tree oil, or coal tar. Jessica Cruel, Allure, "Dandruff Scraping Videos (aka the New Pimple-Popping Clips) Are Going Viral on YouTube," 20 July 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

16 Mar 2019

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 How to pronounce sulphur (audio) \

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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